Never Judge a Book by its Cover? Part 1.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

-Haruki Murakami

I have always been a great reader. Since a very early age I loved stories, and my father told some rather fantastical ones. I loved being transported to another world, to escape reality amongst words strung together by a stranger. It was a captivating idea to a young idealist. That someone out there had taken the time to weave together a story and the scene described was limited only by my imagination. When I was a kid, there was no question that every story I read was real. I remember very clearly reading a book about a boy who watched too much TV and his eyes turned square. Everything he saw became square, from his family to his fish fingers and peas he had for dinner. For a five-year old, to whom TV was very limited at that time, this was a terrifying book and I avoided any kind of screen for a good week after this revelation. Of course now I am very grown up and know it was just a story. But isn’t that the wonderful power of books, and why in an age of amazing movie graphics, constant new TV shows and unlimited internet, so many people have no given up on the written word. It allows us to use all of our imagination and pretend that the stories we are reading are real, if only for a moment. I often wonder why people get stories written about them. Why their particular story gets to be immortalized in print. And I figure it is because they did something, or experienced something that made them worthy of being put into story. I know the characters, places and situations are imagined but they can still be more magical, more shocking and emotional than any TV show. Books hold such power. The fact that a mere arrangement of words can make you laugh or cry is amazing to me.

So that is why I pledge to read the written word. To never forget the stories of my childhood, to always be willing to be taken to new places, fall in love with new characters and let my imagination run wild. I could go on, but for now, I wish to share some beautiful books with you.

They say never judge a book by its cover, and while supremely good advice, there is no harm in collecting beautiful stories with covers.  I say, if you are going to invest in a good book, you should invest in a good cover. Being the aesthetically conscious weirdo that I am, I love a beautiful cover. I mainly invest this approach when buying classics. Here are a few of my favorite books, that are beautiful inside and out:

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Where Angels fear to Tread

Ahhh, E.M Forster. Most famously know for a Room with a View. He is truly a master at writing about Italy and all her beauty. My first real appreciation of his work was beside a canal on one of the islands surrounding Venice where we went for a day trip. The air was thick and heavy with heat and as we lay in the sun, one of our tutors read a passage to us from A Room with a View. It was lazy and lyrical. I half dozed, half drunk on the beautiful descriptions. This book, be warned, it tragically sad. I did not see it coming and got quiet angry. As with many of his other books, Forster captures beautifully the Italian culture but toys with your emotions all the while. But how beautiful is that font?!

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As Forster is the expert on Italian description, Fitzgerald is the master of 1920s New York. Of course. You know that. Oh Mr Fitzgerald. I admit, I am a little bit in love with him. Not many words I write could do justice to his work. I devoured The Great Gatsby and sobbed at the end for a good hour. A classic example of becoming too emotionally involved in a novel. I sheepishly admit I only bought this particular book today. I was wondering around the book  store and there, on one wall, were all the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald in the most beautiful covers I had ever seen. You are unable to tell but the title on this is very shiny gold and oh, oh its just heavenly. I had to have it. Its is his collection of short stories that really made his name. I cannot wait to delve into Tales of The Jazz Age, and age I sorely wish I was born it.

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Okay, this is honestly one of my all time favorite books. It is one of those books, you get angry about because you didn’t write it. I wish I had written this. It is both heartwarming and nail-biting. You are utterly confused but completely captivated. I cried, laughed and for a couple of days, my parents could not get my head out of this book. It is a story that surrounds you and seems to go on for ages but then you cannot believe it is over. It is the definition of magical. If you read one book in the next few months, make it the Night Circus. The description alone will have your jaw dropping and transport your imagination to so many places. And if you don’t fall in love with the leading man, I am sorry for you.

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Okay, this is a bit cheeky. But who wouldn’t want to have the dashing Robert Frost looking out at them from the cover of a poetry book? Originally I was introduced to this man as a topic of study for my English A level.  I quickly moved past the assigned poems and got caught up in all the others. On first read, his work is seemingly simple and perhaps boring. But the more you read and absorb, the more you understand the darker and highly sophisticated undertones of his poems. Suffering from depression most of his life, Robert Frost writes this hard topic by relating it somehow to things in nature. My favorite are: Desert Places and The Sound of Trees. Here is a little quote from the latter:

My feet tug at the floor, and my head sways to my shoulder. Sometimes when I watch trees sway, from the window or door. I shall set forth for somewhere, I shall make the reckless choice, some day when they are in voice and tossing so as to scare the white clouds over them on. I shall have less to say, But I shall be gone.”

Goosebumps. Might do a whole post on this charming and lets face it, very handsome poet.

These are just a few of my favorite authors and books. I am going to do another one in the near future if you guys enjoyed this one. Please say if you did.

Always Read the Printed Word

Anna

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