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Thread: Some light reading...

  1. #1
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    Some light reading...

    Classics at bulk rate

    From Edwin A. Abbott to Emile Zola, the 1,082 titles in the Penguin Classics Complete Library total nearly half a million pages--laid end to end they would hit the 52-mile mark. Approximately 700 pounds in weight, the titles would tower 828 feet if you stacked them atop each other--almost as tall as the Empire State Building.
    The Wall Street Journal comments: Clicking for the classics

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    Re: Some light reading...

    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek
    From Edwin A. Abbott to Emile Zola, the 1,082 titles in the Penguin Classics Complete Library total nearly half a million pages--laid end to end they would hit the 52-mile mark. Approximately 700 pounds in weight, the titles would tower 828 feet if you stacked them atop each other--almost as tall as the Empire State Building.
    We've talked about misleading statistics before. The only way I can come up with those numbers is if you ripped the pages out of the books, and laid them down lengthwise (a single 500 page book would have 250 sheets of paper, and be about 250 feet long) to get the 52 miles. Even "stacking" them atop each other you'd have to balance the books on end, rather than lay them flat--otherwise, the books would barely reach 90 feet, which would fit in 6 ordinary bookshelves (3 feet wide, 5 shelves each).

    So, they seem doable

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    Mmm, Penguin Classics... I am tempted.

    What the heck is a sourcing fee?

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    But wouldn't they all have the same binding? A shelf full of those often indicates that they aren't there to be read, but to look nice. I've always loved the look of my cases full of books with multicolored covers and odd sizes. Makes it easier to find a specific book as well. Unless you're one of those people who actually organizes their library. :roll:

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    Re: Some light reading...

    Quote Originally Posted by A Thousand Pardons
    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek
    From Edwin A. Abbott to Emile Zola, the 1,082 titles in the Penguin Classics Complete Library total nearly half a million pages--laid end to end they would hit the 52-mile mark. Approximately 700 pounds in weight, the titles would tower 828 feet if you stacked them atop each other--almost as tall as the Empire State Building.
    We've talked about misleading statistics before. The only way I can come up with those numbers is if you ripped the pages out of the books, and laid them down lengthwise (a single 500 page book would have 250 sheets of paper, and be about 250 feet long) to get the 52 miles. Even "stacking" them atop each other you'd have to balance the books on end, rather than lay them flat--otherwise, the books would barely reach 90 feet, which would fit in 6 ordinary bookshelves (3 feet wide, 5 shelves each).

    So, they seem doable
    ATP, what did you do, email them?

    (Monday Update: As several readers have pointed out, those books would have to be awfully thick -- even for classics -- to take up that much shelf space. Our bad: We didn't make it clear that the 828-foot tower would be made of books stacked end-to-end, which would require a lot of glue sticks and a lot more luck. We're still not sure we'd have room no matter how you stacked 'em.)
    I did a quick count of my books, and that's about the number I have, which includes a number of coffee-table and art books, and no way could they reach that high. Ah, but now they say they meant end to end. Goofy. Anyway, that's not really a lot of books, since they do easily fit in my apartment, though I've often questioned the value of my books. That $6+K sticker price on Amazon, for paperbacks, no less, makes me realize how small a $20K blanket insurance policy really is; say 300 CDs averaging $15 is $4,500K alone. I guess it all adds up pretty quickly. Shoot. #-o

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    Re: Some light reading...

    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    ATP, what did you do, email them?
    No, not me.

    Have they twigged yet to the problem with the 52 miles of books? Where you have to rip out the pages and lay each page down end to end?

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    From Edwin A. Abbott to Emile Zola, the 1,082 titles in the Penguin Classics Complete Library total nearly half a million pages--laid end to end they would hit the 52-mile mark. Approximately 700 pounds in weight, the titles would tower 828 feet if you stacked them atop each other--almost as tall as the Empire State Building
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...440398-2777413
    .
    ATP, they say nearly half a million pages laid end-to-end. You said:

    The only way I can come up with those numbers is if you ripped the pages out of the books, and laid them down lengthwise (a single 500 page book would have 250 sheets of paper, and be about 250 feet long) to get the 52 miles.

