SALT LAKE CITY — (KUTV) Last year I discovered The Folio Society, a British publishing house that releases gorgeous illustrated hardcover editions of classic and contemporary novels. We're living in an exciting age where you can carry a library's worth of books in your pocket, but there's no replacing the experience of sitting down with a physical copy of a story. The Folio Society used to operate a bookstore in London, but now you'll need to head to their website to purchase a copy of these wonderful editions. If you know someone who loves books, here is a sampling of some of the publisher's releases from the past few months. You'll be surprised by the diversity.
Originally published in 1960, "Night" is Elie Wiesel's remembrance of life as a teenager in the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. "Night," along with Wiesel's play "The Trial of God," have long been my touchstones to understanding the horrors of World War II through the eyes of those who experienced them firsthand. This edition includes illustrations by survivors and witnesses.
"The Seasons: The Complete Folio Anthologies" features four books of prose, poetry and diary entries dedicated to each of the four seasons. The set includes works by the likes of Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Toni Morrison, Anton Chekhov and Bill Bryson. I've always fancied fall, but these varied perspectives on the seasons has me looking back at the wonder and the beauty that exists in all times of the year. You just need to know where to look for it. Each volume is illustrated by Petra Börner, a Swedish artist working out of London.
Ian Fleming's "Diamonds Are Forever" might initially seem a little out of place, but when you consider Fleming's influence on cinema, the spy genre and British culture in general it shouldn't surprise you that this is the sixth of Fleming's James Bond titles to be included in the Folio Society's collection, all illustrated by Fay Dalton. This particular thriller finds Bond acting under the guise of a diamond smuggler in hopes of learning who is stealing millions of dollars from Sierra Leone's mines.
Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty," a narrative told from the perspective of the titular horse, is often characterized as a children's book.It certainly appeals to young audiences, but Sewell's narrative is a rich exploration of kindness and understanding that we all can learn from. Sadly, this is Sewell's only published novel.
A young shepherd dreams of finding riches in the pyramids of Egypt in Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist." Featuring illustrations by Jesús Cisneros and an afterword from Coelho that traces the success of his allegorical novel.
Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy ("The Golden Compass," "The Subtle Knife" and "The Amber Spyglass") is a literary epic that closely resembles the layered writing of C. S. Lewis. Pullman's narrative comes from a much different place, but the magic, wonder and the delightful Lyra Belacqua, the story's 12-year-old protagonist, make this tale of freedom and choice essential reading for young and old alike.
"The Folio Book of Children's Poetry" features an embarrassing amount of talent with poems from the likes of Lewis Carroll, A. A. Milne, Roald Dahl, Walt Whitman, Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Hardy, Robert Burns and John Keats. Lesley Barns provides 54 fanciful color illustrations. As a bonus, the cover and slipcase glow in the dark. A little bit of magic to go along with the fantasy of the writing.
"How to See Fairies" is a collection of stories rife with imagination and whimsy. Author/illustrator Charles van Sandwyk introduces an imaginary world of fairies that is so convincingly detailed that you'd be forgiven for believing that it could be true. Sandwyk's "The Fairies' Christmas" is particularly timely.
When I saw Paul Verhoeven's insanely camp cinematic adaptation of "Starship Troopers" I had no idea that it was based on a novel. It's shameful to admit, but I didn't know anything about Robert Anson Heinlein, a beloved American science-fiction writer who, along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, defined an era that saw genre writing gain wider respect. Heinlein might have been writing about space marines, but buried beneath the mayhem and giant bugs is a scathing critique of society that still feels frighteningly relevant today.