The great book title. Much like the yeti, it is a mystical creature that often eludes the hardiest of searches. Oftentimes it is mistakenly spotted in the woods, but let’s be honest: when you see Sasquatch, you know it’s Sasquatch. (Also a great title is hairy and best viewed on grainy video. Yay metaphors!)
I have seen books go through twenty tentative titles before a final title was finally chosen, and it’s often an agonizing choice. There’s a reason for that: a great title can really capture a reader’s attention and can separate a book from the pack. