Posted on 26 February 2012 by Marie Stevens
The shocking news today about Marie Colvin’s death will have affected everyone who values accurate news reporting and admires the selfless bravery of those who bring it to us. If it is not too trite to say it, hers was a useful life in the broadest sense and we all gained knowledge and perspective from her unbiased, truthful and fearless articles.
Today I received an email from a respected political commentator, a giant in her field and friend and colleague of the famous. A recent brush with the medical profession caused her to comment that she wished she could do something “really useful” with her life, commending, as one so often hears, the kindness and empathy of the medical profession. And that from someone whose wisdom, intelligence and insightful writing have certainly been more than useful in shaping political strategy.
So being useful is perhaps what we all strive to be? And such a difficult concept of course.
Posted on 18 September 2011 by Marie Stevens
A really gratifying response to our new PB Couture Covers has made me look critically at the horrendous state of my own bookcases – I am not suggesting that I am the latest word in interior style but it would be very nice to have my sets colour coded (reveal as it would my obsession to read authors in their entirety in turn). For example – Richmal Crompton 31, E.M.Delafield 38, Noel Streatfeild 11, Elizabeth Taylor 13. There is a tremendous similarity in these authors of course – middle class domestic early 20th century – so to prove (to my children who find my focus somewhat odd) that I am not welded to second hand books I am taking time out from received English, Church attendance and nursery puddings to read Caitlin Moran’s brilliant new book, How to Be a Woman. I am only half way through it but can already highly recommend it for the stellar writing and wonderful, self deprecating humour.
Posted on 20 June 2011 by Marie Stevens
My mind has turned to honour this week as I finished a book I last read when I was around 16. I came across Stanley J. Weyman’s “Under the Red Robe” while hunting (as we do) in a second hand book shop and remembered how much I had enjoyed it. First published around the turn of the last century the action takes place in the time of the feared Cardinal Richelieu and his harsh suppression of the Huguenots and, apart from being a very good read, the book is a wonderful evocation of the codes of a time when honour was more important than life and a man’s “parole” could be relied upon. Although rarely read these days, the author was very popular 90 years ago and both Oscar Wilde and Graham Greene were fans. I now feel compelled to re-read other books of the same period (those wonderful Geste brothers beckon me again) although I am conscious that my reading seems to be going backwards in time and I shall have to get Sue to pull me back into the 21 century for fear I will be attempting to decipher illuminated manuscripts before too long (not to mention talking in a very strange way).
Posted on 11 April 2011 by Marie Stevens
Not surprisingly Sue and I are gripped by wedding fever this month – and not only THAT WEDDING! After weeks of just awful weather, suddenly spring (and possibly even summer judging by the amazing sunshine over the last few days) has arrived and along with it an almost daily carpet of confetti outside Chelsea Register Office and an assortment of white ribbon decorated vehicles bearing beautiful brides swathed in white. The London parks are full of picnics and sunbathers and even if the shops are not quite as full of shoppers as retailers would like, everyone seems much more cheerful and tourists will be able to report back home that the English are living up to their reputation of talking almost exclusively about the weather.
We have had a lot of fun working on our new wedding themed bindings – ivory, cream, pearl and silver – and identifying some lovely books which might make great wedding presents. The brilliant 501 series of books make fantastic presentsfor pretty much anyone in a wedding party (although it might be a good thing to give the best man his copy of 501 Must Know Speeches BEFORE the wedding reception…).
Posted on 6 January 2011 by Marie Stevens
So the tree only just down (actually dismembered and masquerading as household rubbish) and Sue and I are already headlong into plans for 2011. Apart from the normal occasions when a hand bound book is, we think an excellent present (Valentines Day of which more anon, Mothers Day, Easter and those lovely spring and early summer weddings) there are some other, unique, occasions which we would like to commemorate. 2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Authorised Version of the Bible and there is nothing nicer than a personalised, leather bound Bible – an instant heirloom created in an important year. We will be featuring a special, bound version shortly which we do hope you will like.
If you are into classic fiction then 2011 marks some key publication anniversaries: 200 years for Sense and Sensibility, 150 years for Silas Marner and Great Expectations and an old favourite, The Secret Garden is 100 years old this year. Watch out for some special bindings here!
2012 will of course be upon us before we know it and apart from the Olympics (which we are limbering up for – we’ll keep you posted on our efforts ) and continuing the religious theme, 2012 also marks the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer – another opportunity perhaps for an heirloom? There are some lovely old copies of these around (cheeringly well used) and we will be featuring one or two of these, beautifully re-bound over the next few months.