The Secret Garden

When pressed for a favorite book my default is the Secret Garden. The reasoning behind it is not complex – it’s the book I’ve read the most time by far.

There was a period in my childhood where I read – or listened to – that book almost every year and was a huge part of my childhood and journey as a reader. I still know the nursery-rhyme taunt the children flung at Mary when we had to live with missionary children before being moved to England. I remember almost every twist and turn of the book and re-reading it can sometimes have an unpredictably cathartic affect on my spirit.

It’s no surprise, then, that I have some beautiful copies of this classic and am always looking for more to add to my strained bookshelf.

Secret Garden
My all time favorite cover and one I proudly own!
The Secret Garden
My all time favorite cover and one I proudly own!
the secret garden web
My all time favorite cover and one I proudly own!
Unknown
A friend bought this for me and it is so much fun.
Coloring
Of course there’s a coloring book, because of all the reasons!

 

 

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Scheherazade + The Wrath & the Dawn

This is a lovely series wrapped in an equally as gorgeous red and blue covers respectively. The story is a retelling of 1,001 Arabian Knights, the young Caliph takes a new bride whom is killed each morning – as required by the original story – but not all is as it seems and as the narrative unfolds you begin to understand how much more is at play. Shahrzad volunteers to be a bride and as a reader you follow, through her eyes, the story. At times, she can be so irritatingly naive, and other times she is fearless and pursues justice with an almost Batman-like zest.

I would highly recommend these two books both for the narrative and for the beautiful covers.

Between the two books I was able to attend an arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, a sweeping orchestral piece based on 1,001 Arabian Knights. It’s big, heaping with drama, and plays with tension like any good story should – the characters shine through and you can almost feel their frustration or fear.

If you are able to listen to music while reading, I think pairing Scheherazade with these two stories could be very interesting… granted you have to be talented enough to multitask, a skill I have not yet mastered.

Best of luck if you decide to try this pairing – please let me know how it goes!

Northanger Abbey

Pretty things have always made me weak in the knees and if I didn’t spend the last 4 years of my life being a poor college student then I would not be able to stop myself from buying some of these swoon-able book covers. Instead of splurging, I’ve added some of these gorgeous book covers to my endless Amazon wishlist in the hopes of one day marrying rich and buying a pretty library… or getting a good job and buying them for myself.

I wanted to focus on Austen’s Northanger Abbey, a book which often will get over shadowed by giants like Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice which have amassed an almost cult-like following and a handful of spin-off books and movies.

Northanger Abbey is not like these regency classics but is delightful in a very different, amusing, cringe-inducing, and naive way. It was the first Austen I read and for that it will always be remembered as a bit of a gate-way drug and it feels so much like Persuasion – my all time favorite of Austen’s stories – and for that will always have a fond place in my bookish heart.

For these reasons and so many more, I’m glad to see book covers of this story that are try to capture the essence of the narrative and take it beyond the tiresome, nondescript, classic covers.

So that’s my round up of Northanger Abbey book covers I liked… or at least appreciated for being different from everything else. Let me know if there was one that was your favorite!

Whirlwind

I know that I’ve mentioned this before but the last few weeks have been a mad rush of graduating, packing, moving, unpacking, and all the little details in-between that get over looked. Things are simmering down and this past weekend I flew out to a friend’s wedding in Austin and counted it as my “relaxing” vacation between the stress of moving and beginning a new job.

While it wasn’t exactly relaxing, it was a much need trip surrounded by old and new friends.

Leaving early on Friday from Seattle I ended up spending almost 12 hours in two airports before actually seeing Austin from a distance. Two of my old roommates drove out for the wedding and kindly picked me up from the airport and took me back to a friend of a friend’s house we stayed at for the trip.

Being able to spend time with these lovely ladies in a fun city like Austin was much needed – add to this the warmth of the sun, the beautiful wedding, and the new folks we met along the way and I cannot think of a better end-cap before beginning my new job.

Now that I’m back in cloudy Washington (there are SO many clouds, I’ve been able to see the mountains once since I’ve been here) I’m restless to begin the next phase of this adventure. Settling into a routine sounds glorious right now!

