It’s a common belief here at Off the Shelf that you can never have enough books—but what about multiple copies of the same one? (Spoiler: we don’t believe you can have too many of those, either.) One of the best things about classics is their timelessness, and the many ways we can reinvent and reinterpret them. In recent years, publishers have come up with beautiful new designs to keep some of our favorite titles fresh, from ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND to Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. How many can you collect?
Simple, clean, and—you guessed it—classic, these Puffin + Pantone editions feature THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, THE WIZARD OF OZ, and TREASURE ISLAND. With each title perfectly paired to a color, the spines combine to create the pastel lineup of any book lover’s dreams.
Long John Silver was a frightening—but tremendously seductive—character for me as a boy; and for my part, being that active sort of reader, I really felt I was Jim Hawkins, pulled headlong into the wild Caribbean, afraid but of course wanting to go on in spite of myself. Silver’s was the Siren song of true adventure—of that irresistible blend of fun spiked with danger—and Stevenson brings this out as few other writers can. —Kevin Costner
These interactive editions from English design house MinaLima are distributed in the States by Harper and prove that reading time can also be play time. Each one is not only gorgeous on the outside, but on the inside too, with pop-up illustrations, fold-out maps, and more to tell the beloved stories of PETER PAN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE LITTLE MERMAID, and THE JUNGLE BOOK.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, Juniper Books specializes in distributing custom jackets and decorative editions for past and contemporary classics alike. This trilogy set features THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE TWO TOWERS, and THE RETURN OF THE KING. Published by Houghton Mifflin, they also feature a gorgeous fold-out map of Middle Earth.
“Fly, you fools!” —Gandalf the Grey
There’s a book for every mood, every season, and every letter. For the Penguin Drop Caps editions, each letter is assigned a title and a thematic design that’s sure to stick out on your shelf, no matter what message you’re trying to spell out.
As Barcelona slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son, finds solace in what he finds in the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books”: a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, his seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets—an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
Each covered in linen and decorated with a single symbol (like chandeliers for GREAT EXPECTATIONS and cameos for MIDDLEMARCH), these cloth Penguin clothbound editions have a vintage, lightweight feel and look beautiful together or separately.
If there’s one thing we love, it’s when a jacket perfectly fits the book it covers. These F. Scott Fitzgerald classics—which include THIS SIDE OF PARADISE, THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED, and THE LAST TYCOON—evoke the glitz and glamour of the jazz’s golden age with foil and pops of metallic.
With bright colors and beautiful florals, these children’s classics—LITTLE WOMEN, HEIDI, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, and ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND—will make it look like spring has sprung on your shelf. Designed by the founder of Rifle Paper Co., these editions also feature a story and character guide for easy reading.
Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her. Suggested by @Kling62
These six books are produced—where else?—in England but are available for purchase and shipping to the United States (Ah, the wonders of the Internet!). Gold and accented with white, silver, and black, these unjacketed hardcovers evoke the romance and old-world feel of Jane Austen’s classics, perfect for an Austenite.
Is there anything better than seeing a full table or shelf of classics, all in one place? Barnes and Noble has been producing these editions for quite some time and has expanded their leather-bound selections beyond the usual suspects to include JURASSIC PARK, WICKED, and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
Wendy’s Fictional Dinner Party Guest: Atticus Finch
Perhaps it’s a cliché to want to have dinner with Atticus Finch—lawyer, father, all-around good man. Atticus is known for his conscience, grace, compassion, and morality. I suspect that his words would be full of insight and wisdom, and challenge me to sit straighter in my chair.
Though these lovely covers are produced overseas, they’re not too difficult to find stateside. Similar to the clothbound classics, each of these Penguin English Library editions feature a single symbol on the cover that embodies the story or its character, but instead of a hardcover, these are slightly more portable paperbacks with a matte feel.
During a business visit to Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count's transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula's grim fortress, but a friend's strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt.
Another Juniper Books special, these jacketed sets represent each Hogwarts house and create a uniformed set for every Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, illuminating the colors and symbols of each. They come in a Hogwarts traveling trunk, making this the perfect gift for any HP fan.
Let yourself be enchanted by this international phenomenon of a series about an orphaned boy wizard who holds the fate of the magical world in his hands. Whether you’re revisiting the world of witchcraft and wizardry or diving in for the first time, Harry’s story lives up to the hype.