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.
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.
This book brings the fourth-wall crumbling down when author and illustrator begin bickering about the direction the story should go. It all begins when Chloe wants to ride the merry-go-round but devolves as the illustrator and author dispute about the antagonist of the story, the illustrator is fired, the author tries to draw, the illustrator gets eaten by a lion until Chloe finally puts her foot down and straightens out the story.
Visually, this story is hilarious. The story begins in a specific cartoon format but once illustrator and author begin commenting on the direction it’s doing the picture pans out and includes claymation stylized replicas of the two with Chloe’s story on a theater-like pedestal. Eventually, the author even tries to draw a new direction and his child-like attempts mangle the direction which is the catalyst for Chloe’s intervention. The use of several different mediums of illustrations – cartoon, claymation mannequins, and child-like drawings – alludes back to the meta-fictive and postmodern nature of this book.
The realization of the character’s roles in the picture book – self-referential – is an added element that is not often seen in other classic picture books and increases the sarcastic role of the story-line. I think these added characteristics that make the story atypical and non-linear really endear the story-line to readers and make Chloe and the Lion a huge hit!
Another amazing thing that’s been done with (or to) books. Guy Laramee has created these beautiful sculptured landscapes out of old books – from these books Laramee carves very detailed mountains, valleys, and structures. I think it’s a bit romantic that these book-scapes were slowly eroded bit by bit over time like the natural scenery they’re based on.
While writing a post on other pretty covers I found Coralie Bickford-Smith and her beautiful book designs. One of the designs I’m very excited about are these F Scott Fitzgerald novels. Bickford-Smith perfectly captured the stylishness and glam the jazz age these books exude. The metallic coloring and elegant art deco designs are beautiful and incredibly well done, they make me very happy. There are 6 beautiful editions in this collection: the Beautiful and Damned, Flapper and Philosophers, The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, The Collected Short Stories of F Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise, and The Last Tycoon. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these editions – they’re just so pretty!
I’m notorious for collecting multiple editions of novels for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I have multiple copies of a story because I forgot I had a copy, sometimes I’ll buy a book for the edition, maybe because of the additional content that will come out with a new publication, but most often I buy multiple copies of a story for the covers – I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover. These lovely clothe bound novels are made to be purchased for the cover. Each one designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, these editions are slowly making their way into my personal library to stand alongside their weathered, underlined, highlighted, annotated, cracked spine paperback counterparts. Such pretty covers!
Kate Gabrielle is the mad genius behind these whimsical (there’s that word again, the unofficial theme of my life) illustrations I’ve been obsessing over. These drawings typically document flappers Eloise and Ramona, twin sisters. I love the cartoonish prints, check out her etsy shop or her twoblogs.