Top 5 Tuesday: Book Spines


Here we are in a new month, and we have a new set of topics from Shanah over at the Bionic Book Worm. This week’s topic is, strangely enough, book spines. And, as Shanah points out, they are not something we usually give much thought to, that is, till today.

So, book spines, what is it that makes them so unforgettable compared, well, to the cover itself? After all, mostly they’re just a generic colour and a way to display the author’s name and the title of the book. And yet, when shelved, that colour can be all important, as can the typeface used. Both need to catch our attention as we twisted our heads, and skim read titles at our local bookstore.

Which brings us to, eye-catching spines; what caught my eye:

#1. SANDSTORM / ICE HUNT / AMAZONIA — are all thrillers from James Rollins with book spines featuring mini-tableaus depicting what the book is about. As in a shrunken head on the spine of AMAZONIA, and an Egyptian Temple of the spine of SANDSTORM. Cool, right?

#2. THE ASHES OF LONDON — by Andrew Taylor, has an authentic looking scene from the Great Fire of London, I mean, come on, the burning skyline of 17c London is definitely eye-catching.

#3. DEEP DOWN DEAD — the three Lori Anderson books by Steph Broadribb all feature action panels slotted in between the 3 word titles, showcasing content snippets, like Rollins’ books.

#4. THE CITY OF BRASS — by S.A. Chakraborty and, of course, THE KINGDOM OF COPPER both have very distinctive spines that echo the front covers.

#5. THE STOCKHOLM OCTAVO — by Karen Engelmann, another historical novel like Andrew Taylor’s, has a really eye-catching colourful sky-blue spine decked out with Tarot cards. Unmistakable.

And finally, an honourable mention goes to Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mystery novels. Each of which is an eye-watering colour, with beautifully rendered text, and a single resonant and suggestive motif like a blackbird holding a red penny stamp in its beak. All very intriguing.

What book spines have caught your eye lately?

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17 Comments

  1. March 7, 2019
    Reply

    City of Brass looks super pretty!
    I usually prefer minimalistic looking book spines. I have a few books that are just too shiny or too colorful, so i don’t really know where to put them because they are all kind of colors at once…

    • March 7, 2019
      Reply

      If it were left to my Other Half, everything would be colour coded in the rainbow spectrum. But me? Biggest at the bottom, smallest at the top, with no real thought to what’s on the spines despite my love of great artwork. lol!

  2. March 5, 2019
    Reply

    I love it when the book spines of a series match. These little things are so important to book collectors.

    • March 6, 2019
      Reply

      A good publisher will make sure the spines and covers in a series are always coordinated, I know. And are always a good selling point, just for the artwork alone. 😉

  3. March 5, 2019
    Reply

    The City of Brass and Kingdom of Copper are my favourites from your list! I love my Philippa Gregory spines, and I recently brought half-a-dozen Penguin handbooks – all green and all to do with botany and gardening. They look really snazzy on the bookshelf!

    • March 6, 2019
      Reply

      Oh, I have to agree about the Philippa Gregory spines too, yeah, they’re cool. And a lot of fantasy novels have great spines too, Nicola. 😀

  4. March 5, 2019
    Reply

    My City of Brass is so different from your edition Alexandra!

    • Alexandra
      March 5, 2019
      Reply

      I think there are a number of covers for the hardback, trade paperback, and international versions, Sophie. 😀

  5. March 5, 2019
    Reply

    Nice choices. The House of Ghosts by WC Ryan has a great spine. If you get the hardback version it’s black and gold. Very Art Deco!

    • March 5, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks! And The House of Ghosts sounds familiar, will have to go check it out. 😀

  6. March 5, 2019
    Reply

    Beautiful choices! The hardcover of The City of Brass is so much brighter than the paperback… love it!

    • March 5, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Shanah, I think both hardback and, of course, most fantasy novels, all usually have great spines. And I love Chakraborty’s books! They’re beautiful inside and out.

  7. […] Alexandra Wolfe […]

  8. It’s not until I shelve them that I pay attention to the spines. We actually bought a collection of old, beautifully bound books many years ago for our library and they are a lovely focus of the room.

    • March 5, 2019
      Reply

      I remember as a kid using my dad’s collection of Encyclopedia Britannica with their beautiful gold-embossed red leather. But paperbacks and the like? Forget it.

      Hardbacks are slightly different because of their dust jackets, so the spines can be really interesting, but the average paperback is so generic, we don’t really look at them for more than a nanosecond to confirm an author’s name, or the title, Jonetta.

  9. You are right, I don’t always take notice of the book spines! I love it when they’re uniform with just a little different detail like the first series! And now I’m off to inspect my entire library and see if there are any special finds to discover!

    • March 5, 2019
      Reply

      The spines are one of those things we really don’t give much thought too, Inge, but we all check them to find our fav author’s names, and then, totally forget them.

      Hey, did you find any great spines on your shelves?

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