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Friday, January 30, 2015

Book(Spine)Porn... | The Friday Five

Voting is still open on the first of this year's Friday Face Offs, featuring a cover series both creepy and chaotic... The winner will be announced in next week's Face Off, but until then, it's time for a brand new Friday Five!

This week I'm taking a look at some of my favorite book spines. Now, this post could go on for much longer than just five books; in fact, it's something I covered more in depth a few years ago, in one of the very first Book Chat videos. (Anyone remember those? ;P ) A lot of you know that I currently organize my books according to color, but before I had the space to fully taste the embrace the rainbow, I used to have a special section, all on a shelf of its own, that highlighted my favorite book spines. I figured, if most of my book organization was going to be chaotic, I might as well have one spot that brought me nothing but joy. [Not coincidentally, that "shelf" was actually the top of my TV, so basically anytime I watched something, I was also staring pretty much directly at some gorgeous book spines! It was a good system.]

I have a lot of books on my shelves, and am a sucker for good design, so posts like this are always something I stress over a little bit: how can I include this, but not that, etc., etc. But to save myself the heartache, I'm just going to be straightforward and tell you that this is not necessarily my all time favorite five, but the first of what is likely to be many groups of five awesomely designed book spines. Pressure off, crisis averted, let's get on to the gorgeous books!!

We the Drowned.
You'll probably notice a theme, in any of the design posts I do, of swirls and vines, and whatnot. I am an absolute sucker for them, and they will always catch my eye.  Add that to a good, solid line-drawing style, and you basically have an art style that I love so much, I want to put it on my body, so that's saying something. (This revelation inspired by a conversation I had in a tattoo parlor with my sister recently, in which she asked what I'd get if I were the one being tattooed, and I responded with "Everything, in black and white line drawings." One of these days... ;P ]

Mr Muo's Traveling Couch. 
This won't have been the first book that I bought purely for cover design (and well, quirky titles are always a draw, too), and it certainly wasn't the last. But it is one that I knew and still know virtually nothing about, other than that I found it at a dollar store, and HAD to have it because of the spine.

Red Herring without Mustard.
It probably comes as no surprise to you that someone who organizes things by color loves (LOVES) a pop of bold color. All of the books in Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series would probably fall under this category, and I love the cover designs as a whole, but A Red Herring..., with its strong mustard color like BAM! is an attention-grabber on the shelves, and I love that.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.
See above, re: swirls and vines. Also, above: bold color pops.
(And yes, there are two copies there.)

And lastly...

The Titan Magic series.
These are interesting ones, in that there's nothing written on the spine. The design of the book carries over onto the spine (and back cover), but there are no words, just the feel of the cover. They are unique in my collection as a result, and I find them  fascinating. It may well be that it was just easier to produce them this way, I don't know, but it lends an odd air of importance, of history and weightiness to them, like old leather bound tomes — important works that didn't have an authors name emblazoned on them, just pure, but unshowy, craftsmanship. It suits the stories themselves, and the cover design (which I love in both cases), and it stands out (and of course makes you curious to pull the book off the shelves and see what it is, since you can't otherwise, at a glance). It's obviously not practical for brick-and-mortar sales, but on my own shelves, just these two books, standing out on their own — I quite like it.

So tell me, do you have favorite book spines, ones you make sure are always highlighted on your shelves? Or books you've bought (or wanted to buy) entirely based on a gorgeous spine?  Or am I just really weird? 
(Tell the truth, I know you're weird with me.)


  1. Oh yes, eyecatching spines did make the difference of what books got the primo shelf space at eye level. I tend to admire my historical mystery writers the most and the hardbound copies of Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily, CS Hariris' Sebastian St. Cyr and Charles Finch's Charles Lenox series are all there. I love their bold colored historical motifs. I also have a line of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series that are also bold jewel tones. Bold colors tend to be my draw, but the one exception are my trade bound Sourcebooks copies of Georgette Heyer books that are colorful, but of the soft pastel sort. I don't think I could limit it to five books for a post either.

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