The Penguin Collectors are Coming!
Thus, this month’s latest news is really an hors d’oeuvre for 12 – 14 October. For those coming for the weekend we have our usual informal get together in a local pub on Friday evening; the meeting, book sale/swap/giveaway/talk/exhibition during the day on Saturday, and dinner on Saturday evening. I always find that Sunday morning breakfast throws up some of the most interesting chat – but isn’t that always the way, you are packing up and you remember those burning questions!
If you are coming just on Saturday, Reading is an easy place to get to (roadworks and train operators willing). The University of Reading Special Collections shares premises with the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) and is about a mile southeast of the railway station. The building is on Redlands Road and it is possible to walk from the station, but there are also buses and taxis (useful directions can be found here on the MERL website).
The MERL building was originally built by Alfred Waterhouse (of Natural History Museum fame) for Alfred Palmer (of biscuit fame). The Palmer family gifted the mansion to the University and after several iterations it has ended up as it is today containing both the Museum and Special Collections. One of the galleries in the Museum is held by Special Collections and features Ladybird Books. The exhibition currently on display is Ladybird in Focus: Women.
For those with a bit of time before meeting up, Reading is not widely known for its second hand bookshops, although Waterstones has a large new book store on Broad Street. Having said that, the town does have one of the largest Oxfam bookshops in the country featuring over 5,000 titles so I suspect there might be some gems to be found and it has some good feedback on the Inprint website.
- Oxfam Bookshop, 8 High Street, Market Place, Reading RG1 2EA
- There used to be a bookshop on Merchants Place RG1 1DT but it does not appear on the current Imprint list so I fear the worst.
- Blackwell Bookshop in the Student Union on Whiteknights Campus has second hand books but is closed at weekends (carry on up Redlands Road to the Shinfield Road and the very large Whiteknights Campus is on your left).
News has just come to me that there is an Artists' Book Fair weekend on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October at The Rising Sun Arts Centre in Silver Street. The same little bird tells me that the Oxfam bookshop is well worth a visit.
Turning to other news, I can recommend the Liverpool Tate exhibition Op Art in Focus. Those of you who follow PenguinCollSoc on Instagram will have had a sneak peep of the floor along with my battered copy of Penguin Modern Poets 10. Whilst having nothing to do with Penguin per se, the Op Art movement contributed strongly to many covers in the late 60s and early 70s.
A couple of my 'spies' alerted me to an interesting forthcoming auction which will include the copy of ‘Lady Chatterley's Lover’ that was owned by the judge at the Chatterley trial. The auction is on 30 Oct at Sotheby's and contains a number of treasures from the home of Christopher Cone and the late Stanley J Seeger. Cone purchased Lady Chatterley over twenty-five years ago for what was then the highest price paid at auction for a paperback book. The current guide price is £10,000 - £15,000. Other treasures in the auction include Lord Byron's snuff box and Marilyn Monroe's picnic basket so it will be an interesting day. There are a number of on-line links including the BBC and the Antiques Trade Gazette amongst others.
Book fair news for the rest of this month can be found on TheBookGuide / Inprint website. The October and November lists are linked and I am highlighting two northern fairs that might bear closer inspection. Firstly the Leeds Book Fair on 28 Oct at Pudsey Civic Hall and secondly the Northern Illustrated Childrens and Detective Fiction Fair on 10 Nov at the Pavilions of Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate. TheBookGuide allows you to download a complimentary ticket (although I think the entrance price is minimal).