Most of us wish we’d read more classic books in our lives. Some of us still gamely plan to; who doesn’t aspire to improve their score on 100 Books To Read Before You Die? If you’re anything like me, you might even have blithely convinced yourself you have read x, or y, or z, until a flash of scenic clarity advises you that you’re thinking not of the book but of the BBC mini series / Disney adaptation / Clueless. And whichever way you look at it, that just doesn’t count.

(I honestly have read Emma. Promise.)

I opened this little gem on Christmas Day 2011. A hundred classic book jackets, each printed on nifty little postcards. Iconic designs that made me feel highbrow without so much as a sniff of an endpaper. Never mind two hundred of them.

It quickly became clear I would never find time or (shamefully) inclination to read all the books featured in Postcards from Penguin. Let’s be frank: I would probably never even find enough friends to send them all to.

The concept was simple: 100 plucky applicants each received a blank postcard of a classic Penguin jacket design. They must buy the book and review it, in whatever fashion they’d like, using only the space on the back of the postcard. They post back their review, to join its brothers and sisters and be recorded for posterity. Forever.

All the postcards have been snapped up in a flash – which makes for heartening stuff. But if you missed out, and would be interested in getting involved, please sign up here – I may be needing some reserves in due course!

The Penguin Postcard Project was born in February 2012, the illicit love-child of Literature, Correspondence and a Little Too Much Time on My Hands. That’s right, it is the child of a threesome, imbuing it with inherent qualities of self-importance, conviviality and industriousness, as well as a lifelong resentment of its sybaritic parents. Just like the rest of us, then.

Postcards from Penguin is truly a thing of beauty. Buy it online... or just sign up to the project and get 1/100th of it for FREE!



Is there a deadline for returning my review?

We all have enough deadlines at work as it is. So no – no deadline, but if you sign up, please do so in good faith, with the intention and commitment to read your book, whether it appeals or not, and let me know what you think. A couple of months would be a nice ballpark.

How long should my review be?

It can be five words or 500 (if you can fit them in). You can review through the medium of pictures, if you’re that way inclined. Be creative, be intelligent, be original.

Do I have to put a stamp on it?

Yes. Sorry. I’m not a charity. Also, you have to buy your own book. Sorry again. No, it doesn’t have to be the Penguin edition; any will do.

What will you do with my details?

Nothing, except send you your postcard for review. And maybe drop you an email with any relevant stuff (related to the project) I think you’d like, or if I’ve had no response from you, months down the line. Won’t be selling them, wouldn’t even know how. Promises.

What if I hate the book?

Then review it as such. Please try to finish it or, if not, return your review including why you didn’t.

At least you’ll know never to read it again. Lesson learned.

What if I’ve already read the book I’m allocated?

You’ll be even better placed to write your review. Read it again. Enjoy it again.

Can we see the reviews?

Yes, I’ll be posting them up here.

Do you work for Penguin?

No, I really don’t. Far from it.

What’s the point of all this?

To learn a little about a lot of books; to see if it can be done; to create a little interest in old books that are fading from memory.

And above all to get lots of lovely POST from people.


If you send your postcard with review back to the Project, you will be agreeing to give up any rights in what you wrote as far as it is possible to do so under English law. In return, the Project promises to let everyone know it was you who wrote it [if you want us to, that is – if not, we’ll keep your entry anonymous] every time the review/postcard is used.

Any questions, please get in touch here.


3 thoughts on “About

  1. Naim says:

    Wonderful idea. Once the Penguin’s have been completed, can we all review the Puffin ones? My daughter and I share her puffin postcards and there are some gems in there and also some rather obscure ones…

  2. This is such a brilliant idea! What a shame all of the postcards have been snapped up! I will look forward to reading all the reviews though!

  3. rachelparris says:

    I love this project! What a great idea. Please find more packets of book jacket postcards so I can join in next time!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: