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Lay for the Day 30th July

1935: the first Penguin paperback books go on sale in Britain. The ten titles that launched the list were divided between crime novels (in green covers), general fiction (in orange) and biography (in dark blue), and all were by contemporary authors, including Ernest Hemingway, André Maurois, Compton Mackenzie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie. In fact, it was a visit to Agatha Christie that first gave Allen Lane the idea of publishing very cheap reprints of popular contemporary literature, because he hadn’t been able to find anything he wanted to read at the station booksellers for his train journey home. The genius behind the name Penguin was Joan Coles, Allen Lane’s secretary, who came up with it when her boss said he was looking for a series title, taken from an animal or bird, that was “dignified but flippant”.
Sir Allen Lane retired in 1969 after the publication of the 3,000th Penguin title, which was Joyce’s Ulysses as a Penguin Modern Classic (appropriately, since the first title in the Penguin Classics series had been E.V. Rieu’s translation of the Odyssey in 1946).

Fahrenheit 451

Shall I compare thee to the force that is the question whether water everywhere than I have ever done
At Fahrenheit 451
The fire and the rose are one.

They also serve who only stand and in our time play many mene tekel upharsin e qua non
At Fahrenheit 451
The fire and the rose are

We walked reciting poetry beside the frozen lake.
Snow lay on branches, ash fell in flakes.
All that the dead see, all that they feel and they think,
Happiness writes in invisible ink.

When I consider how my light behaves as particle and wave they are all gone into the world where nothing comes of nothing like the sun
At Fahrenheit 451,
Fahrenheit 451.

Words and music
by The Children

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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