Mia Farrow. Penguin. Signing Flossers

Mia Farrow

“I get it now; I didn’t get it then. That life is about losing and about doing it as gracefully as possible… and enjoying everything in between.” Mia Farrow

On this day in 1935, the publisher Penguin released its first paperback books, with the goal of making the classics accessible to the general public like never before. Waiting for a train back to London, publisher Allen Lane was frustrated to realize that the only reading available for sale on the platform was magazines or Victorian novel reprints. At the time, publishers thought that if the public wanted high quality literature, they wanted it to be beautifully bound so that they could keep it forever. Lane realized that more people might want to read good books if they were more affordable. He decided to put his savings into Penguin’s first run of paperbacks priced equal to a pack of cigarettes.

The summer of 1935, Penguin released titles by Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway. By the following year, the company had set up shop in the basement of a local church, receiving shipments down a playground slide from the street above. Soon they had sold more than 3 million copies and expanded into children’s books, nonfiction, and classics. Today, the publisher keeps some 5,000 titles in print at any one time and has offices in more than 15 countries.

Word of the Day July 30

spoonerism \SPOO-nuh-riz-um\ noun

Definition: a transposition of usually initial sounds of two or more words


Children will be delighted by Jon Scieszka‘s use of wordplay in Baloney (Henry P.), including the spoonerism “sighing flossers” for “flying saucers.”

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