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!
A friend bought this for me and it is so much fun.
Of course there’s a coloring book, because of all the reasons!




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!

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.

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

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).

Chalk Books

Dana Tanamachi knows how to draw with chalk and not smear it all across her hands and the blackboard.  How?  Very good question, I bet it has something to do with practice – not really sure.  Either way, she makes beautiful designs and prints, some of those have made it to the cover of children’s classics.  Oh, and her website has stop actions for each design.  Behold!


Penguin Threads

Gaze upon the beautiful work of Jillian Tamaki!  These books, with their beautifully embroidered covers, were one of my favorite things to show off to customers.  They’re beautiful in these pictures but to see them up close and personal – running your fingers over the bumps of the thread, seeing all the little details – is the way these books should be experienced.  I would recommend checking them out next time you’re in a bookstore.  The one thing that I’m not crazy about is that these books only come in paperback, instead of the longer-lasting and sturdier hardcover.

tamakicoversg-464x686 Secret-Garden-Back-Quote tamakicoveremma-464x696I love the little quotes on the back on the books, and the Secret Garden is so beautiful!  It’s one of my favorite books and love this edition.

tamakicoverbb-464x691 threads3-464x348Rachel Sumpter Penguin Threads Wind in the Willows cover