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Last year, Random House launched its Books Are Beautiful line, casting classic titles in a new role as bookshelf art available exclusively at Chapters Indigo bookstores.

Penguin, not to be outdone by its big brother-to-be, has launched its own version of books as artifacts: the Penguin Drop Caps series, designed by Jessica Hische and Paul Buckley.


A new series of twenty-six collectible hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet.

(Penguin Summer 2013 Catalogue)

The first six books in the series form a gradient, moving from deep crimson A to butter yellow F. I presume they will follow this theme as the progress through the alphabet, much in the same way that Random House ran through all the colours of the rainbow with their Pantone designs.

booksLeft to right: Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen; Jane Eyre-Charlotte Brontë; My Ántonia-Willa Cather; Great Expectations-Charles Dickens; Middlemarch-George Eliot; Madame Bovary-Gustave Flaubert, trans. Lydia Davis

The first book in the series is Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice, a fitting choice for the bicentennial of most loved story. Next in the list will be William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, but it seems their lips are sealed for the nineteen remaining books. See my predictions below, check back in to see if they were right. I mostly picked authors whose works are in the public domain or whose publishing rights are already held by Penguin. In some cases, I just put what I’d like to see despite copyright, or whatever might fit the letter!

NOTE: FOR THE CURRENT LIST OF RELEASED TITLES PLEASE SEE MY MORE RECENT POST HERE: https://blackinkbooks.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/penguin-drop-caps-series-the-full-list-so-far/

H: Thomas Hardy

I: John Irving (although A Prayer for Owen Meany is in the B.A.B. list, so Penguin may steer clear of him)

J: Shirley Jackson

K: Franz Kafka

L: D.H. Lawrence, Harper Lee

M: Margaret Mitchell

N: Vlad Nabokov

O: George Orwell  (No collection of literary classics would be complete without 1984)

P: Marcel Proust

Q: Tough luck with this one! Your guess is as good as mine…

R: Erich Maria Remarque

S: John Steinbeck

T: Leo Tolstoy

U: I’m open to suggestion!

V: Kurt Vonnegut

W: H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf

X: Malcolm X?? No clue. I’m very curious to see what they will pick!

Y: Richard Yates

Z: Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Emile Zola

Check back in the coming months as I will be updating with the results of my guesses. Let’s hope Penguin will be releasing numerous titles at a time for this collection, I’ve never been very patient for surprises!

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