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!

 

 

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!

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).

Journey

Sadly, I haven’t been reading quite as many books lately – I think it has something to do with traveling and going to school… maybe. Regardless, I was recently in a Czech bookstore (despite not being able to speak or read the language I still like to visit bookstores) and saw a copy of Journey and cracked it open.

The beautiful thing about this book is there are no words and the narrative relies solely on illustrations to convey the story which is fantastic when you probably wouldn’t be able to read the book in the first place.

Journey is one of those books that transcends typical children’s books and is an absolutely stunning work of art. Telling the story of a little girl who uses a red crayon to create a red door and step into another world filled with magic, depth, and mystery. The influence from Harold and the Purple Crayon is evident but Journey has a feel and tone to it that is different from the unmistakable classic. I absolutely loved this book and didn’t even care about the strange looks people were giving me as I slowly flipped through it – they can blame it on me being a foreigner for all I care!

Following the little girl through the fantasy world there were times that I had to pause the unspoken narrative and study the detailed, full-page illustrations closer adding to the tone and feel of the world and story. With themes of imagination, creativity, and adventure streaked throughout the story and incredibly imaginative and at times breath taking illustrations – it’s hard to not love this little beauty.

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Out of Print

Even at a glance it’s obvious that I love books! I love to read and rarely leave my house without at least 1 book – it becomes a little tricky when traveling, on this trip to Europe I brought 4 paperback books as well as my e-reader spread out between my pursue and backpack.

As part of my clear obsession with books I love book paraphernalia and my go-to place for literary apparel is Out of Print. They carry things from t-shirts, leggings, canvas bags, socks, wallets, and so many other odd things you never knew you needed until you saw them!

A good chunk of my closet comes from this site and I always smile when I use my Edgar Allen Poe-ka Dot pencil bag. Something I didn’t initially realize but for each item they sell they donate a book to Books for Africa so more parts of the world have access to books and reading! It makes me feel a little better when I spend copious amounts of money on their Steinbeck or a Literary Terms shirt.

Nelson Mandela

I’ve often made it clear how much I enjoy picture books and admire how the format allows the narrative and story to take center fold. That said, itt’s incredibly hard for a picture book to capture an entire person’s life – especially one as active and impactful of Nelson Mandela. The story begins with a boy and follows him on his journey grow13623795ing up in Johannesburg, learning from African elders, his time in prison, helping to bring an end to apartheid and becoming the president of South Africa. This story is clear and powerful in a way that only true stories can be.

Front the powerful front cover all the way through the story the illustrations and story capture the reader’s attention. Each illustration is a tribute to this seemingly larger-than-life
man. With darker tones and a clear emphasis on Mandela in the illustrations the reader is better able to understand the true meaning and weight of the story. The illustrations capture the atmosphere and bring an added emphasis to the severity of his plight and challenges.

In our society that idolizes athletes and pop stars it’s good to recognize a real hero. This is a perfect introduction for children to a little discussed time in our history and an opportunity to remember a man who sacrificed so greatly for people he believed deserved equality and freedom

Water Sculptures

I know I should be doing something productive like studying for my finals but the glow from my computer screen beckons me and the internet just always happens to be on so I find myself roaming around the web looking for something interesting.  Well I have something interesting to share today.

The following are a series of paint and water sculptures digitally altered that I think is really cool and beautiful.