All the Covers of the Rainbow: Black

Inspired by the “Book Cloud” that hangs over our front desk, pictured above, welcome to All the Covers of the Rainbow.

We all know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate them. A beautiful cover can grab a reader and draw them into the book before they even look at the first page. In this blog series All the Covers of the Rainbow, we’ll highlight a collection of books that share the same cover color.

Photo of Darth Vader

This week, we’re talking about a color you won’t find on any color wheel: Black. It’s not a primary, secondary, or tertiary color; in fact, it’s not even considered a color. According to hisour.com, “Black can be defined as the visual impression experienced when no visible light reaches the eye…Black is the absorption of all colors of light, or an exhaustive combination of multiple colors of pigment.” We can discover black in all other colors, as it’s required for depth and variation of hue in the other parts of the rainbow. Black has also had an important influence on art, literature, and culture. The world’s first printed book, The Gutenberg Bible, used black text on white paper since the contrast between the two colors made it the easiest to read. In 1927, Coco Chanel created a line of simple but elegant black suits and dresses, giving us the wardrobe staple we know today as the Little Black Dress. In theatre and cinema, villains and criminals often appear wearing black. Just think of the memorable costumes of Darth Vader, The Wicked Witch of the West, and any number of antagonists in classic country western films. Psychologically, black can make us more confident and increase our sense of potential.

Each book cover below is also a link to purchase the book on Bookshop.org, which supports local, independent bookstores. We also strongly encourage you to support your local bookstores by ordering online. They need our help more than ever, and we need them to stick around.

Written by Matthew Masino


“As I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran book cover
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by August Wilson book cover
Jaws by Peter Benchley book cover
The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives book cover

“We still tiptoe around having an honest discussion about what it really means to exist while Black in this country. All lives can’t matter if Black lives don’t matter.”

―D.B. Mays, Black Lives, Lines, and Lyrics

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman book cover
Burn This Book: Notes on Literature and Engagement edited by Toni Morrison book cover
A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Aburraqib book cover
Nigger: An Autobiography by Dick Gregory with Robert Lipsyte book cover

“Hades raised an eyebrow. When he sat forward in his throne, shadowy faces appeared in the folds of his black robes, faces of torment, as if the garment was stitched of trapped souls from the Fields of Punishment, trying to get out.”

―Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space by Janna Levin book cover
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones book cover
Forgiving What You Can't Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That's Beautiful Again by Lysa Terkeurst book cover
Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom book cover

“The Black Panther lives. And when he fights for the fate of Wakanda, I will be right beside him.”

―Shuri (Letitia Wright), Black Panther.
Screenplay by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake book cover
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, a National Book Lovers Day Staff Pick from the American Writers Museum in Chicago
Looking for Alaska by John Green book cover
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab book cover

“As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”

―Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson book cover
The Godfather by Mario Puzo book cover
The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer book cover

Matthew Masino is a content creator, writer, and theatre director based in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated with a B.F.A. in Theatre Directing from Columbia College Chicago in 2019. Matthew began writing for the AWM blog in April 2020, just after the museum’s closure and has since written more than two dozen articles for the blog. He is also responsible for creating the AWM Destinations blog series. As a theatre artist, Matthew has worked with the International Voices Project, the Chicago Fringe Festival, and BYOT Productions. You can learn more by visiting his website www.matthewmasino.com.

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