I found this week’s topic to be a little difficult to write about. I really love when books have special extra touches like decorative art, but lately all the books I have been reading haven’t even had chapter titles, let alone decorative headers. I found it really hard to find books that I would recommend to readers that had something besides “Chapter 1…Chapter 2…Chapter 3.” After digging through my bookshelves, I think I found some good reads to share with you. I really wanted to include Harry Potter on this list, because those illustrations will always bring back happy thoughts for me, but I’m trying not to include those books in every T5W post I do. (Also, I’m sure Throne of Glass will be making an appearance in many T5W posts this week, but I don’t own it yet so I didn’t want to include it.) So, anyway, now on to the main event – my Top 5 Favorite Chapter Headers are…..
5. Timeline by Michael Crichton (Goodreads)
This book doesn’t actually have decorative chapter headings, but what it does have is chapter titles that are a timeline countdown, instead of “Chapter 1…Chapter 2…etc.” I am always a sucker for a book that incorporates anything creative like that. Timeline is a race-through-time novel by the great Michael Crichton, the man who brought us Jurassic Park. It is a sci-fi adventure that also incorporates some historical fiction, taking the reader back in time to 14th-century France. I have read a bunch of Michael Crichton’s books, and Timeline is by far my favorite. This is one of the few books that I have reread multiple times, because it is just so much fun. I think I might have to pull this one out and give it a reread sometime soon.
4. Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Goodreads)
Stardust is a really quirky fantasy / fairy tale story and in my opinion, I LOVE when stories in this genre include extra touches like intricate chapter headers. It really seems to add to the story for me. The sections of Stardust are divided by decorative full-size pages that really add to the whimsy of the story. Stardust also has some great chapter titles as well, such as Chapter 1: “In Which We Learn of the Village of Wall, and of the Curious Thing That Occurs There Every Nine Years.” Everything about this book is a little quirky, and I totally eat it up. For me, especially within the fantasy genre, little touches like these decorations really add to the reading experience and, in this case, make a fantastic work by the great Gaiman even more special.
3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares (Goodreads)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series always reminds me of my childhood. This was a set of books that I read multiple times when I was younger because the story just made me feel like I was a part of the sisterhood. The chapters in this series are separated by full pages with a picture of the infamous pants overlaid with a quote that is sometimes serious, and sometimes funny. One of my favorites is “Sometimes you’re the windshield: sometimes you’re the bug” – a quote that often seems very applicable to my life. These quotes set the reader up for the tone of the following chapter and relate to what the girls are going through at the time. It is a fun way to break up the book and helps the reader switch more easily between the multiple story lines.
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor (Goodreads)
Technically, this series doesn’t have very interesting chapter headers – just a basic chapter title before the story begins. However, I am taking some liberties with this topic here. Laini Taylor includes some fantastic pages that separate the sections of her books. They are not ornate, simply decorated with an image of a feather and a short quote. But, man, those quotes are poignant. They completely set the tone for the story that is to come. Headers don’t need to be ornate to be powerful – there’s something to be said for simplicity as well. For example, from Daughter of Smoke and Bone: “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.” Come on, you have to admit, that’s stinking beautiful.
1. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (Goodreads)
The Rithmatist is a fantastic middle grade story by the great Brandon Sanderson himself. In true Sanderson style, the story is built around an entirely unique, complex magic system called Rithmatics, which is a very mathematical way of fighting off the bad guys of this story – monsters called chalklings. Rithmatists use chalk to draw defensive circles on the ground around themselves when they are in battle, and drawing their circles correctly can be the difference between winning and losing – between life and death. It can be a little confusing trying to figure out all these defensive drawings when you are reading, but what is great about this book is that they are all drawn out for you! Each chapter starts with what looks like a page from a Rithmatics textbook, explaining a different type of circle and what it is best used for. It is an added touch that is really helpful to the reader and is also just really fun.
What are some of your favorite chapter headers? Are there any really intricate ones out there?
When you open a book and see it has decorative chapter headers – and everyone thinks you are crazy for squealing with delight…..
…..blame it on the books.