September is a great time to get stuck into some new reading material, I always think. And if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it stylishly. Sure, I love the Kindle I finally caved and bought this year (it’s fab for holidays), but there’s just something about a beautifully-bound book, you know?
I grew up in a household of bibliophiles (my mum’s a librarian) and sometimes it seemed like every spare surface in my parents’ house was covered in books. Living abroad as I do, my own library is a bit more edited, but there’s always room in it for something well-designed (and of course, well-written). Here are a few of my favourite publishers and editions to check out when looking for beautiful books.
Penguin’s Clothbound Classics have been around for awhile, and anyone who’s killed an hour or so in Anthropologie has no doubt lusted after these beautiful tomes. I adore the fun colours and topical cover motifs.
These newest classics from Penguin, the Mr. Boddington range, were (I believe) released last year, and are exclusive to Anthropologie. Not quite as pricey as the cloth-bound books, they have the same attention to design in a fun, mini package.
My ex-boyfriend used to work for the British art book publisher Phaidon, and our flat was full to bursting with gorgeous books on cookery, architecture and art. Most of them aren’t mine anymore, but I managed to hang on to a few favourites. I love Phaidon for their modern sensibility, their attention to good design and their unexpected gems (they have wonderfully creative children’s books, for instance).
I’ve been reading the beautiful cloth-bound books from The Folio Society since I was little; my parents were members and we bought items from their catalogue every year. This British company takes classics both old and new, as well as non-fiction and reference books, and turns them into individual works of art. The illustrated covers are only one reason to collect: each book also comes in its own hard case, and the fact that the catalogue is ever-changing means you’ll want to grab your favourites while you can.
Last but not least, I love the small publisher Persephone Books for their feminist stance, as they publish mainly forgotten or obscure works by women authors. The books look the same from the outside, all pale grey covers and cream title blocks, but on the inside, the magic happens: each volume has its own unique and beautiful end paper, chosen to reflect the the era it was written in. So you not only discover new authors and stories, but something beautiful inside each one.
What are your favourite sources for beautiful books?