Posts tagged persephone
Posts tagged persephone
If you are a bookworm, and you care about the aesthetics of things generally, then you must must must take a look at Persephone Books. This publishing house is really rather special. Located in Lambs Conduit Street in WC1, the home of many quirky independent retailers (Ben Pentreath, the People’s Supermarket etc), this independent publisher specialises in forgotten literature which they believe needs championing and bringing back to life. They are mostly novels by women, and I suppose for women, dating from the early to mid 20th Century.
Don’t worry though, you do not need to be a raging feminist to enjoy their titles. Their mission is that the books will be “readable, thought provoking and impossible to forget”.
In a Guardian interview a few years ago the founder, Nicola Beauman, put it well, “I’m definitely not a radical feminist,” she says. “Most people think of feminism as being much more strident and outspoken, and, although I don’t want to make myself sound incredibly wet, I’m not really interested in that because I find it unrealistic. It’s not how the majority of women lead their lives. The majority of women do have children and do cook, but they also lead modern, interesting, full lives.” Well said.
What first atttracted me was the wonderfully simple dove grey covers. So chic. Impossible to forget indeed. The great surprise when you open the cover of every book is the endpaper (yes that is why there are random pics attached through this post).
Using fabrics to suit the mood of each book they are delightful in their stylish simplicity.
It was hard to choose my first two. Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins had a great review and is my new daughter’s name. Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple my second. Between ordering and them arriving I bought another on ebay, about which more below.
I cannot wait to read these two books but until I do they are tantalising on my mantelpiece (they are too decorative to hide in my bookcase). You will see that as well as the gorgeous endpaper, you also get a matching bookmark. Such attention to detail and right up my street.
I am currently reading what is commonly considered the Classic Persephone Classic, Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple, the impatient ebay purchase.
You will see that this one does have a cover (the ten bestselling editions are not plain grey).
This is a simple tale but made compelling with amazing characterisation of a naive wife who lets a vampish french girl into the family home. As she fails to realise her previously devoted husband is falling for her charms you furiously turn the pages hoping she will wise up. It is great. But doesn’t it also help that the cover is so fantastic?
If you know a book lover pass this on, or buy them a truly amazing gift, a subscription of books. The lucky recipient will receive a book a month direct to their home. You can choose them in advance or have the book of the month. How special. Kindles have their place but this is what books are all about to me.