Monday, 23 February 2009

Books Worth Reading for the Covers Alone

The title of this blog is slightly tongue-in-cheek; it's not a philosophy I would advocate, to buy books solely based on their covers, but Persephone Books are incredibly pretty and make a welcome addition to any bookcase. Above you will see an image of my burgeoning Persephone collection, both the original dove-grey covers and the new Classics range (printed, in part, to appeal to non-Persephonites, in other bookstores). The one, solitary title on top normally sits behind but will move to a new shelf once my collection grows some more.

I don't believe that one imprint can fully satisfy all of their readers with each book they produce but Persephone are close to it; they only re-publish "neglected masterpieces" that they themselves enjoy and I do think that the passion they have for these books is well-founded. Of the Persephones I have read (below are a list of the ones I own, but not all of them have been read yet) I have enjoyed them all.

#2 Mariana, Monica Dickens (in the Classic format)
#3 Someone at a Distance, Dorothy Whipple (also a Classic edition)
#6 The Victorian Chaise-longue, Marghanita Laski
#16 Saplings, Noel Streatfield
#21 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Winifred Watson (Classic)
#24 Family Roundabout, Richmal Crompton
#28 Little Boy Lost, Marghanita Laski (Classic)
#41 Hostages to Fortune, Elizabeth Cambridge
#53 Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary, Ruby Ferguson
#56 They Were Sisters, Dorothy Whipple
#63 Princes in the Land, Joanna Cannan
#71 The Shuttle, Frances Hodgson Burnett
#73 The Young Pretender, Edith Henrietta Fowler
#78 A Very Great Profession, Nicola Beauman (Persephone's founder)


StuckInABook said...

A wonderful selection!

Paperback Reader said...

Thank you!

verity said...


The one thing I am unsure about is as to whether I like the republished "Persephone Classics" with completely different covers.

I think making beautiful editions is something that publishers are waking up to; there is lots of beauitful republishing going on. I suppose its similar in a way to having a series that looks the same, so you want to be "completist" and have them all.

But then, I work a bit with rare books, and back in the 18th/19th century it was common to have your books looking the same - you bought them without covers and had them bound to your taste! (well, if you were rich!)

Paperback Reader said...

I prefer the dove grey covers myself but some of the Classics are lovely, cheaper, and are probably more accessible to the non Persephone reader.