Gifting a book by its cover: Christmas gifts as heirlooms


F Scott Fitzgerald novels designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith for Penguin

In a recent article in the Guardian, Stuart Walton asks: “Do books furnish a room, as Anthony Powell’s Bagshaw insists? Or are they just a massive encumbrance?”.

It depends on the book, surely. Any designed by Coralie Beckford-Smith would add beauty and delight to any room.

Coralie designs for Penguin, and her books would make the most gorgeous Christmas presents. You would hardly need to wrap these F. Scott Fitzgerald novels — think how beautiful they’d look under the Christmas tree, tied with just a silver or gold ribbon and gift tag.

F Scott Fitzgerald Tender is the Night, designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith (front)F Scott Fitzgerald Tender is the Night, designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Under their dust jackets, they’re elegantly simple — these are books you’d want to keep forever.

Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", Dante's "Inferno"

On a more seasonal note, Coralie has also designed the Penguin Clothbound Classics version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.

Dante’s “Inferno” might seem less apt as a Christmas gift, but if you celebrate the Epiphany (when in Italy the Befana does her rounds) it would make a good (and less messy) stand-in for a lump of coal, albeit a very nice present indeed for someone whose behaviour has been less than perfect.

You can see more of Coralie’s books, and other lovely gift ideas (including a canvas book-bag), on Penguin’s Christmas Gifts page.

By Marian Dougan

4 Responses

  1. Wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing. My business gift this year became classical Swedish Christmas songs played by a Swedish Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy the holidays!

  2. The covers are beautiful, indeed. But I noticed one more feature which makes them so cool and popular: each spine, except for a title, has a unique graphic design, making it easy to distinguish from the other books. It shortens the time of searching for the right book on a shelf.

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