    But they are saying that. Also, some of those books are fat ones; I have barely no Penguin editions (all Scribners, Vintage, Signet, etc), but War and Peace in my paperback is 1755 pages; Brothers Karamazov is 870, as well as Grapes of Wrath. Those size paperbacks are about 8 3/4", so they say "nearly half a million," pages. Well, if you assume 1,082 books with an average of 700 pages (because many of those books are compilations and larger than the average 300 pagers), then at 8 3/4 inches long, I use 378,700 (half of the 757,400 [1,082 x 700 pgs) x 8 3/4 and the online conversion says:

    3313625 inch = 52.2983744 mile.

    Edit: Well, maybe those page numbers are too high, the average would have to be a little lower...hmm, that's why I read them, not count them!


    I don't think they got that wrong. The Wall Street Journal quoted their vague, "Approximately 700 pounds in weight, the titles would tower 828 feet if you stacked them atop each other--almost as tall as the Empire State Building." They didn't specify how they would stack them.

    The Book List

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    But they are saying that.
    Yes, and I wanted to make that clear. In their sentence, the "they" could be referring back to "titles" just as well as "pages": " the 1,082 titles in the Penguin Classics Complete Library total nearly half a million pages--laid end to end they would hit the 52-mile mark"

    I thought the other stacking statistic was just as confusing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A Thousand Pardons
    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    But they are saying that.
    Yes, and I wanted to make that clear. In their sentence, the "they" could be referring back to "titles" just as well as "pages": " the 1,082 titles in the Penguin Classics Complete Library total nearly half a million pages--laid end to end they would hit the 52-mile mark"

    I thought the other stacking statistic was just as confusing.
    Yes, I suppose they are vague, or at least not clear. Go slap them silly for not saying, "laid end to end the pages would..." I guess one has to go for the closest object of 'laid.' "Atop eachother," is equally vague, it could mean several different ways. Fortunately, this isn't brick building, and has no consequence for lack of clarity, but I bet you could spend all day looking at the paper finding lots of these kinds of errors that most just accept. You probably already do that.

    Gethen:

    But wouldn't they all have the same binding? A shelf full of those often indicates that they aren't there to be read, but to look nice. I've always loved the look of my cases full of books with multicolored covers and odd sizes. Makes it easier to find a specific book as well. Unless you're one of those people who actually organizes their library.
    I agree, I like my books multicolored, bound in different ways, but hey, I sort of organize my books, at least most of them by subject matter: art, political science, plays, poetry, etc, authors grouped...is that anal? I thought that was normal...where's Evil Bob the Librarian, he should agree with me!

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    I like the old Orange Penguin bindings myself. I probably have a hundred or so penguins of different vintages (as well as viking and puffin and one of their other names). I also have a small collection of Modern Library, a few Everyman and a larger collection of Osprey, but my favorite are Dover books. They have the coolest covers.

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    I like the Collector's Library series. Hardcover, gilt pages, about $5.

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    Re: Some light reading...

    Dr. Peter Venkman: You're right, no human being would stack books like this.


    Meanwhile, as the nitpicking gets into high gear, no one seems to have noticed that the Empire State Building has shrunk quite a bit. 828 feet is "almost as tall"? Must be osteoporosis!


    Only $7989.99 and you get free shipping? Time to log on to Amazon! 8)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    I guess one has to go for the closest object of 'laid.'
    No, you don't, not necessarily. Often, the referent is the subject of the previous clause: The 1,082 buildings have nearly a half million flowers--they each have a gardener assigned to them.
    "Atop eachother," is equally vague, it could mean several different ways. Fortunately, this isn't brick building, and has no consequence for lack of clarity, but I bet you could spend all day looking at the paper finding lots of these kinds of errors that most just accept. You probably already do that.
    You would lose that bet.

    Some things just leap out at you. I know what a thousand (1,082) books looks like, and how much space they would fill, without having to calculate it. Others don't--they need the calculation to make it obvious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A Thousand Pardons
    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    I guess one has to go for the closest object of 'laid.'
    No, you don't, not necessarily. Often, the referent is the subject of the previous clause: The 1,082 buildings have nearly a half million flowers--they each have a gardener assigned to them.
    But we can *safely* assume that the referent is to "pages" since it wouldn't make sense otherwise. Their calculations on this page-52 mile business appears to be sound. Language obfuscation begets confusion, right? Well, that's OK, Maksutov is always on their heels!

