Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Beautiful books and bindings

Inspired by a post on another blog, The Peak of Chic I thought that I would ignore Morocco for today and think about books that are as attractive on the outside as they are on the inside. For a long time I thought that Loebs were the height of style and substance, gorgeous little red (for Latin) and green (for Greek) parallel text editions of classical literature. Then I thought that French paperbacks were the pinnacle of printed chic, such as those elegant books from Éditions Gallimard. But now... oh but now.... A recent flurry of enthusiasm for books by the likes of Nancy Mitford and Stella Gibbons brought me inevitably to my discovery of Persephone Books.

These gorgeously designed and produced editions, in dove grey binding, each book graced by a different endpaper relevant to the era and feel of the story, have been filling up my bookshelves and I have been sitting impatiently by the door of our house here in Marrakech waiting for the postman to deliver my next fix. Persephone Books have been reprinting forgotten and out of print works by a broad range of writers, mostly from the first half of the last century and mostly of feminine interest. I won't take up any more of your time here, but must send you immediately to their website and urge you to spend as much time as you can spare this afternoon browsing their wondeful catalogue.

Favourites? Recommendations? Well, you'll be buying three, at least, so let me recommend The Making of a Marchioness, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (now being made into a film, would you believe) and Greenery Street, if only for the wonderful scene when Ian first meets Felicity's parents.

Should you already know about Persephone Books, and have other recommendations, or have any other publishers to suggest to me, do leave a comment - I would love to hear from some of my readers, lurking, as you are, all over the world!

Persephone Books
59 Lamb's Conduit Street,
London WC1N 3NB

(Image of Persephone books above from www.biddles.co.uk with thanks)

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