A Monthly Update from Penguin Classics

By Spenser Stevens | June 15 2021 | General

Because what you read matters.


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Happy summer from Penguin Classics! With warmer weather, outdoor activities, and long-awaited reunions on the horizon, we’re feeling hopeful for a brighter season. We wish you your ideal restorative break with books, whether you finally bring your book club outdoors or your paperback to the beach. Read on to see what titles we’re excited to dive into, and let us know on social media what you’re starting the season with (we’re @PenguinClassics everywhere).

If you’re a fan of our Great Ideas series, then you’ll love our big new release of the month: not one, but eleven new titles, wrapped in our signature pocket-sized trim and in a seaside-worthy blue and white color scheme. The titles run the gamut, from Ain’t I a Woman?, featuring Sojourner Truth’s iconic speech from the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio; to How to Be a Stoic, a selection of writings to guide and inspire a more mindful perspective; to Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One’s Books, featuring Georges Perec’s meditation on what the simple task of arranging books can reveal about life.


June is Pride Month, and we’re looking forward to revisiting some of our favorite classics by LGBTQ+ authors, including The Cancer Journals and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas, On Being Different by Merle Miller, Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Olivia by Dorothy Strachey, and The Stonewall Reader.


Did you know a Finnish epic poem partly inspired J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings? New to Penguin Classics, Kalevala is the soaring epic poem of the Finnish people, born of an ancient tradition of folklore and song. Kalevala is a work rich in magic, cosmic mystery, and myth, presenting a story of a people through the ages, from the dawn of creation. Sung by rural Finns since prehistoric times and formally compiled by Elias Lönnrot in the nineteenth century, it is a landmark of Finnish culture that played a vital role in galvanizing Finland’s national identity in the decades leading up to independence.


As many of us will likely still spend a great deal of time at home this summer, it could be a perfect opportunity to finally get through the longest classic on your TBR. A few suggestions: The Tale of GenjiShahnamehDuneThe Arabian NightsKristin LavransdatterMoby-Dick, and Les Misérables.