Top books from the currently available collection (Spring 2023)

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Top books from the currently available collection (Spring 2023)

toukokuu 15, 10:43 am

Now that Folio Books cost an arm and a leg, one is inclined to be a bit more selective about buying them. We've had threads about the best Folio Society books of all time. But what would be your top two or three picks from among those currently available on the FS website?

I would single out The Call of Cthulhu as my favourite overall production. It's just a well-considered and beautifully put-together book. An honourable mention too for Kafka on the Shore, which is also a very nice book, and Rebecca, whose combination of production values and price represent great value for money.

I should attach the obvious disclaimer that I don't own the entire current collection; these are just my picks from the dozen or so from the current crop that I have.

toukokuu 15, 11:10 am

My pick from the ones available would be Master and Margarita. I agree on Kafka on the Shore (and feel like mentioning Dune).

toukokuu 15, 11:16 am

The Neverending Story might be the only current FS that would be considered a bargain, in my opinion. Its production value is tremendous.

toukokuu 15, 11:17 am

>2 bacchus.: Agreement on The Master and Margarita, and Dune is well-made too. On questions like this I frequently go to Outlaws of the Marsh and Mythical Beasts, both of which are delightful books and excellent productions.

toukokuu 15, 11:17 am

My top pick would be The Peloponnesian War LE.

toukokuu 15, 11:48 am

Agree with >1 ubiquitousuk: about Cthulhu. That one is special.

On the non-fiction side, Tomb of Tutankhamun. I have the earlier printing but besides the "updated" colophon and more subdued slipcase, I believe everything else is otherwise the same. Beautiful book.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 15, 12:40 pm

I find Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to be one of their better offerings at the $70 usd price point.

toukokuu 15, 12:34 pm

Love the design and slipcase on UBIK by PKD.

toukokuu 15, 12:52 pm

I've loved all printed slipcases (Dracula, Neverending Story, Lovecraft, Gaiman etc.) but they now feel soo cheap compared to that luxurious cloth slipcase (Middlemarch). 15 colour illustrations. Yess, thank you. Too bad about that shade of green.

toukokuu 15, 1:19 pm

>7 Geo135: Ralph Steadman is 87 today! I agree, - Fear and Loathing is almost a bargain at the current price. A triumph in every way, and the Abbey Pure Rough, more usually found on LEs, makes the illustrations pop. Roadside Picnic is another high quality production. Superb print design, and Dave McKean is always generous with his illustrations.

toukokuu 15, 2:31 pm

>9 HamburgerHelper: I have similar feelings about Middlemarch. It is indeed well-stacked with fitting illustrations and has a special slipcase. But I agree that the overall design falls a little short.

Glad to hear Fear and Loathing getting some attention as it's on my "to buy imminently" list.

toukokuu 15, 2:37 pm

Seconding the Fear and Loathing production. Nice thick paper, the splash of colour on Steadman's drawings is a perfect complement. Priced at the new 'low end'.

The Philip K Dick Selected Short Stories is another good one. They jammed the plums in there from the collected works LE and got an unusual amount of illustrations, having put everything from the LE into this book. A caveat is the unusually thin paper for Folio. It's not Bible thin but there's more bleed than you're used to. Then again it's 650 pages. The design is either funky to you or makes your eyes bleed.

My friend in book collecting has sung the praises of Neverending Story for some time now, but going by books I own I gotta hand the third place to The Road. McCarthy divides opinion sharply, but I love the terse poetic prose. The Road is a bleak nightmare with a faint ember of hope inside. The art captures that dusty wasteland feeling well and it's also priced at their 'cheap' end.

I guess there are two ways to tackle the question; which productions are the nicest and which books currently in print are the best. I split it down the middle, but I can see wildly different answers depending on which tack you take.

toukokuu 15, 2:43 pm

Lately? Kafka on the Shore, Neverending Story, The Godfather, Master and Margarita, Dracula. The Heyers are also fine.

