Event Review: ‘Beautiful Books’ by The Folio Society’

Book Event: ‘Beautiful Books’ presented by The Folio Society

Who: The Folio Society, whose mission statement since 1947 has been to create outstanding books in both literary content and physical form.

What: A festive themed evening hosted by The Folio Society to promote their new ‘Beautiful Books.’

Where: The Guardian Headquarters, Kings Cross.

When: Monday 26th November at 6.30pm

Refreshments: I was treated to my first sips of warm mulled wine and a selection of canapés which ranged from a mini venison tart, delicious, to a rather salty mini cheesy jackpot potato (which my other half couldn’t get enough of!)

Freebies: Apart from the entire evening? – I got a goody bag with a beautiful book themed notepad and pen, which was lovely.

Review:

The evening kicked off promptly at 6.30pm in the atrium of the Guardian Headquarters, coat hung up and name ticked off the register I was ready to be bowled over by beautiful books and indeed I was. The Guardian entrance hall had been turned into an Art Gallery with the main illustrations from some of their newer books hung on the wall. The one that really grabbed my attention was a really eerie one of a young girl, which had been created for Fahrenheit 451. Other notable ones were Toad of Toad Hole for the childhood favourite, The Wind in the Willows and also The Wizard of Oz, (see photos of the illustrations on the left).

When the evening’s waiting staff came out with a trolley of what looked like canteen soup dispensers filled with mulled wine, the ‘free bar’ mentality took over and people crushed to form a haphazard queue. Of course I was in the thick of it, because in this kind of situation what else can you do but get the elbows and withering glances out? The mulled win was lovely, I had two glasses because I am festive, before the snacks came out which were pretty good. Anything in miniature always gets me a bit excited so buffets, canapés urmm sushi float my boat big time and I was chuffed to see tiny veal tartlets and little roast beef pies, then the red wine came out but I was a bit sleepy by this point – Christmas always seems to put one into a coma regardless of the scenario.

Unfortunately, due to where the event was held, the entrance hall, it was quite difficult to really relax and enjoy yourself above the buzz of the escalators and people coming and going through the rotating doors. This extra noise was also an issue when it came to hearing the special guest speaker, illustrator Graham Baker Smith, who was discussing how he had come about creating the drawings for the new edition of Pinocchio. Although I shuffled closer to hear, the acoustics weren’t great. However, the tidbits I caught were interesting especially about how he’d got into illustration and his current work on a set of short stories by Oscar Wilde. And to be fair there was ample opportunity to talk to him one to one after the reading.

The evening itself was slightly disappointing, it did everything it said on the tin but the way it was described I expected something akin to a book themed Christmas market, this was more tea and coffee at a parent teacher evening. If only a small suggestion, the event should have been held in a meeting room or something similar so that people could have at least sat down and looked at the books. I personally had difficulty juggling wine, a small pie and a beautiful book at once.

However although, the evening was a bit of a non-starter you couldn’t help but fall in love with The Folio Society’s mission to produce such stunning books. I already want to buy most of them and they really are a great gift for a fellow book lover whatever the time of year.

So make sure you check them out for yourself here

Event Rating: 5 -disappointing

BUT

Beautiful Books Rating: 9 – exceptional idea as a gift for anyone!

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