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Featured Books of the Month May 2024

Books of the Month April 2024


His Dark Materials Trilogy

The first books on this month’s list is a box set of His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman consisting of Northern Lights (1995; published as The Golden Compass in North America), The Subtle Knife (1997), and The Amber Spyglass (2000). Many will have seen the television series produced by HBO/BBC which was broadcast between November 2019 and February 2023.

The story follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes. The children’s adventures take them across time where they meet witches and armoured bears, fallen angels and soul-eating spectres that destroy the souls of adults to which children are immune, rendering the world empty of adults. The children travel to the land of the dead and in the end, the fate of both the living—and the dead—will rely on them.

This uniformly bound set by the folio society with illustrations by Peter Bailey would make a beautiful addition to any collection.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward FitzGerald

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his 1859 translation from Persian to English of a selection of quatrains (rubāʿiyāt) attributed to Omar Khayyam (1048–1131), dubbed “the Astronomer-Poet of Persia”.

This first version of Edward FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is one of the best-loved poems in the English language. With its exotic themes and its blend of melancholy and romance, it has seduced readers and inspired artists for many years.

Over the years the Folio Society have produced a number of versions of the poetry, we currently have 3 versions of the book ranging from 1973 – 2012 demonstrating how this book has stood the test of time and still remains ever popular today.

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

The Quiet American by Graham Greene set during the First Indochina War, The Quiet American is narrated by the cynical British journalist Thomas Fowler, who meets the young idealistic American agent Alden Pyle. The novel’s larger conflict is cantered on the French and American invasion of Vietnam, which is echoed microcosmically in the conflict that arises between Fowler and Pyle when they both fall in love with the same Vietnamese woman, Phuong.

The novel has received much attention due to its prediction of the outcome of the Vietnam War and subsequent American foreign policy since the 1950s. Greene portrays Pyle as so blinded by American exceptionalism that he cannot see the calamities he brings upon the Vietnamese.

The book uses Greene’s experiences as a war correspondent for The Times and Le Figaro in French Indochina 1951–1954. He was apparently inspired to write The Quiet American during October 1951 while driving back to Saigon from Ben Tre province, accompanied by an American aid worker who lectured him about finding a “third force in Vietnam”

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Featured Books of the Month April 2024

Books of the Month April 2024

I am Legend Richard Matheson

The first book on this month’s list is a beautiful limited edition version of Richard Matheson’s book I am Legend. This book was first published in 1954 and is a post-apocalyptic horror novel. Many of you will have seen its recent cinematic adaptation starring Will Smith however did you realise that the zombies roaming the streets at night are vampires?

The story concerns Robert Neville possibly the last surviving man on earth as he struggles to survive in a world where after a pandemic destroyed the human race turning the remaining survivors into vampires. The story tracks his survival as he battles his own daemons while roaming the streets in the day looking for supplies and answers to the pandemic. At night he locks himself away and prays for dawn when the streets are again free from the swarms of blood thirsty vampires.

This copy comes with signed limited edition artwork by Dave McKean, the book is leather bound, individually numbered and comes in its own unique slipcase. This is truly a wonderful version of this chilling story of survival against all the odds.

The Midnight Folk John Masefield

The Second book we have to share is The Midnight Folk by John Mansfield. This book is a fantasy story about a young boys quest to discover a treasure that stolen from his family.

Young Kay Harker is visited by great grandfather Aston Tirrold Harker who one night steps out of his portrait to tell him about the treasure. He is told the treasure is also saught by a covenant of witches, one of which is his governess Sylvia Daisy Pouncer.

Can Kay Harker find the treasure before the witches? Along the way he is helped by the midnight folk: creatures like Nibbins the cat and Rollicum Bitem Lightfoot the fox, and even his lost toys, who will join him on his dangerous quest.

This fantastic story has all of the ingredience to ignite the imagination of its reader, it includes pirates, witches, lost treasure and talking animals. Although written in 1927 the book has all of the ingredience of a modern Disney story and perfectly captures a child’s perspective, yet there is also plenty of humour that adults will appreciate too.

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

In this astonishing collection, first published in 1979, familiar stories become seductive, enchanting and terrifying. In this collection the author Angela Carter deals with issues of feminism and although each particular narrative deals with a different set of characters, the ‘oppressed female seeking liberation’ is a common theme and concept that is explored throughout the collection

In the title story, Bluebeard is a sado-masochist who lures his inexperienced bride to his castle on the coast of Brittany – but is defeated by a most unexpected adversary. Subversive twists abound: in ‘The Werewolf’, a retelling of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, a girl hacks off a wolf’s paw, only to find it turning into a warty, withered old hand that she recognises as her grandmother’s. Carter’s women are more likely to outwit their attackers than fall prey to them – as the heroine of ‘The Company of Wolves’ puts it, ‘she knew she was nobody’s meat’.

In this particular book the artist Igor Karash won the second House of Illustration/Folio Society Illustration Award for his work.