The Most Colorful Books of 2022 (So Far) to Add to Your Bookshelf

The Most Colorful Books of 2022 (So Far) to Add to Your Bookshelf

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Looking to add some vibrancy to your bookshelves? Here are some of the prettiest book covers in every color of the rainbow. This list features new fiction releases, both novels and short stories, from 2022, so you’ll most likely be able to find them if you wish to recreate this reading rainbow in your own home. 

Starting off is a little pink for the girlies. (Just kidding, pink is typically seen as a feminine color but really, gendered colors are a construct.) “Tell Me I’m An Artist” follows art student Joey over the course of a semester, who has enrolled in a film elective required by her San Fransico university. As Joey struggles to complete a self-portrait assignment (despite having never seen Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore,” she’s chosen to recreate it), themes of imposter syndrome, class, and privilege emerge in this coming-of-age novel. 

The eye-catching cover of “Anonymous Sex” oozes a feeling of want and desire with its vibrant red color and plump strawberry hinting at a behind. Between the sheets, you’ll find 27 erotic short stories from 27 authors with zero bylines attached. So pour a glass of wine, draw up a bath, and thank me later. 

“Nevada” technically debuted in 2013, but FSG rereleased the cult classic this year with a new afterword from Imogen Binnie. Its reddish-orange cover is a perfect transition book in your reading rainbow, and its insides are equally as alluring. While the synopsis sounds relatively simple — a fiery trans woman embarks on a cross-country road trip from New York City to Nevada — it’s an impactful read that stays with you long after the final page. Torrent Peters, author of “Detransition, Baby,” called “Nevada,” “a book that changed my life.” Going on to say, “it shaped both my worldview and my personhood, making me the writer I am. And it did so by the oldest of methods, by telling a wise, hilarious, and gripping story.”

You can’t tell me the deliciously decadent orange cover of Ling Ma’s short story collection doesn’t do something for you. The eye candy is even sweeter because it’s the much-awaited second release from the author of “Severance,” the post-apocalyptic horror meets satire and road adventure pushed in 2018, made even more popular after the start of the pandemic. Fittingly, Bliss Montage was written during the pandemic, and its short stories, which braid together the all too real with the fantastical, are a strange and wonderful follow-up. 

If you’re a fantasy lover, “This Woven Kingdom” makes for both a pretty and enthralling addition to your bookshelf. The first in a new trilogy, Tahereh Mafi’s YA novel has it all: forbidden romance, clashing empires, and an engaging, evenly paced plot. 

The saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to be captivated by the design of “Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century.” It’s whimsical, earthy, and is an excellent representation of the speculative and strange short stories that await inside. 

Crisp, bright, and relatively simple, the electric cover of “A Very Nice Girl” draws you in, while its story of sex, power, and love — which Meg Mason, the author of “Sorrow and Bliss” called “Sweetbitter” meets “Normal People” — keeps you saying “just one more chapter.”

What lies beneath the ordinary and mundane? Kate Folk explores this, the eerie and unknown, in her creepy, debut short story collection. If the cover is giving you sci-fi vibes, you’re not wrong…

Strap in for a strange and wondrous ride — Anna Dorn’s “Exalted” will take you down a rabbit hole of desire and self-worth, and make you look like a cool, hip astrology babe while reading it. 

A vampire novel but make it modern! In the realm of Ottessa Moshfegh’s “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” (which is another great cover), “Woman Eating” isn’t for those looking for something more plot-driven. Claire Kohda tells the story of Lydia, a mixed-race vampire struggling to feed her constant hunger while balancing a life living with humans. It’s character-driven and, like the cover, extremely vibey. 

This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.

Jordan Snowden

Contributor

Jordan Snowden is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh whose work has been published in The Seattle Times, Pittsburgh City Paper and elsewhere. She also runs @jord_reads_books, a book-focused Instagram account where she connects with other bookworms. In her free time Jordan can be found with a book in her hand or DIYing something with her husband. 