    "Atop eachother," is equally vague, it could mean several different ways. Fortunately, this isn't brick building, and has no consequence for lack of clarity, but I bet you could spend all day looking at the paper finding lots of these kinds of errors that most just accept. You probably already do that.

    You would lose that bet.

    Some things just leap out at you. I know what a thousand (1,082) books looks like, and how much space they would fill, without having to calculate it. Others don't--they need the calculation to make it obvious.
    [/quote]

    Oh, my bad, I used the royal "you" instead of one. I bet one--any person--could spend all day finding errors like these. You don't? I think you could qualify for a position as Fact Checker, but yes, as I noted, that's about the number of books I have (though I may have overlooked a few nooks and crannies and boxes), and it doesn't seem plausible at first glance that books stacked cover to cover would nearly reach the heights from which Worzel so recently gazed upon Manhattan.

    Musashi wrote:
    I like the old Orange Penguin bindings myself. I probably have a hundred or so penguins of different vintages (as well as viking and puffin and one of their other names). I also have a small collection of Modern Library, a few Everyman and a larger collection of Osprey, but my favorite are Dover books. They have the coolest covers.
    I noticed that many of the publishing companies use animals--Houghton Mifflin has a man with a telescope sitting above a porpoise, Penguin, Puffin, Bantam has a rooster...gosh, this old book on Kant has a seagull--the publisher escapes me, as do some others right now. Vintage changes their logo from a pagan sun, to a globe on an inverted pyramid, to a compass... I do have more Penguins than I thought--English course staples, like Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" or "Tristam Shandy." I would say Dell, Signet and Bantam are the big paperback companies; the Knopfs, Simon & Schusters, Random Houses-like publishers being reserved for hardcover. I couldn't locate a Dover. ? Riverside is another English Major regular, though Scribner's Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wharton editions are supreme. I don't care for those fancy hardcovers that come in sets that are supposed to mimic some aged library; I like those editions that include critical analyses, but that's just my taste.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    But we can *safely* assume that the referent is to "pages" since it wouldn't make sense otherwise.
    That was my point in my first post.
    You probably already do that.
    You would lose that bet.
    Oh, my bad, I used the royal "you" instead of one. I bet one--any person--could spend all day finding errors like these. You don't?
    Surely, that you isn't also the royal you? That's what I would have bet. Just want to make the wagers clear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A Thousand Pardons
    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    But we can *safely* assume that the referent is to "pages" since it wouldn't make sense otherwise.
    That was my point in my first post.
    You probably already do that.
    You would lose that bet.
    Oh, my bad, I used the royal "you" instead of one. I bet one--any person--could spend all day finding errors like these. You don't?
    Surely, that you isn't also the royal you? That's what I would have bet. Just want to make the wagers clear.
    I rest my case. What was the wager? Start counting the change in your pocket... :wink: :P

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    I rest my case. What was the wager? Start counting the change in your pocket...
    you owe me a buck two fifty nine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    . . . I like those editions that include critical analyses, but that's just my taste.
    shudder. yes, it is! which Terry Pratchett is it, when referring to the creatures of L-Space, mentioned one which devoured books and left behind slim volumes of literary criticism?

    okay, I actually divide my books by category, alphabetize by author, then arrange in chronological (either according to events, in the case of series books, or according to publication date) order. I still like all those interesting covers. I also happen to like art on my book covers, especially the Last Herald Mage books, which are lovely. then again, I acquire an awful lot of books second-hand, so a lot of them are battered. some are missing covers. a select few were chewed on at the corners by a cat I had who took out his jealousy of my time on certain volumes. (no, I don't have the cat anymore. no, that's not why.)
    _____________________________________________
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Thousand Pardons
    Quote Originally Posted by Melusine
    I rest my case. What was the wager? Start counting the change in your pocket...
    you owe me a buck two fifty nine
    Sure, I'll send it C.O.D. :wink: Why do men keep so much cash in their wallets?

    Melusine wrote: . . . I like those editions that include critical analyses, but that's just my taste.

    Gillianren wrote:
    shudder. yes, it is! which Terry Pratchett is it, when referring to the creatures of L-Space, mentioned one which devoured books and left behind slim volumes of literary criticism?

    okay, I actually divide my books by category, alphabetize by author, then arrange in chronological (either according to events, in the case of series books, or according to publication date) order. I still like all those interesting covers. I also happen to like art on my book covers, especially the Last Herald Mage books, which are lovely. then again, I acquire an awful lot of books second-hand, so a lot of them are battered. some are missing covers. a select few were chewed on at the corners by a cat I had who took out his jealousy of my time on certain volumes. (no, I don't have the cat anymore. no, that's not why.)
    Lol, I wasn't talking about single critical analysis books, just the ones like the Houghton Mifflins that have some analyses in the front or back. The single volumes, I have mostly parted with--they are so dry. The film analyses, though, I have held onto. Does anyone remember the Classic Film Scripts, Modern Film Scripts editions that Simon & Schuster put out? Love those.

    OK, you are far more anal than me. Reminds of the book "High Fidelity"...he arranged his albums, not by musician or band, but by date or something...#-o...it was a unique system. My favorite cover of a fiction book is Jose Donoso's "The Obscene Bird of Night," but they don't sell the cover I have anymore--a colorful bird in a South American-art style. The Griffin & Sabine trilogy are probably the most original (and interactive) books in recent time. If anyone is into, or was ever into the epistolary form, those are inspiring.

    Books are pain to move though; the movers complained to me that the over 20 copypaper boxes they had to lift up two stories on a dolly were worse than the bed and couch...they hate little stuff that takes forever.

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    Musashi's signature:

    HwŠt! We Gardena in geardagum,
    ■eodcyninga, ■rym gefrunon,
    hu ­a Š■elingas ellen fremedon.
    "Yes, we have heard of the glory of the Spear-Danes' kings in the old days--how the princes of that people did brave deeds."

    ~Beowulf, E. Donald Talbot Donaldson, Yale University, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1966*


    *The best translation I've ever read in prose form.

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    That is one of the three I have, I keep meaning to pick up Heany's to compare, I have heard good things about it.

    [In fact, the Donaldson is the only one I have within arm's reach of my keyboard.

    Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 66-11783

    ISBN 0 393 09687 4]

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musashi
    That is one of the three I have, I keep meaning to pick up Heany's to compare, I have heard good things about it.

    [In fact, the Donaldson is the only one I have within arm's reach of my keyboard.

    Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 66-11783

    ISBN 0 393 09687 4]
    Yep, that'd be it. Amazon shows it as printed again in 1975, but when I look at the title page, and back cover here the only thing that's different is there is now a bar code and the Norton logo is slightly different. People who may get scared off by old texts of Beowulf in Old English should read this--it's only 55 pages and since it's in prose, not poem form, it's an easy read. The back cover says "elegant translation," and I have to agree. From the translation I provided, people can see the words that pop out in English...geardagum, etc.

    I love the smell of old books...when I visited my parents I found this 1920-ish copy of "Arabian Nights" that had seen better days, but it had one of those old thick covers with the picture glued on the front...really psychotic stories, like Grimm's Fairy Tales, which by the way, is one Dover book I could find--Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm (ISBN 0486210804), an edition my mother used in college...who would think of all the symbolism in "The Sleeping Beauty." :wink:

    BTW, I haven't read, but aquired the paperback of James A. Michener's "Space." I've never really delved into Michener, not really my style, but I'm wondering if it's worth reading. It came out in 1982. Anybody?

    FYI: Link for Library of Congress Catalogue/ISBN Search

  23. #23
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    I read "The Drifters" and really liked it, but then I tried to read another (Hawaii, I think) and couldn't make it beyond the first ten pages or so.

    I love Beowulf, I have been slowly attempting to teach myself Old English, and I love the sound of it.

    [Edit: $13.50? I got my copy for $0.50. ]

    [Double Edit: I really like a lot of the old Epics and Sagas. Volsungsaga/Nibelungenlied, Beowulf, Chanson de Roland, the Eddas (poetic and prose), the Heimskringla, the Kalevala. I am making my way through a book of Icelandic Sagas right now, good stuff. The Arthurian Romances have some very funny moments. The Thousand Nights and One Night is strange and interesting. Myth/Legend/Saga/Epic/etc. is probably my favorite genre (if it can be called that).]

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