By Sammy Bina
Moving on, how many of you have heard of Penguin (as in the major publishing house)?
Okay, good. That looks like most of you.
How many of you have seen the Penguin Classics series that grace the shelves of your local bookstore?
Looking good. Still got your attention? Excellent. Now for the kicker:
How many of you have seen the covers for the Penguin Hardback Classics?
If you haven’t, then I’d like to direct you to the website of London-based designer, Coralie Bickford-Smith. She’s the genius behind these gorgeous covers, as well as numerous other Penguin series. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, feast your eyes:
You’re already imagining them on your bookshelf, aren’t you? That was my first reaction when I saw them, too. They’re beyond gorgeous, and really hearken back to the days of old, cloth-bound books. The fact that these ones are all classics adds to the experience. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m curled up with one of these on a chilly evening, a cup of cocoa in hand, I feel like I’ve been transported back in time. There’s something magical about a great book and a stunning cover. Coralie Bickford-Smith certainly helps with that. (I guess Jane Austin and Charles Dickens help, too.)
We all know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but I’m fairly certain many of us disregard the rule. I know I do. If I’m in Barnes & Noble and I see a gorgeous cover, I’m going to pick it up. Even if it isn’t something I’d usually read, there’s a good chance I’ll buy it. Certainly something so gorgeous on the outside has to be brilliant inside, right? (Take Beth Revis’ ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Stunning cover, awesome story.) Coralie Bickford-Smith’s covers are enticing. They make you want to pick up the book. Maybe even read it! In this day and age, where people are so worried about the book-pocalypse, it’s great to see people still turning out incredible looking books that encourage people to read. I’ll admit, I’m horribly under-read in the classics for someone who majored in creative writing, but these books have been remedying that problem at lightening speed. They’re a little hard to come by in the U.S., but Amazon sells them, and the almighty Book Depository has them in stock as well (and free shipping, too!). Stores like Urban Outfitters also carry them randomly.
So whether you just want your bookshelf to look sexy, or actually need a reason to pick up that book your high school English teacher suggested, now’s your chance. And you’ve got Coralie Bickford-Smith to thank for that.
Sammy Bina is finishing up her last semester of college as a creative writing major. She’s currently revising her YA dystopian, SILENCE, and is an intern for the Elaine P. English Literary Agency. You can follow her blog, or find her on twitter.