I have to tell you, readers, that when I visited my local Anthropologie today, I was not looking for books. (I was, in fact, looking for a sale-priced cocktail dress, and I found one! Friends with upcoming weddings: I will not be arriving in the nude. You’re so welcome.) But: there were books. There were these books:
And also THESE books:
Surreptitious iPhone photos aside, aren’t they just about the loveliest? They’re Penguin Classics hardcovers with covers designed by Mr. Boddington’s Studio, and let me just recommend that you don’t click that link, because if you do, all your money are belong to them. No, actually, DO click that link and check out their lookbook, and then wonder why you are not currently getting married in a picturesque ceremony in Italy/Minneapolis/the Rocky Mountains/a ranch on the California coast. Not that I would spend half an hour doing exactly that. Noooope. Not this girl.
Anyway, I don’t know about you, readers, but I am a picky lady when it comes to covers—especially covers for classics. The truth is that I don’t own a complete set of Austen’s novels, in part because I can’t commit to a cover design. My copy of Pride and Prejudice is the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle movie tie-in version, and I’m not sure how that happened—I think it must have been a gift. I love it for sentimental reasons, but it’s ugly. And oh, my library-paperback copy of Emma provokes such internal conflict (much like Miss Woodhouse herself)! It’s hot pink, and clearly intended to snare unknowing chick-lit fans trawling the stacks. It is simultaneously better-looking than many other library copies, and a little offensive to my smart-lady sensibilities. I see what you’re doing there, library, and I’m not sure whether I like it. But I’m going to keep reading.
The recent smattering of well-designed Penguin Classics and other versions helps all this. And, really, these may be my Platonic classics covers, especially the Sense and Sensibility—I feel like that lovely design is going to age well. But the question remains: will I replace my ugly P&P with one that’s prettier but hasn’t traveled through life with me? Will I buy a stylish copy of Mansfield Park (I borrowed Miss Osborne’s copy for last year’s read-along; she read along on her iPad like the tech ninja she is) that I’ll hate in ten years? Why do I even care?
So, readers, tell me: what editions of Austen do you have? Which editions of Austen do you WANT? Or are you above all that and just in it for the language? Hit me.
Literary aesthetes/crafty nerds, take heart! Penguin Classics, ever popular for their artsy, modern designs, is taking things even further this fall: hand-sewn covers for Emma, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, and Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty! Or, at least, the originals were hand-sewn—the mass-produced versions will use sculpted emboss, which (according to the Google machine and my limited understanding of non-standard cover design; Miss Osborne could doubtless fill in the gaps) is a non-thread, non-manual-labor sort of endeavor. Which, hey, might be okay, considering the thorny issues surrounding who exactly would be doing the embroidery of thousands of ostensibly non-exorbitantly-priced mass-market books. In any case, the covers were created by artist Jillian Tamaki (check out process photos here), who apparently said that she would not be taking commissions for embroidery work unless Penguin Classics invited her to embroider their books. Which just makes me want to say, Hey, I will never write for television unless it’s for whatever Bryan Fuller‘s doing next! Nor will I ever take a writing job on the internet unless it’s for Go Fug Yourself! And I certainly won’t write for print unless it’s for The New Yorker. OBVIOUSLY.
Sooooo, I’ll just be over here, waiting for the phone to ring. Yup, aaaaany second now.
Via The Atlantic.
No, really. Are you?
Because you’re gonna want to see this—probably behind closed doors.
Couple of Extraordinary Taste Mr. and Mrs. Porter have brought to our attention lengthy videos of Joseph Fiennes reading from Sense and Sensibility, Dominic West reading from Pride and Prejudice, and Greg Wise reading from Persuasion—and now we can’t go back to the innocent ladies we were previously. We can’t unsee those impeccably set-dressed interiors and those perfectly crisp white shirts! We can’t unhear the seductively manly voices or the passion in Darcy/West’s proposal! We can’t unimagine…well, we wouldn’t tell you even if our mothers weren’t reading this site.
It’s just like we always say: the way to a woman’s heart is through the hilarious yet spot-on sexy reading of classic literature by hot and famous men. It’s a thing we say. Really.
(The only way this could be more perfect, naturally, is via an Old Spice Guy cameo. He is, after all, on a horse. Are you listening to me, advertisers?)