Brave New World

I vividly remember reading Huxley’s dystopian narrative in high school along with 1984 and Anthem. My English teacher was amazing and remains not just one of my favorite teachers but one of my favorite people, she used books to challenge us, reinforce universal truths, to understand other’s view points and opinions, and as a lens to view the world.

From the three classic dystopian stories we read my junior year of high school, Brave New World was the most scarily similar to the world we live in today making it my obvious favorite. Both the social commentary and the challenges faced the characters struck a cord in me and captured my attention.

While BNW does not have as many renditions as some of other books (*cough* Pride and Prejudice *cough*) the ones I’ve collected do an interesting job of conveying the tone and themes in the book which can be so difficult to articulate.

BraveNewWorldPS
Each person in the story felt like a cog in a bigger machine and I’m glad to see a cover capture that.
BraveNewWorld
Beautiful and simple cover. It’s probably my favorite for the lost, hopefulness it reminds me of.
9780060929879-us
Each person in the story felt like a cog in a bigger machine and I’m glad to see a cover capture that.

Change of Scenery

I drove up from Arizona to Washington these past few days. Along the way I met up with old friends, stayed in some fun cities, and slowly watched the scenery outside the car change.

It’s old hat at this point to draw the parallels between slowly changing scenery and the changes in ones life but I did find it very interesting how different and startling that change was. The trip began in the hot, hot, hot deserts of Arizona – a place that I find very beautiful – and slowly changed as we approached the Inland Empire of California and the cities that came with it. Eventually, lush farmland pasted by and was replaced with more cities – San Jose and San Francisco – before reaching to the jagged mountains of Northern California and Southern Oregon, a very foreign sight to a flat-lander like myself. Then the stunning green of Central Oregon and Washington – another odd image for my desert rat eyes – which I will be calling home for a short time.

The vastly different landscapes are so odd to think back on. How can one roll into the next in such a short time without there being a break for the scenery to be rearranged for the next environment? How do all these starkly different but stunningly beautiful worlds exist within a 25 hour drive of each other?

If I wasn’t a college educated lass I would have half a mind to believe small gnomes and woodland creatures are hard at work behind the scenes re-arranging things to suit their whims. As it is, even with the college education it’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to believe it could be real… maybe.

Knowing that there is a world that exists between the desert and sprawling cities intrigues me, as does the idea the somewhere there is a land between farmland and mountain. I don’t think I’ve ever consciously been aware of this in-between land, just the knowledge of it makes me wonder what it’s like to live between two distinct environments inhabiting certain traits of both. What does this gray area look like? Who lives there? Do they consider themselves city-folk or mountain dweller?

I know that there isn’t a conscious realization of this change and that the technical definition of the in-between land I imagine doesn’t exist in reality but I would love to see the city-dwelling mountain man (though, I feel like he/she might look like a flannel loving-hipster and I can’t decide if I’m a fan yet or not). The people that thrive in the margin.

Now the world has stopped spinning and I’m off the road for more than a night. Sitting still is sometimes the hardest speed to travel by. Still, if nothing else, it means that I can study the environment around me and know that it’s not going to change too much any time soon.

Puffin in Bloom

Until a few years ago I’d never heard of Rifle Paper Co, much less their creative director Anna Bond whose the leading force behind these beautifully illustrated books. Since then a good friend of mine and way talented artist turned me towards their beautiful stationary, calendars, books, and other things that will slowly steal your paycheck. Oh Rifle Paper Co, thank you for all the beautiful things you’ve created – I appreciate it greatly!

In a partnership with Puffin several children’s classics have been redesigned in typical Rifle Paper Co fashion. They’re cheerful hardcovers which double as artwork and are some of the best book-cover collaborations I’ve seen.

The illustrations feel light hearted as if they belong in a book originally intended for children without being pedantic. It’s a cross over between books for children and books for adults which works perfectly!

I’ll be honest, this checks all the boxes for me! If you ever feel like sending me a gift, this is it (just, please not Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland… I already have that one).