Thirty before 30: your help, pls thx


September 6, 2010 by jessperriam

So I haven’t achieved anything else on my Thirty before 30 list recently. There’s still time. Heeeeeeeeeaps of time.

But number 19 on the list is a long term project: Read all the Popular Penguin books.

FYI, there are 174 Popular Penguin books.

There will probably be more by the time 2015 rocks up.

I’ve read ooooooh about 12 of them. And I own but haven’t read (or finished) a similar amount.

So Popular Penguin books come at about $9.95 a pop. That’s at least a $1500 investment over 5 years.

But you can help!

You can donate one of the books to me in the form of birthday, Christmas, merry flight/train ride / bus trip times, or just because gifts.

I’ll give you a lovely review of the book, and when I’m done with it, I’ll donate the paperback to the local charity shop so the love is shared all around.

Warm, fuzzy hey?

Here’s what I’ve read so far:

A Year in Provence – Peter Mayle

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Persuasion – Jane Austen

The Lucky Country – Donald Horne

In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff

High Fidelity – Nick Hornby

Going Solo – Roald Dahl

Dark Star Safari – Paul Theroux

Casino Royale – Ian Fleming

Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay

Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

One Hundred Great Books in Haiku – David Bader

Journey from Venice – Ruth Cracknell

The Bodysurfers – Robert Drewe

Hell’s Angels – Hunter S Thompson

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

Here are the books I have but haven’t read yet:

One  Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

Regeneration – Pat Barker

South: The Endurance Expedition – Sir Ernest Shackleton

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

How the Light Gets In – MJ Hyland

Book of Longing – Leonard Cohen

From Russia with Love – Ian Fleming

Holding the Man – Timothy Conigrave

Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson

Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D H Lawrence

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Scoop – Evelyn Waugh

Summer Crossing – Truman Capote

The rest are all waiting to be read…


10 thoughts on “Thirty before 30: your help, pls thx

  1. recycledrose says:

    oh my.. wuthering heights is one of my most fave books of all time!! heaps better than jane austen!!
    i have catcher in the rye (not as a penguin publication. but it’s a classic so i am sure it has been printed by them).. do u want that one?

    • jessperriam says:

      Ooh! Thanks – my first offer! I’ve read Catcher in the Rye, I read it for Book Club earlier this year.

      And… I just look in my bedroom and I have Wuthering Heights at home (a pre Popular Penguins version) – I had tried to read it before and if my dog-earring of the book is correct, I only got to page 24 before giving up.

      It’ll have to be pretty good to beat Austen. I love Persuasion.

      So I guess that’s a thanks but no thanks to both! In a totally grateful way!

  2. […] now I have a new and improved reading list and enough Popular Penguin books to build a cubby […]

  3. Julian says:


    I would recommend anything by Evelyn Waugh but Scoop always makes me laugh; he was such a great writer with a fantastic eye for the absurd.

    If you like detective stories you MUST read Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep is the grandaddy of all detective stories written or filmed since ~ 1945.

    For general weirdness Perfume: The Story of a Murder is hard to beat, the narrative is dominated by smell as if a dog had written it.


    • jessperriam says:

      I just finished Brideshead Revisited. It took me what felt like an age to read. I found it difficult to get into Waugh’s writing, but the plot got better towards the end. I’ll look out for Scoop, but I reckon I’ll need a wee break from Waugh. And I tried reading Perfume, but I found it so, so hard to get into. I’ll need to revisit it sometime!

      • Julian says:

        Definitely check out “Scoop” & “Vile Bodies” they are much easier to read and are a lot of fun to read.

  4. […] list breakthrough 16 10 2010 My quest to read all the Popular Penguins before I’m 30 has had a massive breakthrough […]

  5. jessperriam says:

    Hey Julian! I bought “Scoop” today – Hopefully it’s an easier read than Brideshead Revisited. I’m expecting great things!

  6. jessperriam says:

    I’ll give it a crack soon – I’m reading some non-fiction at the moment so it will be good to get back into some fiction.

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