Top 5 Tuesday: Beautiful Book Spines

Welcome back to another Top 5 Tuesday here on The Inky Saga! At the beginning of each month, Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm annouces the weekly themes for this bookish meme. For this week, she asked us to share our “top five book spines.” I decided to look at my bookshelves and select the five I think are the most beautiful. Some of these books I’ve read, some I haven’t.

If you want to participate in this meme, be sure to link to Shanah’s original blog post so she gets a ping back and can add you to her post’s list of participants. It’s a fun way to discover new blogs and see what other books people listed for each topic. It’s my goal to start going through each week’s list and start blog hopping again this month.

Without further ado, here’s my top five book spines along with my rationale and the artists/designers behind the book cover art!

⟡ Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ⟡

My love for this book is no secret. I also am just so enamored by the original cover aesthetic for the Grishaverse books as a whole. A word that comes to mind is ornate. Six of Crows in particular is gorgeous because of the looping letters that are at once so fine and sweeping. I like how they are positioned so that the book title can be read without the need tilt the head or reorient your eyes. Also the feather details and the spiral towers at the bottom are a really nice little touch.

Jacket Art & Design: Jack Deas

⟡ Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter ⟡

A book spine with similar characteristics to the Six of Crows, Vassa in the Night has a refined architectural detail of the castle. There’s also pretty swan that takes priority over the book spine space by placing on top of the title. It makes the spine look much more like a work of art than a book spine concerned with legibility.

Illustrations Copyright: Sarah Porter

⟡ The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton ⟡

This is one of the first books that came to mind for this list. I love the readable cursive letters distilling the long title and ultimately emphasizing Ava, the ultimate protagonist of this detailed ancestral saga. Copper feathers in contrast with the blue background are delicate and beautifully fit with the story.

Cover Design & Book Jacket: Matt Roeser

⟡ The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson ⟡

When I received this book on release day, I just remember being awe-struck by the vibrant pinkish red of this book cover. The book spine of The Vanishing Stair is a continuation of the abstract pop-art-style book cover and replicates the hand-written-style of the title from the front cover. Johnson’s name in a bright sky blue which presents a fantastic contrast.

I feel like the recent trend toward bright colors and erratic lettering (thinking of John and Hank Green’s most recent books) has verged on being over-done. Having read both books of the Truly Devious series, I feel like there was a missed opportunity to create an intricately detailed book cover. But I do think that these books are great to go into blind, and the simple abstract design make the books visually appealing without giving anything of the story away.

Jacket Art: Leo Nickolls | Jacket Design: Katie Fitch

⟡ We, the Drowned by Cartsen Jensen ⟡

I feel no shame in admitting that I was entirely compelled to by this book because of it’s startlingly beautiful cover. The summary of the book seemed fascinating, but I am 100% certain that this book was purely an aesthetic purchase. The spine is a continuation of the sea illustrated in swift, powerful lines.

Cover Design: Suzanne Dean | Cover Illustration: Joe McLaren

I was a nice change of pace to think about why certain book spines are more appealing than others. I’m clearly a sucker for a delicate, intricate design. I’m interested in reading other people’s lists because I wonder what our choices might say about us. I also wonder how much research goes into book spine design, or if it’s less of a concern for publishers when it comes to marketing books. If you have any resources on this topic, feel free to drop links in the comments below?

Do you have any of these books on your shelves?

What are book spine elements you consider most appealing?

Thank you for reading!
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Top Five Tuesday: Hogwarts House Reads!

Normally if I wanted to do a bookish meme on Tuesday, I would do Top Ten Tuesday. But I wasn’t feeling the theme for this or last week, so I did some looking and discovered a nice alternative: Top Five Tuesday. This month Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm decided February’s theme for Top Five Tuesday would be Harry Potter Houses!

This week’s specific house is Slytherin, but I missed the past weeks and wanted to combine them all into one post. The way it works is that you can pick five books a person from that house would enjoy OR books with characters that fit the traits of that house. I decided to (primarily) do the latter.

I hope you enjoy this blog post! It’s a little on the long-side but that’s hardly new, isn’t it? Chime in on your picks for each house in the comments down below. I’d love to read some contrary opinions on my selections as well ^_^

❝ They are experience-oriented, honest, practical, blunt, passionate, playful, funny, trusting, idealistic, stubborn and procrastinators. They live in the moment, don’t take themselves seriously, are wary of manipulators and liars, have a strong moral centre, and are unafraid to seize opportunities and make changes. ❞

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | I think Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin are all little Gryffindors-in-training. While they all have their problems with themselves and their lives, they recognize trouble when they see it and work past their fear to save the world.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee | I’m not so sure about her brother or father, but I think Scout is definitely a Gryffindor. She has all the braveness and conviction of right and wrong that comes with being a child. She is not easily convinced to back-down, even if it means she will get into trouble.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld | Deryn joins the air force in this YA fantasy series by dressing up as a boy because girls are not allowed to enlist. I think she’s also a little too young. She finds herself wrapped up in a major adventure filled with danger and international intrigue, and she does it with relish. She’s a Gryffindor if I’ve ever seen one.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Wade is very much a brave protagonist who is unafraid to seize opportunities and do what is right. He has plenty of opportunities to go to the dark side, but he is loyal to his cause and the ones he loves.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo |Princess Diana is such a refreshing character in that she is so unwaveringly good. Her actions are led by her strong morals, even when it means breaking the rules. She is not afraid to take action if she knows it’s right.