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This Room May Be The Best Place For Your Extra Books

This Room May Be The Best Place For Your Extra Books

Greg Mania and his partner, Pete, live in a 700-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn that’s filled with hundreds of books. Though the space is filled with meaningful objects galore, the rooms don’t feel overly cluttered because the couple strategically placed just about all of their belongings. The most unique thing about Mania’s home just might be how books are displayed everywhere, with stacks and rows used like sculptures nearly everywhere you turn. He has vertical book towers almost to the ceiling in his living room, books placed above the TV on floating shelves, and a line of volumes inside the media cabinet. “The floating bookshelves are so useful, not just for the sheer volume of books I own, but for anything that’s sort of just marooned and needs a permanent home somewhere,” Mania says in his house tour.

One spot in particular stands out as an unexpected place to display books, and that’s the kitchen. In fact, Mania created a row of over a hundred books are organized by color on top of the kitchen cabinets. These aren’t just cookbooks, either, which you do often see in kitchens. These books are all kinds of tomes from the couples’ extensive collection.

When you think about your kitchen cabinets, often there’s a gap in between their tops and the ceiling. Why not utilize this area for books of all types? The only issue is your books getting a little dirty, but that could be fixed with regular dusting. “My home is basically just a storage unit for my books — even the kitchen!” Mania says of his decision to use the tops of the cabinets. “Between work and pleasure, I amass a lot of books every year, so it’s all about organizing them in a way that’s pleasing to the eye, but also sustainable.”

If your book collection is outgrowing your bookshelf, it may be time to consider some out-of-the-box storage solutions, and the top of your kitchen cabinets should be the next spot at the top of your search list.

Savannah West

Home Assistant Editor

Savannah is Assistant Editor for the Home Team at Apartment Therapy. When she’s not writing about style tips, product launches, or interviewing designers, you can catch her re-watching Gossip Girl or on Facetime with her grandma. Savannah is a proud HBCU graduate and Clark Atlanta University alumna who believes there’s nothing good food can’t fix.

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8 Joy-Filled Books to Read This Juneteenth

8 Joy-Filled Books to Read This Juneteenth

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Juneteenth is coming up this week, so you may be looking for books to read about the Black experience. Before grabbing a dense nonfiction book about historical and systemic racism, remember that there is more to Black lives than pain and oppression. While that type of literature is vital to learn from, there are just as many positive and uplifting stories that deserve attention. Juneteenth is a time of celebration, after all. It marks the official end of slavery in America — if that isn’t cause for festivities and a focus on the good in life, then I don’t know what is. 

The following selection of books brought me joy just writing about them. I hope the world these authors have crafted, real or imaginary, brings you pleasure and amusement this month and all year round. 

“Black Oak” is the newest release from poet and founder of the music collective Flowers for the Living Harold Green III. With short, beautiful poems paired with stunning, colorful illustrations (courtesy of Melissa Koby), Green celebrates the accomplishments and just general magnificence of iconic Black men he admires — like Colin Kaepernick, Billy Porter,
Pharrell Williams, Tyler Perry, and Barry Jenkins, among others — who are using their passion and vision to shape the world in loud and quiet ways. Don’t miss his previous book, “Black Roses,” which does the same thing but for phenomenal Black women. 

I will forever scream for the rooftops my love for Brittney Morris’s “SLAY” and how I wish it were around when I was a young, nerdy Black girl. The YA novel follows seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson who is living a double life: In one, she’s a regular straight-A student. In the other, Kiera’s secretly the creator of a multiplayer online role-playing card game called SLAY. In this virtual world, gamers across the African diaspora can duel using cards based on Black culture references. But when a teen is murdered over a dispute in the game, SLAY is catapulted into the spotlight as people worldwide worry not about the young man’s death but instead, whether a game exclusively for Black players is technically a racist space. But, never fear, as the novel unfolds, you realize just how brilliant, fierce, and level-headed Kiera is — someone please make this into a movie! 

The subtitle of this book says it all: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations. In fact, it’s the very first cookbook released that celebrates the holiday. While Juneteenth was just declared a federal holiday in 2021, Black Americans, specifically Black Texans, have honored the day Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and enslaved Texans finally learned that they had been free since 1866. Juneteenth is typically celebrated with cookouts, music, and dancing, and “Watermelon and Red Birds,” from writer and cookbook author Nicole A. Taylor, showcases stories and recipes that have emerged from decades for joyous Juneteenth gatherings.