An older one (still in print) that I consider a good value for money is The Odyssey.

toukokuu 15, 3:55 pm

Both Anansi Boys and Neverwhere are really well made, quite creative, too. Their Japanese tales are also above average, and The Wind in the Willows with illustrations by Charles van Sandwyk is an all-time favourite.

toukokuu 15, 4:05 pm

Any Le Guin books and Wolf Hall (don’t love the design but care much more for content).

toukokuu 15, 4:59 pm

>12 A.Godhelm: was there an introduction to The Road? Online it says an afterword so I’m assuming that’s it. I had read it years ago & liked it so I got Blood Meridian even after many comments here about the violence and figured I wasn’t too squeamish for it (boy was I wrong..) and thought that book could really use an introduction help provide context to the gratuitous violence that follows.

toukokuu 15, 5:04 pm

"Syria, The Desert and the Sown" is a great production. Lovely green cloth boards with a striking design, bound in Germany, with thick abbey rough pure paper. The subject matter is FS at it's finest in my opinion: Travelogue! Can't forget the fold out map as well.

toukokuu 15, 9:38 pm

Whilst American Gods is a little disappointing, Neverwhere, and outstandingly Anansi Boys, are wonderful versions of Gaiman books. I also like A Man on the Moon and Everest in non-fiction terms.

A Man On the Moon was the most expensive standard edition of a Folio book I’d ever purchased. Now with many more mundane single-volume books pushing £100 increasingly I’m reducing my purchases and the cost limits the wow factor!

toukokuu 15, 10:49 pm

>16 AlexBMcLeod: No introduction but a good afterword discussing how to place The Road - literary fiction vs genre fiction, and the 'stain' of the latter among the highbrow. The violence is definitely a recurring theme in McCarthy's novels, as is wrestling with the heavy topics; good and evil, life and death, god or no god. I'm not sure what an introduction to take the edge off that would really look like - and the struggle with the why is very much part of the work itself. You call it gratuitous but I don't think it is. I think it's central to the book & what readers struggle with is the ambiguity and lack of wrapping things up in a moral bow that justifies the horrors, which is where I suppose it seems gratuitous. Now obviously I'm a fan, but I'd suggest armwrestling it some more. There are quite a few critical readers on McCarthy's books if you want more context and discussion. Bloom's Modern Critical Reader has some good discussion.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 15, 10:56 pm

Excellent discussion topic! I appreciate hearing everyone's thoughts and seeing overlaps. I had fun browsing the Folio website from a hotel room on a work trip thinking about my response. Two categories stood out:

-Relatively reasonably priced cloth-bound late 20th century books with striking modern design and illustrations (perfectly suited to the material but maybe not to everyone’s taste) such as Nights at the Circus, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, A Walk in the Woods, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I enjoyed everything about these editions (content, design/layout, illustrations, materials) and they are definite keepers in my permanent space-limited collection.

-More expensive history editions with an extra volume of extraordinary photographs such as Aztecs, Anglo-Saxons, Tomb of Tutankhamun. Full disclosure that I haven't yet read Aztecs, but I find these productions worth the extra cost and hope to see more releases in this format.

toukokuu 16, 12:06 am

>19 A.Godhelm: Thanks for the response, I’ll definitely check out some more discussions - even you’re response would’ve been helpful to guide my reading before i started!

Onto the real topic, I’ve been really impressed by Dracula at its price

toukokuu 16, 1:37 am

Have really enjoyed this thread too. Thanks for the enablement.

I'm a big fan of the Breakfast at Tiffany's edition.

No love for The Bell Jar?

toukokuu 16, 4:09 am

Great discussion.

My picks would be Doctor Zhivago, Master and Margarita, and the Godfather, on the fiction side of things.

Everest is the clear stand out for non-fiction, but in terms of what is more affordable, I always love to pick up and flick through Dynasty for some reason. It doesn’t stand out for any particular reason, I just seem to gravitate to it.

toukokuu 16, 4:12 am

Of books I own I would pick Twelfth Night. I wish they would do all of Shakespeare in this format.

Tomb of Tutankhamun. Excellent production value.

John Wyndham set. I really like multiple volume sets from one author.

