Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A woman, a book, a shop - Persephone

Is it just me or are there more beautiful editions of books in the UK than in the states? It's probably just me, but still, every time I walk into a book store I see at least four or five lust-inducing examples of the craft. And so, even though I really, truly, cannot fit any additional things into my suitcase, I am building up quite the little stacks of books I've bought.

I remembered/discovered that Persephone Books has their headquarters-shop here in London, and in quite a familiar part of town, too, so I wandered over one Saturday and wandered out £30 poorer but three books richer. I will post about the books themselves in due course, but this is a shallow post about surface appearances.

Visually, Persephone Books are "all carefully designed with a clear typeface, a dove-grey jacket, a 'fabric' endpaper and bookmark," to quote from the website. I'll admit that the first time I saw one, I was not impressed. Why can't the pretty fabric be on the outside?! It seems that the publishers decided against this because it would be "messy"; as any bookshelf containing books from many different publishers and editions will be "messy", this reasoning doesn't really go far with me. Nevertheless, after visiting the lovely little shop I am completely in love with this design. Seeing them all stacked up in their uniform covers, with the hint of riotous color just waiting to be revealed... swoon. It's very feminine, even more so than if the books were covered in floral print or something equally cliche. And of course the fabric-print endpapers are beautiful. 

I love the inclusion of a bookmark, too; it makes all the difference. A bookmark stuck into each book is a direct invitation to read the book. As much as I love pretty editions, they can sometimes lean into ornamental territory. The bookmark is wildly enticing.

Somehow my new admiration for these books tugged a whole lot of random things into line, and now I have a genius idea: I want to dress like a Persephone book. You heard. I want to buy fun, colorful printed fabrics and sew little sleeveless blouses and wear them with a grey skirt and cardigan. I've been a more-colors-the-better sort of dresser for the last six years or so, going so far as to ban black and grey from my wardrobe entirely. But now I have a sudden desire for a new direction.

Yes, that's more or less the thing.
As I say, I am actually reading the books I bought, so you will be hearing more about them as I get to them; but now (hopefully) you won't have to read any more gushing about their physical appearance!


  1. I love the IDEA of the Persephone bookshop, but I've come to realize that their books are Very Much Not what I read. With the whole bored housewife/stiff upper lip British thing. If it's British, it better be funny, or no dice.

    But I totes love your clothing idea, AND am envious of the fact you got to go INSIDE the Persephone shop. Take surreptitious photos.

  2. That's a seriously classy wardrobe inspiration...I can hear Tim Gunn saying something about how it can take you from work to cocktails with just a quick change of accessories.

    I'm really curious which books you bought, so get on with the explaining, if you please. And include pictures. Thank you, that is all.