Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Are These The Sexiest Books Ever?

……………………If your idea of a sexy book is the gardening classic Fifty Sheds of Grey, or it’s Northern cousin Fifty Shades of Gravy, then this post will be a disappointment to you. But if you aren’t looking for the intricate details of what goes on in the Red Room, then perhaps you might read on and consider my nomination for the sexiest books ever!

Penguin Little Black ClassicsFor the sexy books I’m referring to are Penguin’s ‘Little Black Classics’ range! They’ve been produced to mark Penguin’s 80th anniversary and they are being marketed everywhere in London – and I’ve fallen heads over heels for them big time! There’s something very cool and irrestible in these sleek black covers – even the type face on the spines seems seductive!

As a man who lives with two fashionistas (one highly experienced and fully qualified and one a teenage apprentice!), I’m well acquainted with the ‘little black dress’ or LBD as it’s known to those of us who know our Marc Jacobs from our Marks and Sparks! ( I don’t really know my fashion arse from my elbow patch jacket, but I’ve had to learn these phrases off by heart so I can join in 90% of the discussions in our house!)

Anyway the Little Black Dress is sleek, chic, classy and essentially beautifully, understatedly sexy! The Urban Dictionary defines the Little Black Dress as:

The Little Black Dress: Most women have one in the recesses of their closet. This is the dress that is just a little too short. One that looks as if it was made for your body and your body only. One that makes you feel sexy the second you put it on. It has to be simple. All black, no buttons or ornamentation.

Now take that definition and have a look at the Little Black Classic – ladies and gentlemen I give you a book that is a little on the short side, clothed in black, a simple white typeface, and not a button or ornamentation in site……in short a sexy book cover that looks like it was made for this book and for this book only!

Or as it ought to be known...the beautiful "The Beautiful Cassandra"!
Or as it ought to be known…the beautiful “The Beautiful Cassandra”!

The other thing about the Little Black Dress is it looks good from every angle – herewith further evidence that the Little Black Classics are the sexiest books ever!

The LBC - just as good side on!
The LBC – just as good side on!

But as well as looking gorgeous and doing the mind-association with sexy dresses, the marketing for these books is brilliant. All over the Tube, there are posters with random quotes from one of the 80 books in the series. They are always intriguing and you just can’t help reading them. What’s really clever though is the random quote isn’t credited to the book it comes from by name – to draw you in further it simply lists its number in the series of 80 books.


You read the quote which you then can’t get out of your head and so you then go online with the number, trying to find out the title of the book the quote came from (unless you’re a mega bibliophle and you recognise it at first sight!). I’m so intrigued by these posters I am actually starting to imagetake detours and different routes on my commutes on the look out for the posters!!!!!

And to top it all off, there’s even a very clever flywheel on the Penguin website, apparently inspired by the iPod, which takes the experience of online book shopping to a whole new level – you can click to find any and every one of the 80 books in the series! It’s genius – and all that marketing and a price tag of only 80p a book made these irresistable to me – so I’ve ordered the lot.

So the Little Black Classics is good for family harmony in one way because I now understand why the fashionistas in my family end up buying all these clothes! The down side of course is that instead of buying one book equivalent of the LIttle Black Dress, I’ve bought eighty! So, for quite some time now, on every occasion we get a parcel of clothes delivered to our house I WILL NOT be uttering my usual phrase of “What? Another Black Dress?!!!!!”

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Monday Morning Blog World Tour Sponsored By My iTunes Shuffle……….May 14th 2012

………..I’d originally planned to do this on Sunday mornings – alas following a great wedding we went to in Manchester at the weekend the alcohol flow of the Saturday meant that my Sunday started seriously under the affluence of said incohol and therefore all I wanted yesterday morning was Nurofen and darkness.

However, having come back last night, I’m now fully recovered and so this week, for this week only(unless alcohol gets in the way again, which is very likely) , my easy Sunday morning is actually a Monday!

So this morning with my partner at work and my daughter at school,  it’s again a perfect time to visit the innumerable good blogs out there, most of which are about books, with the odd “mmmmmmmmmmmm I wonder what that’s like?” thrown in for good measure.

I usually like to listen to music while I’m reading or writing but on Sunday mornings (or Monday this week), I listen with my headphones to my iTunes library and I let my iTunes shuffle do the choosing for me.

As I read and wrote this morning, my iTunes shuffle served up the following musical breakfast (or perhaps dogs dinner as my family might call it!). If you read this I hope you find something you like or perhaps a prompt to dust off the cobwebs from some corner of your own music that you’ve not visited in a while!

The Music

1.On The Wing by Owl City (I love this album but I can only play it when I’m alone otherwise it gets shouted down as irritating electro-pop by my family – but if you like jolly, happy, tingly pop with the vocals oft-fed though vocoders then you might like this – reading that description back makes me think it might be a niche market!)