If you’ve ever indulged in Phoebe Robinson’s stand up comedy or her podcast turned into TV show “2 Dope Queens,” you know that Robinson has a knack for being deeply funny and a bit absurd while using mundane personal experiences to make observations about being a Black woman in America. Her books are no different, and they make for a light, humorous read that provides poignant cultural criticisms. “You Can’t Touch My Hair” is Phoebe Robinson’s first essay collection — she has since published two others, “Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay” and “Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes” — but really, any of her books are an excellent choice. Oh, and I’d be remiss not to mention her new-ish imprint, Tiny Reparations Books, which is “is committed to publishing complex, honest, and humorous work that not only reflects the current conversation but also pushes it forward.”

If there’s one thing that sparks joy, it’s a fun-loving romance that you can get lost in. Enter Talia Hibbert, author of the sexy, diverse Brown Sisters romance series. “Get a Life, Chloe Brown,” the first in the collection, introduces you to Chloe Brown, who, after a near-death experience attempts to “get a life” by creating a list of things she thinks will help her live more fully. Chloe enlists handyman named Red to help her, and let’s just say, things get very steamy from there. If you enjoy this book, there are two more in the series to binge. 

From the author of the bestselling memoir-in-essay collection “Here for It” (which I highly recommend checking out) comes this YA debut about two Black queer best friends, Harrison and Linus. When Harrison finds out Linus is moving out of state at the start of junior year, he decides to throw a send-off for his best friend “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” style. Said to be “infused with all the joy of the best teen movies,” by Buzzfeed, “Kings of B’More” is a charming and amusing epic journey full of queer, Black fun and friendship. 

Combining West African folktales with reimagined Greek and Middle Eastern mythology and history, “Love in Color” is Bolu Babalola’s debut short story collection brimming with lush detail and touching love stories that center around strong Black women. 

The delightful Candice Carty-Williams has a new book titled “People Person” coming out this fall, but until then, you can dive into the world of Queenie, the main character of Carty-Williams’s bestselling debut novel of the same name. When it debuted three years ago, “Queenie” took the literary world by storm, winning the Book of the Year Award at the 2020 British Book Awards and making Carty-Williams the first Black writer to do so. Most recently, the British free-to-air public service television network Channel 4 announced it would be adapting the book for the tiny screen. The plot of “Queenie” is relatively simple; it follows the 25-year-old Queenie, a Jamaican British woman, after a breakup with her long-term boyfriend. But while you laugh and cry at her misadventures, you get a peek into what it’s like living as a Black woman in a gentrified South London.   

Jordan Snowden

Contributor

Jordan Snowden is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh whose work has been published in The Seattle Times, Pittsburgh City Paper and elsewhere. She also runs @jord_reads_books, a book-focused Instagram account where she connects with other bookworms. In her free time Jordan can be found with a book in her hand or DIYing something with her husband. 

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Don’t Neglect This One Thing When You Move

Don’t Neglect This One Thing When You Move

Shifrah Combiths

Contributor

With five children, Shifrah is learning a thing or two about how to keep a fairly organized and pretty clean house with a grateful heart in a way that leaves plenty of time for the people who matter most. Shifrah grew up in San Francisco, but has come to appreciate smaller town life in Tallahassee, Florida, which she now calls home. She’s been writing professionally for twenty years and she loves lifestyle photography, memory keeping, gardening, reading, and going to the beach with her husband and children.

Why Ditching My Yearly Reading Challenge Helped Me Read More Than Ever

Why Ditching My Yearly Reading Challenge Helped Me Read More Than Ever

I used to set a New Year’s resolution to read a certain number of books in a year. One year, I very nearly hit my goal to read 26 books, but fell a few short. Mildly stung by the defeat, I doubled my reading goal the following year. I failed spectacularly and wound up reading even fewer than I read the previous year.

I was perplexed. I have always loved to read, and I thought a reading challenge would motivate me to get through the backlog of unread books I had on my shelf. It did just the opposite. Overwhelmed at the thought of finishing a book a week, I reached for my phone to scroll through social media, marveling at the many Bookstagrammers I followed, who seemed to be reading a book a day. I felt jealous, even though I knew the only answer was to pick up a book and read.

