Weekend Wonderings and a Folio Society Giveaway!

It’s book time again, readers, bookworms, friends.

Up this week is the beautiful, magical Folio Society – purveyor of “beautiful, illustrated books”.  I warn you now, this post is going to be scattered throughout with books whose covers make me catch my breath.  All images are from the Folio Society website.

Now, I know what you lot are like.  Try to finish reading the post before you belt on over  to  the website, okay?  We have a beautiful diary to give away, and an are featuring some gift wrap that will send all book nerds into spasms of excitement.

Animal Farm, by George Orwell.  Containing 27 illustrations by Quentin Blake.

In the words of the lovely Becky, who works for The Folio Society (I KNOW.  They didn’t give me that option in Year 9 Careers Advice): “The Folio Society brings together a worldwide community of booklovers who appreciate the quality and craftsmanship of fine editions. They have long been a haven for the eclectic and open-minded reader, providing a real depth both within and across genres.

The Folio Society has been dedicated to publishing high quality, affordable editions of the world’s greatest books for over 60 years, with the belief that the literary content of a book should be matched in its physical form.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, bound in full cloth and introduced by Albert French

“Beautifully designed, elegantly typeset on the highest quality paper and packed with exclusively commissioned illustrations to bring the text to vibrant life, there’s a beautiful Folio Society book for everyone. With unique editions of well-loved titles including Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master And Margarita, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.”

The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Now this is something for all you stationery lovers.  Currently, The Folio Society are branching out from their well-known illustrations to produce a range of luxurious wrapping paper and gift tags.

Can you imagine how it would feel to receive a present wrapped up in this?


There’s also some beautiful Christmas gifts, the best of the bunch being The Midnight Folk.  Look, just look at that cover.  And whilst it may be in the children’s section, this is the sort of book that adults would read, swallow, in one satisfying gulp.  Just read the blurb…

The Midnight Folk by John Masefield

“Young Kay Harker lives in an old house in the country, filled with portraits of his ancestors. His only companions are his unpleasant guardian Sir Theopompus and his governess Sylvia Daisy Pouncer (who, Kay suspects, has stolen all his toys). Life is lonely and dull, until one night Kay’s great-grandpapa Harker, a sea captain, steps out of his portrait to tell him about a stolen treasure that belongs to Kay’s family. The evil Abner Brown is searching for it too, but Kay 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.  

The Midnight Folk is a feast of imaginative story-telling, a glorious cornucopia of pirates and witches, lost treasure and talking animals. Although it was published in 1927, it evokes an older world: houses are lit by oil lamps, and travel is by horse, carriage – or broomstick. Masefield perfectly captures a child’s perspective, from the terrors of tigers under the bed to the horrors of declining a Latin adjective. Yet there is also plenty of humour that adults will appreciate, from Miss Piney Trigger, who swigs champagne in bed and prides herself on having backed a host of Derby winners, to Kay’s lessons: ‘Divinity was easy, as it was about Noah’s Ark. French was fairly easy, as it was about the cats of the daughter of the gardener.’ This mingling of past and present, reality and fantasy, has made this one of the most rewarding and influential children’s books ever written.”

2013 Diary Giveaway!

Readers, do you have your 2013 diaries yet?  I ask because I trust, I know, that there are still some of you that use a written diary.  I do.

Folio have generously offered to give away this beautiful diary.  All you have to do to win is leave a comment linking us to your favourite Folio Society book.  It could be for the story, for the cover, or for another reason entirely.  The winner will be chosen by random.  Entries close at midnight on 7 December.

Get searching, and good luck!

PS – my favourite, and my entry IF ONLY I COULD ENTER?  Metamorphosis.  I battled with Kafka throughout my time at University, and it truly was a war.  It is only now, ten years on, that I can read Kafka and appreciate his genius without wanting to throw the book out of the window in frustration.  That’s growing up.

Metamorphosis and Other Stories, by Franz Kafka


Categories: Books, Weekend Wonderings, Written By Anna
19 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Oh wow what a find! Why have i never heard of this before?
    That diary looks divine.
    I’d love to order the entire works of J R R Tolkien, mainly because I’ve got my dad’s copies of The Hobbit and Lord of the rings and the pages are now falling out they have been loved so much. Also, I’ve never read The Silmarrillion and think I should! every bookcase deserves the entire set no?


  2. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Lovely, lovely books. Thanks for showing it to us.
    There are many books I would like to pick, but if I have to choose one that will be Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales
    His fairy tales mean so much to me, they are deep and simple, and magical and full of meaning all at the same time. and when I found ot that this book is a facsimile from the original 1913 edition, with beautiful illustrations from the time, I was sold.

  3. Mahj
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Wow, this is an amazing giveaway. After mooching (possibly for too long) on their website, I found this book which I’d forgotten all about: http://www.foliosociety.com/book/WKD/what-katy-did

    What Katy Did was read to me and my class when I was about 8 or 9 in school and I loved it. I wanted to be Katy. I loved the way it was written, it was rich in detail and so family orientated. It also made me slightly terrified of swings!

    Whoever wins this diary will be a very lucky lady.


  4. Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    So many wonderful books to choose from! I just lost a big chunk of time browsing through the History section. Oh that more History books could be so beautifully presented! But the cover and the synopsis for Ivan Turgenev’s First Love intrigued me. http://www.foliosociety.com/book/FLV/first-love It sounds hopelessly romantic and the illustrations are just dreamy.

  5. Roz
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful website!! Will need to add some of these beauties to the home library :D How am I supposed to choose a favourite? Have had a big look and picked these http://www.foliosociety.com/book/POO/winnie-the-pooh I really love a number of the quotes taken from Winnie the Pooh but have never actually read them which I think I need to fix!!

