Penguin Lines series goes Underground

Penguin is getting in on the 150th anniversary of the London Underground celebrations with a series of 12 books, designed to represent each Tube line.

But rather then celebrating the Underground itself, 12 authors have been commissioned to tell the quite wistful and romantic stories of their London, based on a particular Tube line.

Each author has photographed, drawn or picked their cover images, chosen a title and written their cover copy while Penguin Press art director Jim Stoddart oversaw the design process.

Colours of each line are referenced on the cover design, where even the Penguin itself is given a matching colour treatment.

We received Fantastic Man, the title of a men’s style magazine of the same name, whose creators Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom have authored the book around the East London line.

Taking a seemingly singular point of focus, the top-button-buttoned shirt, this book is a sartorial romp along the Ginger Line, looking at the curious fashion phenomenon through the eyes of its greatest exponents, including the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, who is pictured like everyone else in the book, buttoned up to the top.

We’ve also thumbed through the Hammersmith and City line book, which is an almost entirely pictorial and quite enigmatic collection of sketches entitled Drift.

Its author Phillipe Parreno says it is ‘an attempt to produce a psycho-geographical map of a subway line. It’s a mental construction. An abstraction.’

Other leftfield approaches to the task include comedian John O’Farrell’s A History of Capitalism According to the Jubilee Line, which takes the form of a short story and assumes that a train has become stuck below ground as the economy above has collapsed.

Journalist and author William Leith, known for his hang-dog humour and personal writing, has in A Northern Line Minute created, a tale of woe and drunken misadventure.

Published on 7 March by Penguin Books, each Penguin Lines book will cost £4.99

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