Want to impress people with your bookshelves but don’t know where to start? Today we are chatting the most gorgeous, show-stopping editions that you should consider adding to your shelves. These all have a stunning spine, and are mostly illustrated — some even have interactive pages! Without further ado, let’s jump to some classics titles, because everyone should have some classics at home.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, illustrated by Beya Rebaï
Sylvia Plath’s groundbreaking semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, offers an intimate, honest and often wrenching glimpse into mental illness in the 1950s. With The Bell Jar being darkly humorous and breaking boundaries, it is no wonder Sylvia Plath is an enduring feminist icon. Faber released an illustrated edition in 2022, featuring art done by Paris-born artist Beya Rebaï.
Snow White and other Grimms’ Fairy Tales by Brothers Grimm (MinaLima version)
Mina Lima has signed to do 15 children’s classics with Harper and for those who are wondering where you have seen the name Mina Lima, it is the team behind the Harry Potter interactive books, and the graphic props of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films. Founded by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. this design studio has done amazing work so far. There are currently 9 volumes out: Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, The Wizard of Oz, and Snow White and other Grimms’ Fairy Tales. The latest title, Snow White and other Grimms’ Fairy Tales has 23 stories and feature pull-tab mirror for Snow White, a three-dimensional ball gown for Cinderella, a pop-up tower for Rapunzel etc.
Persuasion: The Complete Novel, Featuring the Characters’ Letters and Papers, Written and Folded by Hand, by Jane Austen Curated by Barbara Heller
Speaking of classics, Jane Austen’s Persuasion of course has had endless editions throughout the years. Our favourite definitely has to be the one curated by Barbara Heller, who has worked on Pride and Prejudice as well as Little Women for this series. As seen in the title, these books contain “replica” of the letters, newspapers, concert bills etc. from the books, all neatly stored in pockets within the book so
The Secret History by Donna Tartt (30th anniversary edition)
Dark academia titles have always had a place in our heart but with Babel being published this year and every Bookstagrammer/BookToker/blogger scrambling to make a listicle of dark academia titles, it seems to be the perfect time to dive into this genre once again. Coincidentally, it is the 30th anniversary of The Secret History, perhaps the holy bible of dark academia. While this edition is not illustrated, the sheer size of this edition is enough to warrant your consideration to add it to your shelves.
Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe
We have already shown our love to Lore Olympus in our graphic novel listicle but this list will not be complete if we do not have them here. The webtoon series that retells the story of Hades and Persephone has been published in gorgeous hardcover volumes, with currently 3 books gathering the first 75 episodes. The art style is highly elegant, perfect for the big hardback edition. With many episodes out on Webtoon already, get ready to leave a lot of space on your shelves for the upcoming volumes.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay with Neil Packer
The Order of the Phoenix is the last Harry Potter title illustrated by Jim Kay, who has worked on all the previous HP titles, as well as the illustrated edition of Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. In fact, this book also contains artwork done by Neil Packer, who is an illustrator himself, and a long time friend of Jim Kay. Bloomsbury has yet to announce the illustrator for the final two instalments of the series, but we will definitely look forward to the completion of the illustrated edition regardless.
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, illustrated by Chris Wormell
The illustrated edition of His Dark Materials is relatively lesser known compared to the Harry Potter one. With the BBC TV show concluding soon, it is perhaps the perfect time to pick up the whole set of the illustrated books to read the material behind the hit show. All three titles are illustrated by Chris Wormell so there’s no worry that there will be any discontinuation between titles. The books are roughly the same size as the Harry Potter ones, and also feature many full page illustrations.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse: the Animated Story by Charlie Mackesy
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse first started as Instagram illustrations that meant to cheer up Charlie’s own friends. The illustrations turned into a book, which has become an international bestseller loved by many. With the book doing a wonderful job exploring the themes of empathy, kindness, and humanity, it is not difficult to understand why. This year, the BBC turned this lovely book into an animated short film, and Ebury published a new revamped version of this book to celebrate the work of the animators.
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (Illustrated by the author)
Similar to The Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion has received many amazing editions throughout the years. This year, Harper Voyager finally released a special edition with illustrations done by J.R.R. Tolkien himself, and the complete text printed in two colours. It even has sprayed edges in green and the line “The tale of the First Age when Morgoth dwelt in Middle-Earth and the Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils.” written in elegant Tengwar script. The book also features two pull-out maps that you can decorate your house with.
The Rise of the Dragon: An Illustrated History of the Targaryen Dynasty (Volume One) by George R.R. Martin, Elio M. Garcia Jr. & Linda Antonsson
The HBO series House of the Dragon, a prequel to Game of Thrones, was released earlier this year. The show is based on material from Fire and Blood, which is a book released in 2018 that tells of the history of House Targaryen. Now, why are we discussing Fire and Blood when we are talking about the Rise of the Dragon here? That’s because the Rise of the Dragon is basically the lavish edition of Fire and Blood, and reads more like an encyclopedia when Fire and Blood reads more like scholarly texts. Hence, for us casual fans who adore full-colour illustrations, we will definitely choose the Rise of the Dragon.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman (Collector’s Edition)
Walker books recently released a special collector’s edition for Scythe. For some reason, it is not given enough love so let us tell you why you should add it to your shelf even if you have never read the Arc of a Scythe trilogy before. Overall, the attention to details in this edition is superb. The book has an overarching black and red design, with the scythe on the front cover shining prettily. The edges are sprayed red and the spine has the 10 Scythe Commandments printed in red. The back cover also features a scythe in red, and the words “The Scythe Arrived Late on a Cold November Afternoon.” printed in gold. And while you are here, check out our interview with Neal Shusterman on Gleanings, a new collection of short stories set in this universe.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (15th anniversary edition)
The first book of the Mortal Instruments series was released 15 years ago. To celebrate this, Walker Books released a gorgeous hardback of the City of Bones. As you can see, this edition is absolutely stunning — the royal purple cover is filled with runes printed in gold. See how many runes you recognise! Also, we recently took a trip down the memory lane and chatted about all the editions of this beloved series. While we love all of them, this is definitely our favourite of all time.