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What Folio Society books do you want on your bookshelf? Do you own one already? Let me know in the c

  • Clock Work Orange

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DrinkMicro

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Original Article: http://drinkmicro.com/2015/09/03/5-folio-society-books-i-want-now/

I love books, I don’t think I always have, but ever since having my own space I’ve enjoyed having their presence in my room. I think there’s something comforting of having some of your favorite literary works surrounding you, knowing at any second I can flip open books like The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky orDeath of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and find their words of wisdom, comfort, caution, and poetry is such a relief.

With my love for books, I came across the Folio Society, if you haven’t heard about the Folio Society yet you really need to take a look at their website www.foliosociety.com.

Founded in London in 1947, The Folio Society publishes carefully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature. [They] believe that great books deserve to be presented in a form worthy of their contents. For nearly 70 years [they] have celebrated the unique joy to be derived from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition.

Beautifully crafted, imaginative editions of the world’s great works of fiction and non-fiction, Folio Society books offer a rich literary experience to readers of all ages. The books [they] select for publication are timeless – [they] know they will be enjoyed and appreciated now and in the future. Because each book is considered as an individual object of value in its own right, there is a variety to [their] aesthetic – the only uniformity is in the quality of every single book.

If I could, I would own so many of the Folio Society’s catalogue myself, but being in my early 20’s doesn’t allow such luxuries, so I decided to tide me over I would make a list of 5 Folio Society books that I want I to have in my collection the most:

Header Image Credit: bespokeoffers.co.uk

1. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

Image Credit: foliosociety.com

Synopsis: ‘Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.’ So says the prison chaplain, perhaps the only voice of reason in Anthony Burgess’s most celebrated work. Both a horrific satire of youth culture and an ingenious examination of social justice and government control, A Clockwork Orange has left an indelible, boot-shaped mark on the popular and literary culture of the late 20th century. Stanley Kubrick’s notorious 1971 film — with its iconic imagery and enduring controversies — has overshadowed a work whose philosophical paradoxes and astonishing linguistic invention are some of literature’s most inspired.

Alex, ‘Your Humble Narrator’, and his droogs terrorise a nightmarish London of the near future. He describes his life of ‘britvas’ (razors) and ‘twenty- to-one’ (fun / gang violence) in Nadsat, an idiom fusing Cockney rhyming slang, corrupted Russian and invented polyglot constructions. The language is spellbinding, often Joycean: ‘trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed’. As introducer Irvine Welsh writes, ‘the “Nadsat” spoken by Alex does more than draw readers to admire his linguistic craft: it compels them to traverse the mechanics of their own
comprehension’.

Introduced By: Irvine Welsh

Illustrator: Ben Jones

Price: $59.95

My Thoughts on the Book: I’ve loved Kubrick since my college days, which isn’t too much to boast about seeing as I’m only in my early 20’s. During one of my Psychology classes my professor warned us not to watch Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange if we were squeamish. Naturally I was intrigued, and after sitting through the film, I didn’t quite feel like myself for a few weeks. So too does the book make the reader feel, uncomfortable yet intrigued. When I first started reading A Clockwork Orange I thought to myself “I don’t understand a word of this.” But by the third chapter the Nadsat set in and I hardly noticed it was there. It was a very rewarding and disturbing read.

2. Lord of the Flies – William Golding


Image Credit: foliosociety.com

Synopsis: Following a plane crash, a group of schoolboys is left marooned on a tropical island. Their initial attempts at co-operation soon flounder and, as the veneer of civilisation wears away, their primitive instincts are unleashed, with horrifying consequences. In the 19th-century novel The Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne, this same scenario – boys on an uninhabited island – was portrayed as a wholesome adventure. In the hands of Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding, it becomes a powerful and disturbing tale of the dark side of human nature.

