Thursday, February 11, 2010

A little book talk

Did I ever tell you how much I love reading and not only that but that I am craving beautifully done editions? That I judge a book by it's cover and take an immense pleasure out of a lovely binding? That fine print gives me a high and gold cut pages fulfill my bookish desire?
There has been a lot of talk about the latest Penguin Classics linen covered edition.
Coralie Bickford-Smith has designed gorgeous covers, much acclaimed and well received! I have not heard so much about a book edition in a long time. You can read an interview with her about her ideas and approach to book covers here.

Today I began my own collection with a copy of Thomas Hardy's 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles'.

The first page...

The edition comes with an extensive introduction, which I love, since I know little to nothing about the book and it's author.
And I have my eyes already on a few others in this collection:

Aren't they just so gorgeous?

Talking of beautiful editions, lately I have been reading Helene Hanff's '84 Charing Cross Rd.' a small book with a collection of letters, exchanged between her in New York and 'her' bookseller in a small bookstore in London, from the late 40' until the late 60's.

This charming and heartwarming correspondence was practically all about beautiful books and first and rare editions, the philosophy of reading and the way we learn through the discovery of writers. At the same time it's a slice of history, taking you back to a time after the Second WW, the hardships of the postwar era, especially in England. This small volume moved me to tears at times and made laugh, all I want in a book.
Her feisty character and the humour in their letters made it so worthwile to read.
Since I love to immerse myself in a story and all what comes with it, I watched the movie with Anne Bancroft in the role as Helene Hanff, Anthony Hopkins as the bookseller and Judy Dench as his wife. Made in 1986 the movie has the feel of a old classic, slow, quiet and seemingly old fashioned. But I loved it anyway, since the characters of the book came to life in a sweet and true form.
The New York Times wrote her obituary and you can read it here. She died at age 80, on April 9Th, 1997 one day after my daughter was born...

The follow up story to '84 Charing Cross Rd' is 'The Duchess of Bloomsbury Rd' and when you liked the first one, you practically can't wait to read this one too! Which I did!

Remember I had posted here on letters? It's still all in the spirit of reading letters and writing some of my own!

I hope you enjoy a good book these days!


Pictures by Victoria Zlotkowski and via


  1. These are grogeous aren't they. I have looked at them many a time enviously at my local bookshop but as I already own the ones that I would want to read in other (less attractive) editions, I somehow cannot allow myself to buy another edition just because it is so much more attractive. But oh they are so gorgeous!

  2. You and I have a mind meeting - and it is "scary good":

    I love collecting books, first editions, special editions, you name it. Thank you for bringing the Penguins to my attention. Shall waddle over to their site immediately.

    And... yesterday when you were writing this, I went to my favourite old book seller (no Chains for now) AND... purchased a copy of
    "The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street": Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill (HER bookseller) 1952-73.

    I bought it because I liked "84 Charing Cross Road". Goosebumps?

    This is a sign (although I don't believe in them), we have to write letters, X.

  3. Wow! These covers left me completely speechless! Oh, Tess Of The D'Urbervilles! I loved this book so much, I wish I still have it, unfortunately, it was borrowed.

    I used to love watching movies based on books, however, sometimes movies do not do the book any justice and, it's very much understandable yet it's still a pity.

    Have a great day!

  4. A Bookish Space: You know, I have the same dilemma and thought to maybe sell my other cpoies or give them away to a charity and - slowly - build up my collection...

    Clarity, let me write a letter to you...crossing the atlantic on winged airmail letters...
    It is wonderful to be in tune!
    And of course I will check out those letters you've named.
    Did you see my post on letters? I mention a few other very interesting books filled with great correspondence!
    Khulood, I agree, movies can be a let down, but I have had many great expiriences...


  5. i adore fabulous book covers and of course what is inside... lovely post and i am happy to have found your blog... have a great weekend x pam

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  7. I love pretty covers and reading too.
    Happy Winter Break!

  8. I love Tess! I remember devouring the book in just a few days back in high school. Enjoy!

  9. Hello Victoria! These indeed are beautiful books. I have seen these at Antropolgie and haven't picked one up yet...I need so many other things. I love the story of Tess also. I think that is a great first pick to start your you know, I am obsessed by that period in time...

    Have a Happy Valentine's Day too!

  10. Hi Victoria, I loved read too, and these cover's book are cosy.
    Have a nice weekend

  11. Those are beautiful covers! I love books, new and old. My favorite part is smelling them (and sometimes I'm unlucky enough to inhale some dust).


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