Thursday, September 11, 2014

Folio Society splurge

You'd think Phoebe didn't want me to get at those books, wouldn't you?! Well, this was one battle of wills she didn't win.

I'm rushing towards my goal of 1,000 books on the tbr shelves with a vengeance lately. I was tempted by the Folio Society special offer for their new titles & bought these three gorgeous editions. I've always wanted to read William of Malmesbury's Deeds of the English Kings, which was written in the 12th century & tells the story of English history from the coming of the Romans to the reign of Henry I. This is the 1998 translation for OUP but with the usual attention to detail & gorgeous illustrations of Folio editions.

I already own a copy of Desmond Seward's biography of Richard III, first published in the 1980s. The subtitle says it all really : England's Black Legend. Although I'm a member of the Richard III Society, I've always been interested in different interpretations of Richard's life & reputation & Seward has updated the book twice - in 1997 & again this year after the discoveries in Leicester. I'm looking forward to reading it again.

After reading Pushkin's poetry over the last few months, I couldn't resist this volume of his stories, including his most famous, The Queen of Spades.

Another incentive for this little purchase was the inclusion of a free copy (yes, it was free!) of this beautiful edition of A E Housman's A Shropshire Lad. Apart from the poetry, this edition includes the woodcuts by Agnes Miller Parker that were used in the 1924 edition.

I love woodcuts & these are just lovely. Here are a couple of examples. There are full page examples like these as well as little vignettes. One of the joys of the early Persephone Quarterly magazines was the inclusion of woodcuts by artists like Claire Leighton, Gwen Raverat & Tirzah Garwood. This book is so lovely that Sunday Poetry will be featuring Housman for the next little while.

I've also bought a couple of secondhand Folio editions. When I book my car in for a service, I often hop on the train & go to Camberwell, a suburb with a lovely Art Deco cinema (the Rivoli) & an equally lovely secondhand bookshop, Sainsburys Books. I saw a very sweet movie, Begin Again, with Keira Knightley & Mark Ruffalo, had some lunch & browsed around Sainsburys. I've bought some lovely Folio editions there &I wasn't surprised to find two more to add to my collection.

The woodcuts by Peter Reddick were the attraction of this edition of Thomas Hardy's Desperate Remedies.

Also, the lovely endpapers with a map of Wessex. This was Hardy's first published novel & is a bit of an anomaly as it has definite elements of the sensation novel. I've never read it & look forward to seeing what Hardy does with a plot that sounds more Woman in White than Mayor of Casterbridge.

Then, there was the Chevalier de Johnstone's Memoir of the 'Forty-Five. Despite his title, the Chevalier was a Scot who rallied to the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie. I couldn't resist the lovely binding of this copy which is based on an original binding of the period.

10 comments:

  1. I am so envious of that beautiful Houseman volume!! He and T S Eliot are my favourite poets...

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    1. I haven't read much Houseman & looking through this book, I'm surprised by how very melancholy many of the poems are. I feel I need to read more about him too so I can understand where his inspiration came from.

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  2. I'm a sucker for Folio editions. They are beautiful aren't they? I hope you enjoy them!

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    1. Thanks Nellie, they are lovely books.

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  3. Rushing towards your goal made me laugh, Lyn. The books are gorgeous and I especially love the woodcuts too!

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    1. Or am I rushing off a cliff like a lemming? I've just added book no 998 to my Library Thing tbr list. Together & Apart by Margaret Kennedy, one of the new Vintage reprints. there are two Greyladies on the way to me now so it would be lovely if one of them became unread book no 1000!

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    1. They are beautiful. I've been a member of the Folio Society on & off for many years & their books are beautiful objects as well as being books I want to read. Ebooks are wonderful & convenient but they don't have the appeal of a beautifully produced book like these.

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  5. Your folio books are gorgeous. I have found a couple in second hand and charity shops also. I always try to look fot them. Enjoy. Someone told me about the book shopmin Csmberwell when I was in Melbourne nlast week but ran out of time tobget there. Next time!

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    1. Next time you're in Melbourne, Pam, we could meet up for a coffee & a browse in Camberwell. The only problem with Sainsburys is that they don't have any cheap Penguins, they're a bit pricier than that. Still, a lovely place to browse & dream if not buy.

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