This year marks seventy years since The Folio Society began publishing beautiful editions of global literary classics. To mark the occasion, the publishing house is offering a showstopping selection of titles in its fall catalog–Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, a two-volume set of The Little Prince, and other great books. In addition, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is hosting an exhibition entitled The Artful Book, featuring illustrated books, bindings, and original artwork from the Folio Society’s vast archives. Highlights include commissions from illustrators like Quentin Blake, Sara Ogilvie, Kate Baylay, Neil Packer, and many others.
Folio Society’s Editorial Director Tom Walker recently spoke about the milestone year, how they put together this recent catalog, and how he hopes Folio Society will continue to honor the company creed of producing books “in a form worthy of their contents.” Come read the interview at the Fine Books Blog.
Endpapers are making a comeback. Read our Q&A with master marbler Jemma Lewis–on the Fine Books Blog.
Endpaper art is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Back in 2012, Rebecca Barry profiled British professional marbler Jemma Lewis here on the FB blog, and after our recent story in the Fall print issue about the revival of endpapers, we thought it was time to check back in with Lewis and see what she’s been up to. We also heard from Julie Farquhar, the production manager at the Folio Society who produced the 2017 limited-edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories and which feature Lewis’ endpaper. Read all about how Lewis works her magic HERE.
Motherhood means something other than candy and roses in The Handmaid’s Tale. Read about Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic as well as the Folio Society’s illustrated edition–on the Fine Books Blog.
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean; Folio Society, $120.00, 560 pages, ages 14+.
Fans of Neil Gaiman’s award-winning American Gods (2001), rejoice: the Folio Society has recently released a commemorative edition of the 560-page genre-crossing tale of myth, fantasy, and faith. The timing is spot-on; recently adapted for television, American Gods debuted last month on the Starz network to such fanfare that the show has already been renewed for a second season.
In the Folio Society edition of the book, Gaiman’s exploration of faith in ancient and modern mythology leaps off the pages with the assistance from longtime collaborator Dave McKean, who previously illustrated Gaiman’s Sandman and Violent Cases. Here, twelve surreal acrylic and cut paper illustrations, including three double-page spreads and an otherworldly slipcase design, create, as McKean writes in the introduction, “an off-kilter, unrealistic place, where perspective doesn’t work.”
For the uninitiated, American Gods centers around a recently released convict named Shadow, who wanders aimlessly after learning of his wife’s fatal car accident during his time in prison. Shadow hooks up with con man Mr. Wednesday, and together they travel across America encountering Mr. Wednesday’s various associates–manifestations of old gods from ancient mythology now half-forgotten and wholly unimportant to 21st century folk. Gaiman’s premise is that the gods only exist so long as people remember them, and some gods resort to desperate measures to remain relevant. While the old gods fade into memory, a new breed of gods have taken over the American psyche, ones who represent humankind’s newfound obsession with social media, narcissism, and sexual power. A battle is looming, and Mr. Wednesday (who turns out to be an incarnation of the Norse god Odin) is leading the charge in a fight for the soul of America.
The Folio Society’s version of American Gods includes Gaiman’s “preferred text,” from the 2003 edition as well as the introduction from the 2005 edition, and fans unable to procure a Hill House 2003 limited edition–which fetch anywhere from $450 to over $1,000 these days–will find $120 for the Folio Society’s American Gods a relative steal.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, meaning Irish pubs from Boston to Dublin will be busier than usual and just about everyone will be sporting some sort of good luck charm. However, if the idea of day-drinking and parade-hopping turns you green, there’s still a few ways to let your inner Irish spirit free, even from the comfort of your own library. Check out the bibliophile’s guide to St. Patrick’s Day – The Fine Books Blog
Why should kids have all the fun this holiday season? It’s easy to forget the grownups during this hectic time of year, and checking off everyone on your list can get pricey. Consider giving the gift of great literature without breaking the bank: The Folio Society recently released a new series called Folio Collectibles, with four classic English-language titles (A Christmas Carol, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Frankenstein) produced especially for the lineup. Why these books? “We wanted to chose popular classics that everyone should have in their library across a range of genres, said Vicky Traino, Folio Society spokeswoman. “We think that they are the perfect gift to yourself or to introduce someone to the joys of books from The Folio Society.” I’m reading Doyle’s chilling crime caper, The Hound of the Baskervilles, complete with linocut reproductions by English artist and printmaker Edward Bawden (1903-1989), who was commissioned by the Folio Society in 1987 to produce six illustrations for the book. Perhaps as exciting about the Collectibles is their price: each soft-covered, flexibound volume retails for $34.95, and perfectly sized to tote around.
Most Folio Society editions are works of art in their own right, and, at least in my house, are handled with kid gloves. The Collectibles series easily lend themselves to cozying up by the fire, book in hand, and reveling in the joys of the season. Interested? Better act fast: Holiday order deadlines are December 9 (today) for regular delivery; December 14 for express.