If only someone would get these for me and make me a very happy girl!~ But this is my very own literary wishlist for Christmas, and something you can use if you are rushing for those last minute special gifts for your literary loved ones too~ : ) And as you can see from the selection, indeed I am feeling decadent this year.
1. Encyclopaedia of the Exquisite: An Ancedotal History of Elegant Designs
“A select showcase of the unusual, the piquant and the frankly bizarre, enthusiastically researched and displayed with élan. . . . There is plenty to enlighten even the most world-weary terrestrial, not least in the form of new angles on some of our most comfortable clichés.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Certainly one of the more unusual books you’ll come upon this season, the Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is an attractive compendium of literary sketches on unusual topics that appeal to one’s sense of fancy. Random, unexpected, charming—the alphabetized entries in this ‘History’ are the perfect addition to any lady’s bedside table this winter.”
—The Free Lance-Star
“I admit that it was the design of this book that first led me to pick it up; I was drawn to its unconventional, squarish trim size and glittering, red-etched cover. But, once it was in my hands, this odd, precious little object had me totally absorbed. . . . Jenkins has channeled her obsession into an idiosyncratic catalogue of the good things in life: hot-air ballooning, Champagne, top hats. Each item is explicated in a vignette just a few pages long, shaded with lovely observations.”
—The New Republic
“Encyclopedia of the Exquisite lives up to its unique premise . . . interesting and entertaining. [Jenkins takes] the reader on a fanciful tour. . . . Her goal is to assemble a collection that describes beauty of all kinds, interesting, affordable and, as collections of miscellany often are, eccentric. In this she succeeds, and Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is both attractive and addictive. It is certainly catnip for the trivia-besotted, but it also is a work that can easily be read in short bursts, and reread as the whim dictates. With its accompanying rich bibliography, it also provides an excellent starting point for the further pursuit of any of its myriad topics.”
—The Denver Post
2. Postcards from Penguin – I have written about these before, but I caught a glimpse of them yesterday from Rockstar, Cineleisure and they were absolutely gorgeous in person!
This is a collection of 100 postcards, each featuring a different and iconic Penguin book jacket. From classics to crime, here are over seventy years of quintessentially British design in one box. In 1935 Allen Lane stood on a platform at Exeter railway station, looking for a good book for the journey to London. His disappointment at the poor range of paperbacks on offer led him to found Penguin Books. The quality paperback had arrived. Declaring that ‘good design is no more expensive than bad’, Lane was adamant that his Penguin paperbacks should cost no more than a packet of cigarettes, but that they should always look distinctive. Ever since then, from their original – now world-famous – look featuring three bold horizontal stripes, through many different stylish, inventive and iconic cover designs, Penguin’s paperback jackets have been a constantly evolving part of Britain’s culture. And whether they’re for classics, crime, reference or prize-winning novels, they still follow Allen Lane’s original design mantra. Sometimes, you definitely should judge a book by its cover.
3. The Kindle – need I mention any more??
4. Café Society: Socialites, Patrons, and Artists 1920-1960
Aristocrats, millionaires, painters, fashion designers, choreographers, and musicians of the café society fox-trot aboard cruise liners and mingle at dazzling parties in Paris. Exclusive, extravagant, and beautiful, these cosmopolitan socialites were the patrons who galvanized the phenomenal success of the greatest creators of the early twentieth century. It was a whirlwind of sumptuously decorated villas and yachts, up-and-coming haute couture and jewelry designers, and elite evening parties, immortalized by fashion photographers like Cecil Beaton. Combining elegance and fantasy, the members of the café society enjoyed a sophisticated, avant-garde lifestyle. Some of the century’s most original talents—from Cole Porter to Yves Saint Laurent—stepped into the limelight via the café society. Through archival photographs and period documents, this volume recounts in historical detail the intrigue and impact generated around the world by this stylish jet-set.
Thierry Coudert contributed to the catalog for the exhibition Cartier 1899-1949: The Journey of a Style, staged at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 2007. A close friend of Alexis de Redé, he has a deep and abiding interest in the artistic and cosmopolitan world of the café society, and over the last ten years has assembled an important collection of archive documents on the subject.
5. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s embossed Penguin texts – see below!