Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Can you judge a book by the title?

We all know you can’t judge a book by its cover. Although, I’ll say the cover to the very first edition of The Lord of the Rings I ever read is pretty awesome – but I digress.

The point here is, can you judge a book by the title? I’d still say no, but I really like the following titles (from the 350 GreatestNovels). Some I’ve liked, some I’ve disliked, some I’ve yet to read, but all have wonderfully appealing titles.

The Sound and the Fury
Blood Meridian
Gone with the Wind
Pale Fire
The Call of the Wild
The Sheltering Sky
Atlas shrugged
A Dance to the Music of Time
Of Mice and Men
The Power and the Glory
Jude the Obscure
The Way of All Flesh
Tender is the Night
At the Mountains of Madness
The Age of Innocence
Something Wicked this Way Comes
A Confederacy of Dunces
The House of Mirth
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
An Artist of the Floating World
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
The Man Without Qualities

But the easy winner is If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. It’s romantic, and mysterious, and has three powerfully evocative words. And to top it off, the author has a magnificent name – Italo Calvino. He must have to beat the women off with a stick.

So happens, I’ve read If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. It’s quite unusual, and very good. I’ll get around to a reread, and posting a review eventually.


  1. I've always liked the title The Glass Menagerie. :)

  2. It's a newer title, but I've had "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making" by Catherynne M. Valente on my TBR for a while now simply because the title gives me happy goosebumps :) As for classics, Hardy's "Far From The Maddening Crowd" has always ranked towards the top for me.

    1. Yes those are both good. I was restricting myself to classics, but since you broached contemporary lit, I'll add...the one and only book I've ever picked up merely because of the title...The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which may also be the only YA novel I've read. It was very good, though I can't say now, what the title might have implied.

  3. Tennessee Williams indeed is a master of titles:
    Favorites " Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
    "Streetcar Named Desire"
    Strange can also attract a reader "2666". I just had to know what it meant! (Bolaño)

    1. Indeed...very enticing titles, though on a technicality the two by Tee-Dub are plays not books. ;)

  4. Titles entrance me. Both as a writer and a reader. Some of my favorites:

    Anatomy of a Murder
    By Myself
    Fortunately, the Milk
    Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper
    Let's Pretend this Never Happened
    Ordinary Thunderstorms
    Paper Towns
    Steal Like an Artist
    Too Many Cooks
    Wishes, Lies, and Dreams

    I like some of those books better than others, but the titles all strike me as interesting all on their own.

    1. Yep...a good title can entice you, but it can let you down as well.


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