Books have always had a fetishistic quality to them, with their dusty secretiveness. Now, though, it feels like we’re living through a special moment in the history of book design and beautiful books are everywhere. Take George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo with its marmoreal endpapers or Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads, with its cover inspired by mosaic from the Imam mosque at Isfahan; Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, its sumptuous jacket inspired by the tiles of William Morris; 4th Estate’s gorgeous repackaging of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s backlist, based on vibrant African headwrap patterns; the glimmering Penguin Hardcover Classics reissue of the works of F Scott Fitzgerald, or its clothbound editions of Austen, Brontë and Dickens. It’s hard to know whether to read these books or caress them.
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