2. Satisfied by Hal (again all lovely harmonies and twanging country pedal guitars – some of the chorus sounds like lush West Coast US Beach Boys stuff before going into a kind of cacophony at the end – I love this album and the lyrics on this are good. I think they went into a bit of a fallow period after this album but I’m pretty sure Hal have made a follow-up lately and it got a decent review through Q – of course I may have imagined that last bit!)

3. Jocasta by Noah And The Whale (My family really dislike NATW – they call it music to get depressed to – but this is more upbeat – ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!)

4. In My Room by The Last Shadow Puppets (Least favourite track on the album – sorry Alex/Miles but this isn’t doing it for me – heave ho!)

5. Hurry Up And Wait (Live) by Stereophonics (Now this will do – although live I thought they were a bit flat – mind you it was in the bloody cavernous Millenium Stadium in Cardiff I saw them – think it needed a bigger and more outgoing personality than Kelly Jones to fill that great chasm)

6. Nothing In My Way by Keane (From the Iron Sea which I think is a bit underrated – think they have new album out today and it’s on the list!)

7. You’ll Never Walk Alone by Frank Sinatra (My partner and daughter are lifetime fully paid-up members of the Liverpool FC Club so they would have this! – as a Man U fan this is NOT FOR ME IN CAPITAL LETTERS! Heave ho!)

8. House Where We All Live by The Veils – (I got this years ago as a present through a friends recommendation. I’d never heard of the Veils at that point but I love this – very Gallic shrug and a bit of a ‘torch’ song!)

9. Birds Flew Backwards by Doves (Doves are one of my favourite bands but this is from Kingdom of Rust which is their most disappointing album for me – however good old iTunes has at least picked out one of the tracks on it that I really like!)

10. Sean by The Proclaimers (The lads from Leith!!!!! I love The Proclaimers. Went to see them in the tent at one of festivals few years ago – place was rammed full of sweaty exiled Jocks all screaming out every word – they are right up there for me with Sir Alex Ferguson, Glenmorangie, Irn Bru, Scottish Pies and Ian Rankin as truly great things to come out of Scotland!)

11. I Saw The Dead by Villagers (Great song, great singer, great band. Saw them support Elbow last year and thought they were fantastic)

12. Try And Love Again by The Eagles (What’s not to love about the Eagles! So it ages me! So I’m old – who cares!)

13. One Light In A Dark Valley by Harry Chapin (It comes from the wonderful Dance Band On The Titanic. I think he’s so under-rated – this is a blast from my hairy, hippy student days!)

14. Sonnet by The Verve (Another song I love musically and lyrically. Heard Richard Ashcroft being interviewed about Urban Hymns on Steve Lamacq’s show a couple of weeks ago – he sounded really proud of this song and the whole album and so he should be – great stuff!)

15. She Speaks by Paul Weller (I’ve gotten more and more into Paul Weller as the years go by – I tend to prefer the more recent stuff like this from the ‘Wake Up The Nation’ album. Mind you I still love singing along with Walls Come Tumbling Down or Headstart For Happiness as well!)

16. Green Gloves by The National. (The National are one of those bands who always seem to get great reviews but a slightly underwhelming response from music fans in the UK. Which is a shame if you ask me. I think they write great songs and this is one!)

17. Jack, You Dead by Joe Jackson (I bought this in the 80’s. Most of my mates at the time thought I’d finally lost the plot – but for a small group of us, the songs from Jumpin Jive became theme tunes to our drunken evenings, of which we had many! God knows how many times I’ve stumbled the streets of Glasgow bawling out “What’s The Use Of Getting Sober If You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again”!)

18. A Scanner Darkly by Primal Scream (Another of my favourite bands but I’m not blind to their inconsistency – occasionally they throw up a stinker – this is one of them!)

19. Cool Cool River by Paul Simon (Lovely rhythms on this as there is on everything on Rhythm Of The Saints – I’d get up and dance but my knees have gone – fortunately!)

And to finish…..

20. Jumpin Jive by Joe Jackson (My iTunes obviously realised how much I loved “Jack You Dead!” so it’s come back to Jumpin Jive album for the title track! It’s great and allows me to sing one of my favourite lyrics of all time ” the jim-jam-jump is the jumpin jive, makes you nine foot tall when you’re four foot five!” – if only it could for a short-arse like me!)

Blog Stuff

This morning I found a reference to a bookmark listing 50 books to read before you die on the Reading Matters blog. I’d already gone through the tome 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die which a friend bought for me last year, to see how many I had read!!! So, anal-retentive that I am, I went through the 50 books listed on the book mark to see how many I had read (I’d read 33 of them) and as I read the list, which was supposed to be a mix of classics by great writers, I was surprised to read that things like Mark Haddon’s “Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime” and Phillip Pulman’s “Dark Materials” trilogy had been included. They wouldn’t have struck me as classics in the same vein as some of the others (The Bible, Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’, works by Shakespeare and by Chaucer and a fair smattering of Austen’s and Bronte’s and Dickens etc). However even though I didn’t really get their fit to classics, I’d read them so happily included them in my tally of 33! 33 out of 50 – satisfied smirks all round then!!!!