A Monthly Update from Penguin Classics

By Spenser Stevens | February 25 2022 | GeneralLiterature

Because what you read matters.


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Happy February! While winter persists outside, we’re staying warm inside with brand-new classics, a celebration of a favorite alternative holiday, and an exciting read-a-thon featuring a beloved Penguin Classic. Read on to see all the bookish happenings this month, and let us know what you’re reading on social media (we’re @PenguinClassics everywhere).

This year we mark the fortieth anniversary of The Color Purple with a new Penguin Vitae hardcover edition featuring a foreword by Kiese Laymon. Join us in celebrating Alice Walker’s classic with Penguin Random House’s annual Black Like We Never Left Read-a-Thon, a weeklong virtual event celebrating Black fiction, and a fundraiser starting on February 7 for the Black Creatives Fund by We Need Diverse Books. Follow @allwaysblack to find out more about the week’s festivities from curator and bookstagrammer Cree Myles.

In celebration of Black History Month, we’re excited to publish the work of Clarence Major with a twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of Dirty Bird Blues, with a foreword by Yusef Komunyakaa. Set in post–World War II Chicago and Omaha, the novel features Manfred Banks, a blues singer who is always writing music in his head. Torn between his friendships with fellow musicians and nightclub life, and his responsibilities to his wife and child, along with the pressures of dealing with a racist America that assaults him at every turn, Manfred seeks easy answers in “Dirty Bird” (Old Crow whiskey) and in moving on. He moves to Omaha with hopes of better opportunities as a blue-collar worker, but the blues in his soul and the dreams in his mind keep bringing him back to face himself.

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we love to celebrate Galentine’s Day on February 13, and this year is no different. Here are a few classics we’re reading in celebration of the strong women in our lives: Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, our new Penguin Vitae edition of The Color PurpleThe Mirror of My Heart, Luisa Capetillo’s A Nation of Women, Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, and Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women