Penguin Threads designed by Jillian Tamaki

Now before I begin, these beautiful Penguin Thread editions are not due to be released until October 2011 (I know, I can’t wait that long either!).

Illustrator and cartoonist Jillian Tamaki was commissioned by Penguin to design three embroidered covers for the following Penguin Classic Deluxe titles: Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, Frances Hodgsen Burnett’s The Secret Garden and Jane Austen’s Emma.

On her Sketchblog, Jillian sounds just as excited about this project as the rest of us are:

Penguin Classics! What a dream project. When I first did my Monster Quilt, I said I wouldn’t take commissions in embroidery… unless Penguin called me for a Penguin Classics cover. Sometimes you get what you wish for (times three).

Now. Take a deep breath… et voila!

jillian tamaki

Theres more!! Continue reading

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Penguins Mini Modern Classics: I won!

Penguin Mini Modern Classic

There’s been a whole lot of hype and Twitter chat recently surrounding Penguin’s Mini Modern Classics, which celebrate 50 years of Penguin Modern Classics (congratulations, Penguin). The 50 mini books feature mini stories from some of the most famous authors of the past 100-and-odd years including, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Frank Kafka, Kinsley Amis and Angela Carter.

So today, while obsessing over my pretty awful-looking bank balance, I thought I’d treat myself to a couple, I mean, they’re only 3 pounds each! While I deliberated over which two to buy (I tell you, it’s not an easy choice!), I noticed that the ladies over at For Books’ Sake were running a competition to win 10 of the 50 books! So I got envolved.

Penguin Mini Modern Classic boxsetFirst of all, I never win anything, I mean never. I’m just one of those unlucky types. But, it looks as though today was my lucky day after all! Now I don’t need to decide which two of the collection to buy, I’ve got ten to read! (10 ‘mini’ reviews coming soon folks!)

A big thanks to those at For Books’ Sake (@forbookssake)! Make sure you check out their website, it features books by and for independent women; they review classic and modern books across both fiction and non-fiction. It’s a fab site, and one that I only recently discovered (and thank goodness I did!).

My Penguin: You Do the Covers

Like This!

A while back, I blogged about Penguin’s irresistible Art-Deco inspired books, released to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s death. Knowing me all to well, my mates recently bought me the full collection for my birthday. Lucky girl.

Now, many of you might be now beginning to wonder whether I work for Penguin at the rate I bang about their ‘special’ editions. Unfortunately, I don’t, but here I go again. By a matter of coincidence I came across Penguin’s ‘naked’ books series, My Penguin (I’ve never seen these before, so it’s probable that they’ve been around for a while!). These inspired editions have blank front covers, enabling you to unleash the creative-side of your brain as you design your very own.

My Penguin books

Penguin have very cleverly marketed these as uber-cool by having Razorlight, Beck, Goldspot, Dragonette, Ryan Adams, Johnny Flynn and Mr. Hudson & The Library chose “the Penguin Classic they most wanted to see NAKED” and design a cover for it (see them here!). The strap line? “We print the words. You do the covers.” Ingenious. Continue reading

Bags get a literary revamp!

It seems our beloved books have gone all red carpet on us. Jaclyn Noelle over at Bookysh brought these to my attention in one of her recent blog posts.

Designed by new French designer Olympia Le-Tan, twelve magnificent book clutches were available to buy online from 10th December, priced at a whopping 1087 Euros (£925 / $1424). Although most of the book clutches have now sold out, some designs are still available to order! See all twelve designs at the Olympia Le-Tan website.

The clutches have a brass frame covered with an embroidered canvas book cover design, and it that’s not enough, each clutch is lined with a Liberty printed fabric. Hollywood stars including Natalie Portman and Clémence Poésy have been snapped posing with these literary accessories  on the red carpet at the Black Swan and Harry Potter movie premiere’s. Books have hit the big time: they’re fashionable.

Would you wear one of these?

Penguin clothbound classics in time for Christmas!

I’m always banging on about the Penguin Classics clothbound editions, designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, because they look the way ALL books should look. Check out these new additions to the collection, released today, and just in time for Christmas… Continue reading

Penguin celebrates the 70th Anniversary of F.Scott Fitzgerald

A while back, I was raving about the new Penguin Classics hardbacks designed by the talented Coralie Bickford-Smith:

I invested in two of these beauties: Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Today, as I popped onto Amazon to buy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I’m caving in to the hype), I see these:

To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of F. Scott Fitzgeralds death, these beautiful Art-Deco inspired books will be released on 4th November.

Again designed by Coralie Bickford Smith, Senior Cover Designer at Penguin, the books incorporate a detachable bookmark on the inside cover of the dustjacket. In the past, I have pondered over the point of dustjackets, but these are… Continue reading

Happy 70th Anniversary Puffin!

If you’re a lover of pretty looking books like me, AND you’ve got a couple of grand to spare (NOT like me), then check these out:

Oliver Twist designed by artist Sir Peter Blake

Around the World in Eighty Days designed by architect David Adjaye

Continue reading

Undress your books!

Following on from my post on Penguins new (jacketless!) Hardback classics designed by the talented Coralie Bickford-Smith… one blogger at The Guardian asks:

What is the point in dustjackets?

At last, an answer to the question that at one time or another crops up in all our minds, until we tell ourselves that we can’t possibly question the book and its entirely useless but seemingly essential jacket!
Even when we try to prise the jacket from its body, it feels wrong and we stop mid-undressing, only to cover up the ugly naked book once again with its aesthetically appealing jacket. After all, it must exist for a reason.

Yet, I wonder, is it all a question of identity and interpretation?

The jacket with all its fancy words, bright colours and artistic images is merely a marketing tool which unknowingly influences us when choosing a book. “Pick me! Pick me!”, and in our confusion we run for the one that attracts our eye, turn it over and only then do we read the blurb.

Consequently, in making our preliminary judgement of a book on its cover alone, does this then influence our reading of the text? Probably.

Our niggling desire to undress the book and unleash it from its restrictive jacket, is to free it from all preconceived ideologies and rid it of its imposing identity.

Its blank face left ready for us to make our own interpretation…