Friday, 17 February 2012

Folio Editions - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

In the age of digital downloads, the real thing - the hard copy, wood pulp and ink book - has to be something special. It has to be an object of beauty that you want to hold in your hands, to turn the pages, to feel the texture. There is a book publisher that loves books as much as I do. The Folio Society is a book club, but its editions have little in common with those gold embossed Reader's Digest edition of the classics that your grandparents used to collect. Each book is designed to a unique format. The size, the paper, the typeface, the binding, are all selected to reflect the subject and style of the book. There are scholarly and entertaining introductions, and above all, there are some of the most beautiful illustrations you will every see anywhere. No expense is spared and the cost of the books reflects that. Some of the limited edition facsimile books can cost up to £1,000. Regular editions are anywhere from £20 to £50 and well worth it. Fahrenheit 451 will only set you back £22.95 for a beautifully illustrated hardback with slip case.

Below is a scan of the cover and a selection from the illustrations by Sam Weber. There's also an introduction by Michael Moorcock. It starts like this:

In the late 1960s my friend J.G. Ballard phoned me full of outrage. Feeling weighed down by the bad prose cluttering his study, he had dug a pit in his back garden and thrown his review copies in, splashing them with a little petrol. But they proved harder to burn than he thought, so he put one in the kitchen oven, which had a suitable thermometer, to test the igniting heat of the book paper. 'Bradbury was wrong!' he complained. 'Fahrenheit 451 isn't the temperature at which book paper burns!'

You may have read Fahrenheit 451 before, but reading the Folio edition is a whole new experience.