New Year, New Books

5 min read

In celebration of the New Year, we’ve selected a list of ten new books from our online store. With beautiful, hardback covers, these volumes are not only classics but also collectibles that would make a wonderful addition to any bookshelf. 

Penguin Clothbound Classics 

Almost all the books on this list, with the exception of Jane Austen’sEmma, have been created by the award-winning designer Coralie Bickford-Smith. Smith bases her designs on the motifs and moods inherent within the stories themselves, using only two colours per book to bring the covers to life. With foil stamps and quality linen, the designs are wonderful tactile and compelling in their simplicity. 


Emma, Jane Austen (2019)



Chiltern Publishing delivers this beautifully designed classic, featuring an embossed cover with a vintage floral design. With tactile layers, fine details and faint iridescence, the cover is striking. The wit and charm of Jane Austen’s writing is certainly represented in its design. The story tells of Emma Woodhouse - rich, clever, beautiful, spoilt and vain. She sees no need for marriage herself but delights in meddling with the romances of others. Witty and charming, Emma is a strangely irresistible character whose captivating nature shines through onto the cover. 


The Jabberwocky, Lewis Caroll (2012)



 This bewitching poem first appeared in Lewis Caroll’s novel,Through the Looking Glass. It is a playful poem, comprised of nonsense verse. The use of imaginative words such as ‘slythy’ and ‘borogroves’ creates a certain linguistic ambiguity that adds to the mystical nature of the poem. The verse is further brought to life by the fantastic dragonesque creature that dances over the cover and into the mind of the reader. This beautifully designed volume, which also contains several other poems by Caroll, is well suited to the collector’s bookshelf.  



Middlemarch, George Elliot (2012) 



George Elliot’s famous novel tells of provincial life in a fictitious town named Middlemarch. The narrative weaves together several different plotlines, all covering major themes such as marriage, political reform, idealism, religion and education. Elliot delivers a series of raw truths, writing about the failure, discontent and humiliation faced by her various characters. The cover of this new volume, featuring a series of framed, 2D busts, represents the men and women of Elliot’s tale and the complex web of their intertwining lives. 




Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Poems, Thomas Hardy (2017)





Wessex Poemsis Thomas Hardy’s first poetry collection and contains a series of Dorset ballads, personal poems and verses set during the Napoleonic Wars. The publication of the collection in 1898 marked the arrival of a major new poetic voice. Hardy’s love of Wessex shines through in his poetry, despite the stark, unromantic quality of his verses. It is this style that spills out onto the cover, where Corlie Bickford-Smith uses dark colours to represent the bleak and unforgiving Dorset landscape. 





Tales from 1001 Nights, translated by Malcolm C. Lyons (2019)


The stunning cover of this book, with it’s ships, stars and towers, immediately transports the reader to a magical world. Many wonderful tales fill the pages, telling of mystical lands, voyages, magical spirits, love and jinnis in lamps. The stories are told by Shahrazad, the vizier’s daughter, in an attempt to stop the vengeful king from sleeping with a new virgin each night and killing her in the morning. This immersive and compelling volume, with its mystical clothbound cover, is a collectible worth owning. 




Black Beauty, Anna Sewell (2019)


The lilac cover board of this book, with a black horse at its centre, is truly enchanting. Surrounded by tumbling roses, the cover is reminiscent of a fairytale. Designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, it is bright and tactile and would look great on a collector’s bookshelf. The story itself is famous of course, telling of a strong spirited cold named Black Beauty. The tale explores Beauty’s loss of freedom to hard labour and cruelty and his determination to survive. It is a beautifully evocative and poignant story and Black Beauty’s powerful spirit sings from the cover. 




The Pearl, John Steinbeck (2014)


InThe pearl,John Steinbeck tells the tale of Kino, an Indian pearl-diver, and his discovery of ‘the pearl of the world’. The magic of this discovery soon turns to obsession, but Kino is blinded to the greed and fear aroused in him by the pearl. Steinbeck tells a powerful allegory, exploring love, friendship and the meaning of happiness. Designer Coralie Bickford-Smith once again uses her genius to draw the atmosphere of the story onto the cover. The dazzling pearls, resting in a sea of blue, represent the blinding beauty and deep darkness of Kino’s shimmering gem. 




A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (2012)


This intriguing novel follows the adventures of Ignatius J. Reilly, the overweight and fastidious hero of the story. Crusading against the modern age, his sporadic employment takes him from Levy Pants to the French Quarter and then to a hot dog wagon. Ignatius’ obsession with hot dogs spreads onto the cover, where Coralie Bickford-Smith’s mustard yellow hot dog stamps draw on the sloth and greed inherent in the story. The novel is a masterpiece of comedy and the aptly designed , tactile renders this edition a collectible for suitable for modern shelves. 




Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne (2017)


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is an epic work of science fiction. In the story, three men embark on an epic voyage, from the lost city of Atlantis to the Red Sea and South Pole. 

This new translation by David Coward brings the story to life once again. It is a triumphant tale of adventure and discovery, of limitless science and the darkness of the human minds. The dusky blue cover with its bright yellow jellyfish stamps represents the wonder of the natural world and the mystery of the deep ocean. Coralie Bickford-Smith once again creates a bright and enticing collectible edition. 




The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde (2012)


Hedonism, vanity and cruelty pulse through the pages of this classic book. The plot centres around Dorian Gray, a young man who exchanges his soul for eternal beauty and youth. In the public eye he is a gentleman, but behind closed doors he indulges his desires. The white peacock feathers that fan across the dark cover of this edition capture the essence of his superficial nature. Peacocks are known to eat poisonous plants without ill effect, thus making their feathers a symbol of immortality. The book is one of decadence and darkness, possessing the power to intrigue and disturb. 



The Collectibles 

The wonder of reading extends beyond the stories alone. Beautiful volumes such as those by Chiltern Publishing and Penguin can be read but also admired. 

So, if you would like to start a collection or add to an ever growing pile, take your pick from our stunning selection. The unique cover designs would look wonderful on any bookshelf. 


Explore all new books here.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Our Seasonal Book Selections

Summer romance - on holiday or at home
Summer romance - on holiday or at home

5 min read

list of romantic literature for you to fall in love with this summer.
Read More
'Anyone for Tennis?' - vintage books for summer sports
'Anyone for Tennis?' - vintage books for summer sports

4 min read

Popular sports and pastimes of the summer months, through the lens of vintage books.
Read More
Vintage books with inspirational outdoor food recipes
Vintage books with inspirational outdoor food recipes

3 min read

Some excellent vintage books for outdoor food recipes to try out this summer!
Read More