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Blog-a-Penguin Classic

altariel and hobbitblue both posted about Penguin's Blog-a-Penguin Classic initiative. If you like in the UK or Ireland, you can sign up to review a randomly assigned book from their current list within six weeks of receipt of book.

I've only ever reviewed specific books which related very closely to my area of professional specialty, so I was entirely willing to try out the novelty of reviewing a complete random book (and was therefore hoping it would be a book I hadn't already read). I'm in luck! My randomly assigned book (Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis) is not only one I've never heard of, it's about a medieval history professor.

Update: Rumor has it that Penguin is out of books for this initiative. You can still sign up for future releases to review, but they're out of the initial batch.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2007 11:27 am (UTC)
You've never come across Lucky Jim? Wow. It's one I sorta grew up with, forming my earliest (and wildly inaccurate) ideas of university life - way before Bradbury and Lodge it created an image of universities a million miles from Brideshead. Will you post your review here too? I'll be fascinated to know what you make of it!
Aug. 10th, 2007 11:37 am (UTC)
I never have. I'm fairly weak on non-SFF 20th century staples, really. Based on superficial web reading (i.e. Wikipedia), it looks like it's particularly a staple of British literature, and I did the wrong parts of my education in this country to have encountered it that way. I'd be happy to post my review here as well. (And it doesn't break terms and conditions! I recently fulfilled a contract which stipulated that I had no right to reproduce the encyclopedia articles I'd done for that particular contract. I will do my best never to be put in that position again unless there's a much more compelling reason for it. Thus my overweening excitement on this point.)
Aug. 10th, 2007 11:33 am (UTC)
Ooh, everyone seems to be getting great books, I hope that doesn't mean I'll end up with some dreadful weighty tome to slog through. I'm still waiting to find out what they've allocated to me.
Aug. 10th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC)
I read Lucky Jim a couple of years ago and quite enjoyed it. It's a lightly satirical take on British academia in the mid-late 20th century, and follows the eponymous Jim (a very junior lecturer at a redbrick university) as he tries to navigate his way through an academic career, avoiding various obstacles and pitfalls along the way (a professor who dumps all of his unwanted chores on him, a journal editor who's been sitting on one of his articles for an unreasonable amount of time, and a neurotic and manipulative girlfriend). In fact, I think I should read it again.
Aug. 10th, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I've been allocated The Importance of Being Earnest, which is one of those books I've always meant to read but never quite got around to. Hurrah!
Aug. 10th, 2007 01:27 pm (UTC)
Excellent! I read it in junior high school, but don't remember it from that so much as the movie from a few years ago. Which just goes to show I should read the play again.
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
I don't tend to read plays (reading something meant for stage has always struck me as a little strange), but I did enjoy that one when we studied it at school.
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
It is indeed a wonderful play. And considering it was randomly assigned, count yourself very lucky. It's probably one of the shortest books they're sending out.
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
It took me a while to parse that properly. For the longest time I was thinking "Blog a Penguin? What?"

"Sat around on icebergs. Ate fish..."

I need more coffee :)
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
It's very exciting to be a penguin. I know this from recent documentaries "Happy Feet" and "Surf's Up".
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, I forgot the entry for "Engaged in snappy musical number, complete with jazz hands. Jazz flippers. Whatever." :)
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
That does sound like a cool idea. I'm not brave enough though. If I got Langland I'd throw it out the window. I know people love that text, but I couldn't even tolerate reading it when I had to for comps! And how you do review a text from someone like Aristotle? I mean, you could review the translation (assuming you knew Greek), but reviewing the text itself? Craziness.

(And btw I've never heard of Lucky Jim either. Do let us know what you think.)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )