The Happy Reader has attracted a loyal following since it launched in 2014, with its clever design and content geared towards booklovers. Issue nine features an interview with supermodel-cum-actress-cum-bookworm Lily Cole, and a breakdown of Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island.’ It feels slightly different to previous editions, both in content and design, giving it an updated, broader feel.
The Happy Reader came into fruition after a conversation at Penguin Books, about how to make magazines that could be applied to classical literature, so its design has always been something of a hybrid. Issue nine feels more like a magazine, and less like a book than past editions, although it still floats somewhere between the two. It has moved away from black and white photography and into colour, and its front cover is less self-consciously designed than that of previous copies; Wolfgang Tillmans’ portrait of Cole outside the British Library fills the entire page, instead of sitting against a coloured background.
This issue has fresh appeal to it, and Lily Cole is the perfect subject for the first half. She speaks to Penny Martin about her investment in famed London art bookshop, Claire de Rouen, and tells endless tales of a life well-lived, from her current West End performance in The Philanthropist, to surprisingly avid readers in the fashion world.
The second half of the issue keeps within The Happy Reader’s usually broad lines, with content that ranges from an interview with former XTC frontman Andy Partridge on the subject of songs sung by sailors, to a guide to eighteenth century mast messaging flags (both below).
The choice of ‘Treasure Island’ is more accessible than many books featured previously, which have included ‘The Saga of Gosta Berling’ by Nobel Laureate Selma Lagerlof, and ‘Au Bonheur Des Dames’ by Emile Zola.
There’s also a treasure hunt competition, with a complete set of Happy Reader issues and their featured books for one lucky winner (above).
The combination of lighter, brighter design and subject matter make way for a younger, fresher issue than those that have come before it.
Editor-in-chief: Seb Emina
Design: Tom Etherington and Matthew Young