As a bonus: for airport fiction Killing Floor was really nicely made and a much better deal than Faceless Killers looks to be.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 16, 4:36 am

>24 PartTimeBookAddict: great point about Twelfth Night. I didn't think of it because I have the full letterpress version. But since we know the currently available version of Twelfth Night is really the letterpress edition in disguise (and with the Balbussos' work too boot), it's a real no-brainer even at full price. But the book has also been on sale, if I recall correctly, as low as £12.50, which is a positively disgusting bargain for a letterpress-printed, folio-sized volume on Zerkall mould-made paper. Those are private press specs for £12!!

toukokuu 16, 9:13 am

>20 jsavoy: "More expensive history editions with an extra volume of extraordinary photographs... I find these productions worth the extra cost and hope to see more releases in this format."

I really wish they had gone this route with "Pompeii." Like the Tutankhamun book it is a narrowly focused subject with lots of potential for a second volume (as anyone who has been to the National Museum in Naples or Pompeii itself can attest).

As is, the photos in Folio's Pompeii don't even track with the text, which is a shame since Beard is talking about a lot of specific houses or murals which are then usually not shown. Instead you mostly get a grab bag of general stock photos of artifacts or sites about as focused as the result of a "Pompeii" google image search.

toukokuu 16, 9:34 am

I second Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman which is a big step up from American Gods. I really enjoy the whole package but a standout is the numerous drawing motifs at the start of each chapter on the wonderful abbey pure paper.

Kafka on the shore is also impressive and I think the artwork compliments the text splendidly.

The Le Guins are excellent value for their price point being all bound in cloth and featuring artwork that suits. Le Guin even signed off on luptons artwork for Wizard of Earthsea capturing her vision. Another detail from those books which really enhance the reading experience compared to other versions is the fantastic map endpapers which is a great guide to flip to and trace along the journey.

(On a side note I was enabled a couple days ago from an old thread on the Riddley Walker LE on here and am very glad I was as it’s a wonderful edition especially for the price point compared to todays LE’s)

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 16, 10:08 am

Of those books/sets currently on the catalogue, I have only bought three direct from FS in the past few years, and, whilst pricey, they have a uniqueness that makes that price worthwhile. They are all excellent productions.

These are:
Syria, original title The Desert and the Sown (totally agree with >17 L.Bloom:)
A Man on the Moon
Shackleton's Antarctica

I've got a few others that are currently on the list, but whilst I really rate them, wouldn't be prepared to pay the prices currently being asked for them as almost invariably there is IMO better value elsewhere.

toukokuu 16, 12:41 pm

>3 AMindForeverVoyaging: The Neverending Story is indeed a very beautiful thing and, as you say, remarkably reasonable pricewise, comparatively speaking. But it was the 75th Anniversary volume so maybe they were being nice there.

The other one I would pick out, as others have, is Fear & Loathing. Totally unexpected and they did such a wonderful job with it.

toukokuu 16, 12:46 pm

>9 HamburgerHelper: 'I've loved all printed slipcases'

I think I've mentioned this before but Anansi Boys has a really nice textured slipcase. I don't know if they've done many others like that but it really added to the experience for me.

toukokuu 16, 12:52 pm

>22 Jeremy53: Some love here: I love The Bell Jar. Small and perfect.

toukokuu 16, 12:55 pm

>24 PartTimeBookAddict: 'Of books I own I would pick Twelfth Night. I wish they would do all of Shakespeare in this format.'

If you mean a Shakespeare series with the Balbussos, sign me up, please :-)

(Never gonna happen. Probably)

toukokuu 16, 2:21 pm

>32 Cat_of_Ulthar: Yes. A frontispiece. Letterpress and large size thin volumes. I would dedicate a shelf!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 16, 4:31 pm

I personally really like the edition of The Man In The High Castle, beautiful illustrations, cover with a combination of cloth and paper for a sharp design and the slipcase also has a minimal illustration.

toukokuu 16, 9:34 pm

>22 Jeremy53: Completely agree about Breakfast at Tiffany's-- a wonderful story and an exquisite production. Well worth picking up.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 17, 8:09 am

Why I'm a Folio fan (in spite of disappointments like Monkey with its old translation and abridgement, and Clockwork Orange now lacking the original 'crocodile skin' binding): SPQR (possibly Folio's most impressive single volume edition at the moment), Philip K. Dick short stories (much prefer this SE to the cumbersome LE), Man on the Moon, Europe, the Hitchhikers Guide series, the Tom Holland series, Man in the High Castle, Kafka on the Shore (Norwegian Wood less impressive lacking any introduction), Half of a Yellow Sun, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Behind the Wall (despite the plastic slipcase), The Bell Jar, The Colour Purple, Syria; all are beautifully designed with superb illustrations.

P.S. If I didn't find Lovecraft's writing execrable, I'd love Folio's edition of The Call of Cthulhu too.

toukokuu 17, 9:39 am

>24 PartTimeBookAddict:

It’s interesting you mention Twelfth Night. I ordered it at less than half price but still found it very disappointing, and I could understand why it was discounted for so long.

Ok, an oversized volume but little else to promote it. I’m probably missing something though!

toukokuu 17, 9:46 am

>36 cronshaw:
Yes, Philip K Dick’s short stories is a wonderful production, even though I found the earlier stories a far more enjoyable read than the latter.

I should have mentioned the three-volume Shackleton books although I thought the maps could be better.

Based on comments here I’ve ordered Syria and Wolf Hall as an out of sequence ill-considered purchase. The photos of Wolf Hall look incredible but we’ll see.

toukokuu 17, 12:33 pm

>1 ubiquitousuk: great thread!

My pick would be Italian Folktales. An important work in two nicely bound volumes with excellent illustrations, which are unusual and somewhat disturbing (in an appropriate way!). The slipcase is one of the sturdiest I have encountered with a FS book.

A lovely set for anyone with an interest in folktales, though the price has crept up a bit in recent times.

toukokuu 17, 1:40 pm

>14 SF-72:

Agreed on WitW. Just received it yesterday. FS really nailed this one. Can't recommend highly enough.

toukokuu 17, 2:27 pm

>37 pse1: Obviously you didn't get a copy with a $50 bill slipped in behind the colophon page.

toukokuu 17, 2:28 pm

>40 adriano77:

I actually got it as a membership gift, which was an excellent choice on their part. It really shows FS at their best.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 18, 9:55 am

>36 cronshaw:

Your claim about SPQR is at least plausible, but it would have to share its place with Judith Herrin's Byzantium, very much its twin: scholarly, lively writing style, lavish illustration, beautifully produced, the sort of book the FS still does in an unrivalled way.

I'd add Kafka on the Shore and Wolf Hall to Byzantium as my answer to the OP, but Shackleton, Gertrude Bell, Arendt and Nan Shepherd are just as good.

toukokuu 19, 5:42 am

>43 affle: Byzantium is definitely on my wish list. Dectto skip the Folio originally last year since I already have the Norwich Byzantium set, but have since concluded from online research that those books are more chatty than an actual description/analysis of the time.

toukokuu 19, 9:12 am

Need to second the earlier recommendation for PKD's Selected Stories. Wow -- this one just arrived yesterday and it's a large brick of a book with a stellar slipcase/book cover design, a flood of illustrations, and -- most significantly -- has an amazing book edge with these green psychedelic eyeballs. Was on the fence about this one, but very glad I took the plunge.

toukokuu 19, 4:37 pm

>39 GardenOfForkingPaths:

Agreed, excellent choice!

kesäkuu 25, 5:54 pm

My favorites are probably:
- Venetia by Georgette Heyer
- Jaws
- The Lost World
- The Velveteen Rabbit
- Both Murakami books
- Neverwhere and Anansi Boys
- All of the books written & illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk
- Roadside Picnic LE (I know a lot of people prefer to the core edition but I love the design & slipcase and the cloth binding!)
- The James Bond books (they're just so pleasant to read & I love the illustrations)
- Crooked House, Sparkling Cyanide, and The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
- The Murder on the Orient Express
- Black Panther
- The Postman Always Rings Twice

I uhhh clearly have not tried to limit myself lol.