Beautiful Books

5:33 pm


You cannot deny that sometimes, sometimes, you do buy a book simply for its cover. That's what the covers are there for: to make you buy and to give you an idea of what you're getting yourself into. Here are my favourite picks from my bookshelves, read or otherwise, with details on their design and a few comments on why I find some of them so beautiful.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami - 2003 Vintage Books paperback, illustrated by Noma Bar and designed by Suzanne Dean

The Waves by Virginia Woolf - 2004 Vintage Classics paperback, designed by James Jones

The Clocks by Agatha Christie - 1963 Collins 'The Book Club' hardback edition

The Diary of a Nose by Jean-Claude Ellena - 2012 Particular Books hardback, designed by Pentagram

4.50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie - 2006 Collins 'The Crime Club' hardback edition, designed by HarperCollins Publishers

A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor - 2012 Penguin Books paperback, designed by Jim Stoddart - the cover of this has an odd, rubber-like texture that I struggle to describe, but that, along with the typography and the shade of blue, makes a good combination.


The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus - 2013 Granta Books paperback, designed by Peter Mendelsund

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick - 2001 Penguin Modern Classics paperback, designed by Faile

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides - 2002 Bloomsbury paperback, designed by William Webb

This Should Be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle - 2014 Harvill Secker hardback, designed by Suzanne Dean - I bought this book just because of the cover.

How to Be Both by Ali Smith - 2015 Penguin Books paperback, photograph of Sylvie Vartan and Francoise Hardy by Jean-Marie Périer - the fact Penguin have republished all of Ali Smith's books with matching covers makes collecting all of these far too tempting.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera - 1995 Faber & Faber paperback, cover illustration by Milan Kundera himself!


The Sculptor by Scott McCloud - 2015 SelfMadeHero hardback, illustrated by Scott McCloud

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer - 2014 Piatkus paperback, designed by Elizabeth Connor, photograph by Allan Amato

Girls Will Be Girls by Emer O'Toole - 2015 Orion paperback, designed by Sinem Erkas - probably my favourite of all of these covers. There's something about that yellow colour which is just stunning to me, and I love the idea of the semi-ancient statue juxtaposed with the makeup. Two visions of beauty from two different periods, perhaps.

Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - 2012 Penguin Classics hardback, illustrated by Yayoi Kusama - asked for explicitly because of this edition. On every page is a dotty illustration from the wonderful Yayoi Kusama herself. It's a work of art.

M x

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