  6. Emily
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow, as someone with a book obsession to the point my long-suffering other half regularly asks me to put them down and talk to him, the website is a dangerous find. I started browsing the art and music section and was tempted by History of Western Music, one of the first books purchased for my Music degree at Durham. A lot of happy memories attached to that one.

    But then I had a quick peek in the children’s section and found http://www.foliosociety.com/book/POO/winnie-the-pooh
    Winnie-the-Pooh was my absolute favourite throughout my childhood. Still is now. The stories are funny and charming and I can flick through those illustrations again and again. I had audio books read by Alan Bennett when I was little and he is Winnie-the-Pooh for me. My paperback copies that belonged to. my dad are falling apart a bit but I will treasure them until I have children of my own.

    Also, I am very disorganised unless I write absolutely everything down so a diary would be a very sensible thing for me to win!

  7. Frances
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    So so many beautiful books! I had forgotten about What Katy Did, I loved that book at primary school. Everyone should own Winnie-the-Pooh and Paddington, they are such simple but wonderful stories. I might have to improve the family library a little now…

    I would pick Dracula as (one of many) a favourite book – I wouldn’t watch horror films but Dracula is deliciously creepy, of the gothic era where writing is so beautifully scene-setting and cinematic that an actual film wouldn’t do the book justice. I would stay up late reading it when alone in the house, then turn the light off and suddenly be a bit scared. A brilliant book.

  8. Leah
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    My favorite is Touching the Void. Great story and great illustrations.

  9. Posted December 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    wow…. so I just lost about an hour to book browsing and you’ve set an impossible task! One favourite? impossible.

    But LOOK at the illustrations in Pinocchio http://www.foliosociety.com/book/PNC/pinocchio

    Incredibly beautiful. I’m choosing that one just because reading it to George would be the best thing ever.

  10. Carol
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    What an impossible decision but at a push I’d have to go for the chronicles of narnia http://www.foliosociety.com/book/NAR/chronicles-of-narnia although the complete works of Beatrix potter would be a close second.

  11. Yanthé
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink


    Wind In The Willows would be my pick. Although I could easily have picked The Chronicles of Narnia or Pinocchio or Winne The Pooh too, all because they take me back to my childhood, when I’d take 7 books out of the library every Saturday! Oh to have the time to read 7 books in a week now!

  12. Cat B
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Such a lovely post – you’ve pretty much sorted all my outstanding Christmas presents and how gorgeous is their wrapping paper?
    It’s a toughie but I’m going for a children’s book – http://www.foliosociety.com/book/WWZ/wonderful-wizard-of-oz
    Poppet will be induced in 2 weeks time and I cannot wait to share with her my love of books. The Wizard of Oz is one of my favourite films and I can’t wait to read this with her when she’s older and for her to treasure her copy when she’s older. I’d love her to grow up truly knowing and believing the sentiment ‘There’s no place like home’. xx

  13. Posted December 3, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I’m not entering the competition (I was lucky enough to win a beautiful FS book earlier in the year!) but Midnight Folk really is splendid – I bought it for my friend’s birthday last year. It’s the prequel to Box of Delights.

  14. Posted December 3, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love the Folio Society and have been lusting over many of their books. The one I really really want though (and have had on my Christmas list since earlier in the year) is The Handmaid’s Tale (http://www.foliosociety.com/book/HDT/handmaids-tale). It’s one of my favourite books, and the illustrations feel like they match my own imagining of the book – plus, it’s always wonderful to have really special copies of my favourite books.
    Must step away from the beautiful books now…

  15. Lara Blue
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Okay, so I am going to cheat here and preface each choice with a qualifier….
    If money was no object, I’d get this beautiful beautiful version of the Faerie Queen with amazing illustrations by Walter Crane: http://www.foliosociety.com/book/TFQ/faerie-queene

    If I was buying anything from the website now, it would be this: http://www.foliosociety.com/book/DZ22/fairy-tales-collection because I have a soft spot for fairytales, it’s great value and you get Wind in the Willows too! Unfortunately, I couldn’t commit to buying 4 other books to get membership and the deal.

    I’d love to own these sets at some point: http://www.foliosociety.com/book/NAR/chronicles-of-narnia and http://www.foliosociety.com/book/NS1/adventures-of-the-treasure-seekers

    But if I had to get one book….it would be the Secret Garden as a childhood favourite: http://www.foliosociety.com/book/SGN/secret-garden or the Midnight Folk (http://www.foliosociety.com/book/MDF/midnight-folk) because it looks wonderful!

  16. Karen Scammell
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Drawn From Paradise

  17. Crysta
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    So many books to choose from! While I would love Charlotte’s Webb, or one of the fairy tale books, or the Secret Garden (like Lara, it’s probably my favourite childhood book), I would chose this one:


    I love the Just So Stories. The book looks stunning and the illustrations are wonderful!

    Posted February 4, 2017 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Oh, what joy to find this website so many years after you published this page!!! I was so thrilled to see one of my all-time favourite childhood books, being The Midnight Folk, featured here!! I read it almost 50 years ago when still in primary school, and I have never forgotten it!! The other one by Masefield which I remember with the same passion is The Box Of Delights. As you say, these can be read and absorbed so readily as an adult, with the same sense of magical escape as when I was a child! I have recently managed to find old copies of both, so that I may do just that!

    My thanks for taking me on a wonderful journey through bookland, and many warm smiles, \
    Julie in North Queensland, Australia

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  • By Weekend Wonderings on January 5, 2013 at 7:02 am

    [...] things first…last December we ran a Folio Society Giveaway…where the lucky winner would win a 2013 diary…and the winner is…Laura [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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