❝ They are analytical, intelligent, logical yet impractical, curious, inquisitive, creative, witty, wise, interested in understanding things, cynics, fond of  intellectual discussion, introspective, independent, wordy, and self-entertaining. They observe rather than participate, are fond of learning for the sake of learning, and good at school (or really anything that they have an interest in!)❞

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin | A.J. Fikry is a bookstore owner who is more content to live in his books than experience the world and all it has to offer, despite his difficulty in keeping his business afloat. Luckily in this book life brings people into his life that give him and the stories more meaning.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman | Lettie and the Hempstock women seem to know a lot about the universe and its mysteries. Through the foggy memories of a young boy, we get a glimpse of their knowledge and power.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen | I think that Elizabeth Bennet, and probably Jane Austen (based on the movie Becoming Jane (2007)), are both Ravenclaws. They are both highly analytical of their society and intelligent, well read women who are more than capable of being independent.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok | I feel like half the book is about the two young protagonists studying Jewish scripture and law. They are obviously both extremely intelligent, motivated not only by their fathers but internally on a quest for truth and meaning. Danny is so competent as his Jewish studies that he adds additional subjects to open up his understanding of the human mind.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor | I actually don’t remember a lot about Sunny’s character, but do recall that magic-doers in this universe (leopards) value knowledge for the sake of knowledge above all else. You progress by learning new skills and by gaining wisdom. See my review of Akata Witch if you are interested in checking out this underrated YA fantasy series.

❝ They are hard-working, determined, tenacious, loyal, honest, genuine, well-rounded, fair and just, open-minded, giving, good-hearted, accepting, compassionate, practical, patient, unemotional, and dependable. Their loyalty is not given – it’s earned.❞

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones | I think Howl is for the most part surrounded by Hufflepuffs. Sophie and Markle are definitely Hufflepuffs. They are loyal to him, hard-working, patient, and practical. I could even see how Howl might be a Hufflepuff, if you can see past the whole emotionally stunted man-child thing.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson | Stevie is a Hufflepuff. She reminds me a little of Tonks, with her interest in criminal justice. She’s hard-working, tenacious, determined in what she does. She’s also a compassionate and loyal friend.

How I Resist edited by Maureen Johnson | I selected this anthology because the pieces selected by Johnson all embody Hufflepuff traits in their appeals to compassion, open-mindedness, determination, tenacity in today’s youth.

The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle | The protagonist Adam is a scientist who learns that his work does not exist in a bubble and can have real-world consequences. He has a good-heart, but he struggles with who to trust and to whom to give his loyalty in this book. By the end of the novel, I think he discovers who deserves his trust.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman | Malcolm is Hufflepuff through and through. He’s just such a genuinely good-natured little boy who follows his gut and is loyal to what he considers just causes. He becomes loyal to little Lyra when she is a just a baby when he learns there are people after her.

❝ They are ambitious, driven, goal-focused, determined, prepared, perfectionists, adaptable, realistic, self-reliant, charming, assertive, and ruthless. They are highly selective with their loyalty, love positive attention and thrive on praise, care about the impression they give, demand respect, and can be disloyal. ❞

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Celaena kind of a Mary Sue of a Slytherin if there ever was one. Charming, assertive, ruthless, check, check, check.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | Once again, these characters are less bad and more ambiguous on the Slytherin spectrum. Without spoiling anything, I will say these childhood friends are loyal to each other and raised to be Slytherins, which is to say proud of their family, wealth, and privilege. But they are conniving and ruthless in how they decide to dole out punishment. And they suffer for it.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green | April May is a character I really didn’t know how to feel about as I read AART. I don’t think she’s evil or bad. Her heart is definitely in the right place for much of this book. But she’s definitely single-minded in accomplishing her goals, which leads to her stepping over the people who matter most as she continues to receive praise and admiration from countless strangers via the internet.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski | It’s been a while since I read these books! Kestrel, in my opinion, is definitely on the more good-hearted side of the Slytherin spectrum. She’s extremely intelligent and capable of manipulating others for her own ends, but I wouldn’t say she’s ambitious or driven by ego.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Kaz…hell, most of the people in the gang are probably a Slytherin, but Kaz takes the Slytherin cake. Only a Slytherin could have pulled off such a dangerous, high-stakes heist.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I stumbled across these prompts last weekend when looking for something for last Tuesday and decided it would be a fun challenge to think about. I think it’s a great way to introduce people to new books, because some people might want recommendations based on how the characters are and not just want happens in the book.

It was a little harder than I thought it would be to pick books for certain houses! I learned a little about myself what kinds of books I lean towards through this little challenge, funnily enough. I’ve been sorted into Slytherin twice by the Pottermore quiz, so it shouldn’t be that surprising that I enjoy trouble-makers, but I do want to read more books helmed by Gryffindor and Hufflepuff characters in the future!

Thank you for reading!
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Featured Image Credit: Photo by Aga Putra on Unsplash.