Introduced By: Ian McEwan

Illustrator: Sam Weber

Price: $62.95

My Thoughts on the Book: Most people read The Lord of the Flies sometime during their highschool career, I was not so lucky. This isn’t to say I wasn’t introduced to some great novels in my young age, but I do wonder why The Lord of the Flies, among others, didn’t make the cut. It was during a time when I lived in my own apartment that I first read The Lord of the Flies, and it was relatable, not because I was stranded on an island, but because I was surrounded by people in my apartment, but yet felt completely isolated. So too does Piggy, one of the characters in Golding’s tale, and for that reason this haunting look at humanity seemed to hit me hard, and for that I’m grateful.

3. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Image Credit: foliosociety.com

Synopsis: On its first publication in 1925, The Great Gatsby was largely dismissed as a light satire on Jazz Age follies. Today, it is acknowledged as a masterpiece: a love story, an exploration of the American dream and arguably the greatest American novel of the 20th century. Narrator Nick Carraway tells the story of his neighbour Jay Gatsby, whose parties at his Long Island mansion are as lavish as his past is mysterious. Yet Gatsby cares only for one of his guests: his lost love Daisy Buchanan, now married and living across the bay. In Fitzgerald’s hands, this deceptively simple story becomes a near-perfect work of art, told in hauntingly beautiful prose.

Introduced By: Michael Dirda

Illustrator: Sam Wolfe Connelly

Price: $53.95

My Thoughts on the Book: Of the assigned reading material throughout highschool, The Great Gatsbywas my favorite. There is something about the immaturity of Gatsby and his determination to acquire the girl of his dreams that translates well to highschool students, I think because at this age most of us long for love but don’t know how to go about receiving it. The Great Gatsby is a beautiful tragedy set in the roaring 20’s, a tragedy in which I’ll be forever humbled that I got to experience at a young age.

4. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell


Image Credit: foliosociety.com

Synopsis: Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth — or Minitrue as it is called in Newspeak — altering newspapers and reports to follow the arbitrary dictates of Big Brother’s propaganda. Beneath his outward conformity, Winston dreams of sharing his treasonable thoughts, breaking ‘the locked loneliness in which one had to live’. And so he takes his first dangerous steps — writing a diary of his doubts and then falling in love with a woman of the Party, the beautiful and brave Julia. They know their love is doomed, but Julia swears ‘They can make you say anything — anything — but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you.’ In Oceania, however, there is no possibility of solidarity, rebellion or love, and the Party can get anywhere.

Introduced By: Alan Rusbridger

Illustrator: Jonathan Burton

Price: $67.95

My Thoughts on the Book: Nineteen Eighty Four includes, by far, the strangest romance I’ve ever read, so strange in fact I don’t know if I would even refer to it as a romance. Julia’s and Winston’s relationship is an act of rebellion, it’s a way to prove that they still belong to themselves, not to each other, their freedoms been extracted from them so much that I would argue they use one another as a way to rebel.Nineteen Eighty Four is disturbing, because it’s realistic, I could picture every scene clearly and it scared me a bit. Nobody is free from feeling unnerved whilst reading Orwell’s Dystopia, just as his characters feel throughout their existence.

5. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote


Image Credit: foliosociety.com

Synopsis: On the morning of Sunday, 15 November 1959, two teenage girls went to River Valley Farm in Holcomb, Kansas, the home of their friend Nancy Clutter. They found Nancy lying on her bed, shot in the back of the head with a shotgun, her bedroom wall spattered with blood. Her mother, Bonnie, was also dead, her hands tied together and her mouth taped with adhesive. In the basement, her father Herb’s throat had been slit; her brother, Kenyon, had been gagged and bound and shot in the face. The telephone line had been disconnected. Forty dollars in cash was missing.

Introduced By: Rupert Thomson

Price: $56.95

My Thoughts on the Book: I first became aware of In Cold Blood by the film Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman (R.I.P.) as Truman himself. I was more than intrigued by reading the novel after watching the film based around how it was written. I received a copy of In Cold Blood for my birthday and read through it in a week or so. I was impressed with Capote’s ability to build suspense, as masterfully as Hitchcock, while still creating in-depth characters, as intriguing as Kubrick’s. In Cold Blood is haunting, not because of the monster, but because of the humanity that lives inside the monster.
 
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