Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist, visual artist and designer. His first novel in 1991 was Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. He has published thirteen novels, a collection of short stories, seven nonfiction books, and a number of dramatic works and screenplays for film and television. Coupland’s novels and visual work synthesize high and low culture, web technology, religion, and changes in human existence caused by modern technologies.
Last month I installed new bookshelves in a room in my house. They’re black, and my painter offered the unsolicited opinion that they might look depressing when completed. I knew he was wrong because, at the very least, the paperback shelf couldn’t help but have a cheerful orange zing a zing that comes from the Penguin spine, the most wonderfully insidious default interior design statement in our culture. Even crack dens glow with Penguins on the shelf.
And how many of us can time-stamp periods in our life just by the merest glance a Penguin cover and its genius format? College. Loneliness. Relationships. Adulthood. In some sense Penguin covers function more as diaries than they do as covers.
So I got to thinking, when Penguins start talking back to you, it makes you realize that the Penguin dialogue is a lifelong dialogue one of life’s catch-free pleasures. Happy 75th, Penguin, and to anyone reading this, join in the discussion. It’s easy, fun and oh, so worthy.