Each year the Folio Society releases beautiful editions of both classic and modern works just in time for the holidays. This year’s list is finally here, with gorgeous renditions of science fiction classics, a Marvel Comics retrospective, and Maya Angelou’s most famous memoir, among others.
Speaking of Maya Angelou, before I go any further, I must point out that she is the sole person of color on this year’s entire list of 19 titles. There are also only two (2!) women. Needless to say, for a company that has been doing this as long as The Folio Society, this is disappointing. In fact, the representation in their entire catalog overall is problematic.
There are works by authors of color in there, but they are few and far between. Women authors abound, just not in this year’s special collection, which feels odd. Given how much time they put into these editions, and how much great literature there is in the world by people who are not white men, this…shouldn’t be an issue.
With all that being said, their books make excellent gifts for the refined book lover on your list (or yourself) if you happen to have a little extra cash flow. (Yeah, it’s 2020, but we can dream, right?)
So without further ado, here are six books to get excited about from The Folio Society’s 2020 Christmas Collection!
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
An American Marriage author Tayari Jones introduces this exquisite edition of Maya Angelou’s powerful 1969 memoir about growing up as a Black woman in the American south. It’s the first of seven Angelou would eventually write, and her most memorable. The Folio Society binds this work in block cloth and includes a slipcase. Artist Shabazz Larkin used women from his own life (his mother stands in for Angelou’s Momma singing in church) as inspiration for the five color illustrations, including one double-page spread.
256 pages, $69.95
Marvel: The Bronze Age Curated by Roy Thomas
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Marvel Comics has been sort of having a moment recently. The Folio Society certainly noticed, and likely you have someone in your life that has as well. With this publication, the Society “Caps” off (see what I did there?) a trilogy on the history of the comics powerhouse. Carefully chosen by Stan Lee’s direct successor as editor-in-chief, Roy Thomas, this collection contains 12 of Marvel’s best storylines from its most influential age, including a whopping 64-page facsimile of Giant-Size X-Men #1.
304 pages, $225
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
This little-known work got a big-screen adaptation in 1993 that you probably haven’t seen. But you likely have seen any one of its 18 sequels. All kidding aside, believe it or not, this year marks the 30-year anniversary of Crichton’s great science fiction adventure yarn. The Folio Society has put together a work of art that perfectly encapsulates the early ’90s with computer graphics and graphs recreated from the original and illustrations by Vector That Fox approved by an actual paleontologist. A slipcase made to look and feel like dinosaur scales completes the set.
448 pages, $59.95
Mr. Campion and Others by Margery Allingham
The other woman author on the list this year is Margery Allingham, with the Folio Society’s latest installment in the Albert Campion series. In this collection of 13 short stories, the gentleman sleuth contends with the dark underbelly of 1930s London. With six color illustrations and a frontispiece by Moscow-based artist Darya Shnykina, this set is perfect for lovers of crime fiction.
280 pages, $57.95
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
Know any Game of Thrones fans still sour over the show’s botched ending? Help them Make Westeros Great Again (too soon?) by gifting them this two-volume edition of the third installment of A Song of Ice and Fire. They will luxuriate over the 12 full-page color illustrations, the 15 updated genealogies, and the illustrated house sigils. At the very least, it will distract them from constantly checking George R.R. Martin’s website for a Winds of Winter release date.
1,128 pages, $199.95
A History of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch
What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a three-volume, 1,520-page history dedicated to the religion that started it all? Whatever your feelings on Christianity, it’s hard to ignore its impact on world history. This set has something for the theologian and the history buff alike. Each volume contains 32 color illustrations, and the set contains a total of 25 black and white maps.
1,520 pages, $295
There’s much more to love on The Folio Society’s website, so check it out, and maybe get yourself a little something this year if you’re feeling especially charitable.
Just make sure you don’t read these and eat holiday chocolate at the same time.