How did I manage to turn a beloved pastime into something that made me feel bad about myself?

“When you’re giving yourself permission to sit and enjoy [reading], you are more likely to stay with it as opposed to forcing it in,” says Kristen Krista, success coach and founder of Pennsylvania-based Platypus Strategists. “You’re trying to meet this goal that might not necessarily be serving you.” 

Krista encouraged me to remove the words have, should, and need from my inner monologue when it came to books, as in “I have to read,” “I should be reading,” or “I need to read more.” So I did. I granted myself permission to just read. This year, I ditched all attempts at conquering a challenge, and I’m reading more than ever. What’s more? I’m enjoying books now instead of seeing them as boxes to check. 

In the morning, I spend about 10 or 15 minutes reading a book while I drink my coffee (which is either tasting better or I’m just enjoying that more, too). I’m trying to be better at taking lunch breaks — I work from home, so lunch typically involves taking a few bites out of dinner leftovers while cleaning up my kitchen. But now, I sit down and eat from an actual plate while I squeeze in a few more minutes of reading time. At night, I put down the phone and pick up a book or my tablet and read a few pages at bedtime, sometimes more if I’m not feeling sleepy. My husband is also an avid reader, so it’s a nice, relaxing way for us to end a long work day.

All told, I’m now reading at least 30 minutes a day without putting any pressure on myself. I’d probably finish books a lot more quickly if I were reading the same book throughout the day, but I’m one of those readers who have three books going at any given time. These days I’m not in a race to get to the last page of any of them. And strangely enough, I’ve actually found that my reading speed has increased. It’s not something I set out to do, but I’ll take it as a happy byproduct of the daily habit I’ve established.

“Reading is such a special thing,” says Krista, noting it doesn’t matter whether you’re picking up a book to learn, imagine, or relax. “If it’s something you take pleasure in and you’re forcing yourself to do it, it counteracts that piece of it you enjoy.”

This is what exactly happened to Erica, an avid reader from New Jersey who runs the Instagram account @therestjustfallsaway. She regularly gets ARCs (advanced reading copies) from independent authors who depend on her and other Bookstagrammers to get the word out about new must-reads. Normally, it’s a dream for her to get the sneak peek of so many wonderful stories. But at one point, it all backfired. 

“The more books being sent to me, the less I was enjoying reading because now it was like I was on a schedule [to finish and post about them],” says Erica. She talks about how some books would sit unopened on her shelves for months, some even a couple of years. “It would make me so mad,” she said.

There’s a happy ending to this story, though. Erica got her reading mojo back by branching out. Her favorite genre is romance, but she realized it was time to open up her shelves to more diverse authors. Rather than try to keep up with the ARCs as they rolled in, she once again gave herself permission to be a “mood reader” — if the mood struck her to pick up a certain book and start reading, she would do just that. Her shelves are still full and always will be, but they no longer overwhelm her.

I indulged in some mood reading recently when I received a gift card to one of my favorite independent Brooklyn bookstores, Books Are Magic. I bought a slew of books that I displayed on my shelf when I got home. I stared at my new titles, then looked over at the backlog I had on other shelves. I could have easily guilted myself into picking up one of the books that had been lingering on my shelf, but I was really excited about one of the novels I had chosen. (It was “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” by Ottessa Moshfegh, for the record.) So I grabbed it, sunk into a comfortable chair, and got lost in the pages. It was a blissful experience, and one that I had been sadly denying myself for far too long, all for a reading challenge that was meant to impress … who? 

In the end, I realized that the challenge was my way of chasing an accomplishment. I like being able to point to a shelf and say, “Why yes, I have read all those books.” But do you know what I like even more? Having unread books waiting for me. And now that I’ve put the enjoyment and fun back into my reading, they won’t have to wait very long.

This piece is part of Go Slow Month, where we’re celebrating taking your time, taking a deep breath, and taking a step back from it all. From deliberate design ideas to tips for truly embracing rest, head over here to see it all.

Barbara Bellesi Zito

Contributor

Barbara Bellesi Zito is a freelance writer from Staten Island, covering all things real estate and home improvement. When she’s not watching house flipping shows or dreaming about buying a vacation home, she writes fiction. Barbara’s debut novel is due out later this year.