Friday, 8 November 2013

When a book is a beautiful thing...

Yesterday, I bought a book.

Woop-de-doo, you say. So what?

It wasn't even Raising Steam, the latest offering from Discworld and Sir Terry Pratchett, even though yesterday was publication day; it was Goth Girl, by Chris Riddell.

(If you are a regular reader, you will know I love Chris's illustrations - indeed, he was the influence behind Granny Rainbow's pictures.)

I've got a problem with this book though - I daren't open it! It's, quite simply, too beautiful.

You wuss, Katherine! I can hear you yelling at me. Get the book open - read the flippin' story! Stop being daft!

Just let me describe this book, and see if you can understand why I can't...

The cover is midnight black, royal purple, silver (actual silver foil!) and white. It's a hardback - weighty and solid. The edges of the pages are coloured metallic royal purple. You open the cover, and the inside leaf is all silver and black skulls...

See the light, glinting on the silver?!

Then you get to the story itself. On the first page - even before the words appear - is a full page illustration. Thereafter, pictures are dotted through the book, the text wrapped round them like a hug. (In fact, as I flicked through, there were very few double spreads that didn't have artwork... think I only spotted one.) The story ends on the last page with a full page picture again, then there are more silver skulls - and a mini-book in it's own little holder inside the back cover; an exquisitely drawn comic-cum-poem about one of the characters.

It feels like handling not just a book - but a work of art.

I have read the first few pages - very carefully, so I didn't leave a mark on them - but have decided I must read it only when I'm alone. Mainly because I can't help laughing, or reading bits out loud and sharing the pictures with my bemused family.

Mr Riddell, sir - I take my hat off to you. This book is an object of great beauty, and you might have just become my second favourite author of all time.


  1. Oooh intrigued... must go and find a copy... love, love, love Mr Riddell too! Once had the great pleasure of commissioning him for an illustration.... wup, wup!

    1. Catherine - REALLY?? Omigosh! What was the illustration of/for? (If you can share that info...)