Word of the Week 073020

Word of the Week 073020

Greetings Word of the Week fans and welcome to the July 30 edition of Clarion County's favorite word game.

It was on this date in 1935 that Penguin Books published its first "paperback" book, touching the paperback revolution.

Sure, paperbacks had been around for a while, but the Penguin books were cheap and plentiful.

The first 10 Penguin books were published by Bodley Head and their success persuaded Lane to launch Penguin as a standalone publisher in 1936.

Within a year, Penguin had sold three million paperbacks and the skeptics, and there were many, had been proved wrong.

The 10 books included several writers who are still well known today -- Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy L Sayers and Agatha Christie and others who have faded away.

Sadly, the likes of Beverley Nichols, Mary Webb, E.H. Young, and Susan Ertz receive little attention today.

The original Penguins are an eclectic mix a biography of Shelley, a classic from Papa Hemingway, a novel set in a pub, a novel about an old lady, two mysteries, an autobiography and three more rather romantic novels.

The original first editions of those famous 10 Penguins are extremely difficult to find and exceptionally tough to locate in good condition.

The question is does the word "factotum" appear anywhere in any of those books?

We don't know we're going to read all of them to find out.

Does factotum mean:

A: A bit of information. "We're writing a song about paperback writers," said John and Paul. "We need a factotum about writing a book."

B: Word play. Back in the USSR by the Beatles has a dose of factotum "Flew in from Miami Beach BOAC, Didn't get to bed last night. On the way the paper bag was on my knee. Man I had a dreadful flight."

C: Instructions. "I gave you strict factotum," said the wood shop teacher. "You didn't follow them and now you have no thumbs."

D: An employee who does all kinds of work. "I don't wanna be a jack of all trades," said Aloysius. "I wanna be a factotum."

Allen Lane was the genius behind Penguin. At the time, he worked for a publisher called Bodley Head but was frustrated by the lack of affordable contemporary fiction.

He wanted to offer cheap, quality books through outlets like railway stations and newsagents as well as traditional bookshops.

Lane wanted to make good books accessible.

The correct answer to the Word of the Week challenge is "D."