Two side-by-side stacks of Penguin books

Dark Angels Note 108

Dearest Friends,

Welcome back to our weekly Note.

This edition is a celebration of the pocket-sized portable reading revelation that is the paperback book.



Paperback book day is observed on the 30 July every year as the anniversary of the first Penguin paperbacks published in England in 1935.

After spending a weekend on the country estate of Agatha Christie, a distinct lack of suitable reading material at Exeter train station prompted Allen Lane to make literature available to the masses in a more convenient, cheaper paperback format.

The first 10 books cost sixpence each, the same price as a packet of cigarettes, and included titles by Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie, and E H Young.

The colour-coded books with iconic cover designs were sold in railway stations, tobacconists and department stores, and even in a vending machine called the Penguincubator.



Spitalfields’ resident, a next-door neighbour to Christine (Sir Allen Lane’s eldest daughter), writes about how a series of failed job interviews led to collecting “a snapshot of the British public’s reading tastes in the late thirties”.

Read: One Hundred Penguin Books.



‘Books, you know, Charles, are like lobster-shells. We surround ourselves with ’em, and then we grow out of ’em and leave ’em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development.’

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers

Take the title of a favourite book that you’ve read at some point. Create an acrostic using the letters from the book’s title.



This week’s Sharing is from Lacy Rohre.


“My mother recently – covertly – dropped a file folder on my desk chair with bits of writing she’d saved from young Lacy. (She’s likely cleaning out her closets). One piece was this poem from my 16 year-old self:


A nook and cranny library made just for me;

Filled full of books, old ones, new ones, many more than three.


Tea cups with saucers that don’t quite match, jewelry boxes, lace doilies and an old door with a key latch.


With a bunny lamp that’s cute as can be; this is surely a nook and cranny library made just for me.


It eerily reminded me of a piece I wrote at the 2018 Dark Angels course in Nonquitt called “The Magic in Gigi’s Pantry.” I suppose my desire to write about whimsy and stuff and things has been an early habit. 😊”


Send us your wonderful poems, writings, links and writerly whatnots that you’d like to share with the wider Dark Angels family.



We are Nature: Aracena, 23rd – 28th September
We are fully booked except for one camping spot for this September’s long-awaited return to Finca El Tornero del Rebollar. Interested? Check out more details on the course here, or email Susanne directly.

If you missed out, we could pop your name on the waiting list.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings
There will be an intermittent service of Tuesday gatherings over the next few weeks, as we take a break for the summer. Neil will next be hosting on August 16. Back to normal from August 30.

Join us for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. Everyone is welcome; in fact, invite a friend along. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on.


Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here..

From everyone at Dark Angels



Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash