Rainbow Book Spines vs Rainbow Bookshelves

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Rachel Rosenberg

Senior Contributor

Rachel Rosenberg has been writing since she was a child—at 13, she was published alongside celebs and fellow teens in Chicken Soup For the Teenage Soul 2. Rachel has a degree in Creative Writing from Montreal’s Concordia University; she’s been published in a few different anthologies and publications, including Best Lesbian Love Stories 2008, Little Fiction, Big Truth’s Re/Coded anthology and Broken Pencil magazine. She also appeared on the Montreal episode of the Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids podcast. Her day job is as a Children’s Librarian, where she digs singing and dancing with small humans.

We had a post about rainbow bookshelves not long ago, but I am here today to discuss rainbow book spines. These book spines are the bane for any devoted shelf-decorating-devotee, as the rainbow bookshelf is a complex ecosystem that can be easily confused.

Rachel's Rainbow Bookshelf

My bookshelf at home

Rainbow book spines can be hard to resist. You know that old adage – don’t judge a book by its cover? I regularly do. As I wander the stacks, my eyes flicker over to those radiant spines and suddenly there is a stack of rainbow-tinted books in my arms.

What is there to do? Sometimes the rainbow spine can be incorporated, like if the colours are muted and swirled together. That’s not the only problem, either; where do you put books with white spines? Black, brown, grey? I’ve stored them at the beginning, like a monochromatic pre-rainbow. But the rainbow spine is the trickiest of all. What do you do with that?

Okay, maybe it isn’t that hard and really they can just be popped at the end. If you don’t want that though, let’s say you are a rainbow purist, then below are some titles to beware of, split between YA fiction and general fiction. One caveat: some of these books might have different covers/spines depending on what edition you find, what country you live in, etc.

Rainbow YA

Rainbow YA

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

Abby – a creative, fashionable teen used to acting the sidekick to her friends – gets the magazine internship of her dreams. Everything is going great until she meets and falls in love with Jordi, the intern she’s competing against for a permanent job.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Like Romeo and Juliet before them, this romcom has star-crossed love blossoming between a K-pop starlet and a tabloid reporter.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha’s family is about to be deported when she unexpectedly falls in love with Daniel, a first generation Korean American who tries very hard to live by his parents’ expectations.

Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster by Liza Palmer

This one is for all you Danbeaus out there, as it focuses on Carol Danvers’s first year at flight school and covers how she and Maria Rambeau meet.

Hope and Other Punch lines by Julie Buxbaum

Abbi is an internet meme thanks to an infamous moment: a September 11th photo of her as a baby in front of the collapsing World Trade Center Tower. Can she find anonymity as a counselor for Knights Day Camp?

Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi

Opal Hopper, a brilliant 17-year-old coder, becomes tangled in a complicated web of hacking and manipulation. In this techno-thriller, Opal will need to lie if she wants to figure out her father’s mysterious death.

Tell Me Everything by Sarah Enni

Ivy is shy and isolated, with only her best friend Harold for company. Until she begins to use an art sharing app, leading her to learn classmates’ secrets. Uh-oh.

Rainbow Adult Fic

Rainbow Adult Fiction

State of the Union by Nick Hornby

Tom and Louise meet before their weekly therapy appointments and begin the tough business of deconstructing their struggling marriage.

We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop

A novel about an elite Olympic skier on the run from her shattered past; this is sure to be a one-of-a-kind read.

A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee

Set in India and spanning five interconnected stories, the lives of these five main characters illuminate issues of poverty and displacement.

Southernmost by Silas House

A contemplative book about evangelical preacher Asher Sharp, who gives shelter to a gay couple after they lose their home in a horrible flood. His burgeoning acceptance sets events into motion, leading him to flee with his son to Key West, to visit the brother he once rejected.

Aria by Nazanine Hozar

Set in Iran, this is the story of the Iranian revolution through the eyes of Aria, a young orphan abandoned by her mother in an alley.

The Travelers by Regina Porter

An epic, multigenerational story about two families living in America. Porter is a playwright, so the novel is complete with snappy dialogue and brilliant characters.

I’ve had my bookshelf organized in rainbow for a long time – across multiple countries and apartments. It’s a controversial move in book-lover-land, though, there’s been opposition. An ex desperately wanted to redo my books by author (I let her organize my CDs instead) while another friend expressed horror that I was a library professional who had chosen to organize my books like this. Persevere. The rewards are plentiful.

You have the basics, so if your books are colourful anyway, why not keep them snappy in a multi-hued configuration? It pops! Also, your decor will already be set for your next Pride party. Think about it.