Beautiful Books: Designer Editions & Sets

Beautiful Books: Designer Editions & Sets

Books like these are the reason I will never be able to convert to a Kindle. Yes, I understand that a Kindle is lightweight, easy to hold and able to store thousands of books at a time. But it doesn't have a cover that makes me smile, just looking at it.  It can't hold its own as a work of art sitting on a shelf. And it can't be collected with other Kindles and be transformed into more than the sum of its parts. Not like books. Not like these books, especially...

These are not inexpensive paperbacks that you toss into your bag for a commute or a trip to the beach. These are books to be savored, with beautifully crafted covers that celebrate the words within. If you're like me, you may remove such a cover to protect it, while reading the book. And that's okay. Because these are weighty books, inconvenient books, books designed to enhance one's reading experience, not expedite it. 

First Row:

  • J.D. Salinger Book Set, $175 - Juniper Books. Set of 4 includes The Catcher in the RyeNine StoriesFranny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. With this primary-colored collection, the author's name is spelled out across the set of spines, and each book is labeled by title individually. 

  • The First Edition Library, available individually or in sets - Juniper Books.   Facsimile replicas of first edition books featuring the first-printing artwork of each. Available series include Classic Literature (70 titles), Mystery (11 titles), Science Fiction (13 titles), James Bond (14 titles) and Published in Paris, Banned Books (3 titles). Shown: Mosquitoes by William Faulkner, The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever, The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer, Native Son by Richard Wright, Catch- 22 by Joseph Heller, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, The Adventures of Auggie March by Saul Bellow, From Here to Eternity by James Jones and On the Road by Jack Kerouac. (I received over two dozen of these as part of a book of the month program years ago and love them!)

  • Read Me Classics Set, $140 - Juniper Books. Set of 4 includes Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky and The Complete Stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Designed by Thatcher Wine, the set features the image an antique typewriter across the spines and the author's name in small print at the base of each book. 

  • Everyman's Library Poetry, $12.50 each - Everyman's Library. Shown here: Shelley, Keats, Shakespeare, Byron, Dickinson, Love Poems, Persian Poets, Love Letters, Love Songs and Sonnets and Indian Love Poems

  • The Great Food Series, approx. $12 each - Penguin Books.  A artful paperback collection of the most evocative food writing of the last 400 years, with covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith. The covers depict a ceramic shape and pattern historically relevant to the period of each book.

Second Row:

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (Penguin Hardback Classics), $13-$17 each - Amazon. Shown: Flappers and PhilosophersThe Beautiful and the DamnedThe Last TycoonThe Great GatsbyTender is the Night and This Side of Paradise. Another collection designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, the covers of these books are intended to evoke the jazz age of Fitzgerald's stories, while materially, "the combination of metallic foil and matte paper is designed to feel good in the hand as well as look good on the shelf." (I have one myself, and they definitely do!) 

  • Persephone Books, approx. $18 each - Persephone Books. Shown here: Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson, Miss Ranskill Comes Home by