“Persephone Books reprints neglected classics by C20th (mostly women) writers. Each one in our collection of 96 books is intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written.”
As you know I love to sit in my boudoir reading. Some of you may have noticed the uniform grey bindings of the books on the shelves just behind my chair.
Persephone Books produce the most beautiful books, ever – totally thought through with care from beginning to end – from the simple grey covers to the endpapers to the quality paper and print to the Forewords and Afterwords written by well-known authors and others relevant to each book’s content or its provenance.
Each book comes complete with its own bookmark.
As long as you keep buying the books – is that a problem? – they send out a lovely printed newsletter “The Persephone Biannually” free of charge twice a year. In the past it was “The Persephone Quarterly” and so I have to wait a bit longer these days for my new copy to arrive – Spring/Summer in April and Autumn/Winter in October. The Biannually is always accompanied by a new bookmark.
If you request a copy they’ll also send you their latest annual catalogue. Generally this is published to coincide with the Autumn/Winter magazine.
The publishers operate from their own shop premises in Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury which are a delight to visit. Besides their own books they sell copies of the 50 books which they wish they had or wish they could publish and a selection of relevant secondhand titles too. Besides books there are some household textiles, some pottery, cards, postcards and their notebook for sale.
Not all of the books are fiction – there’s some cookery, a gardening book, a book about The Sack of Bath in the 1960s, personal memoirs, biography. I certainly don’t have them all. Books can be ordered online, bought from the shop and from good booksellers. For a small extra payment they’ll gift wrap any book. They make perfect presents.
To keep your interest, just in case it is beginning to wane between book publications, you can sign up for an online Persephone Post to drop into your Inbox every day – mine arrives about 9pm each evening. There is also an online book group forum with a new book under discussion each month and you can receive email offers occasionally.
Then there are the real live discussions, talks, films, tea parties and book groups – usually held in London but they have been known sometimes to travel out of town – even as far as Scotland – and once they even went to New York – to promote their wares and meet their customers.
And what’s best about them is that it was through them that I joined my lovely online reading group of friends around the world in 2004. I have met many of the members, mainly in the UK and mainly in London but also in Stratford upon Avon, Edinburgh, Berlin, Potsdam, Chicago and Massachusetts!
What’s my next Persephone read? In the new year I’ll be reading, along with the group, the latest Dorothy Whipple book to be republished in a smart grey cover – Greenbanks PB95. I already had an ‘original’ copy of the book!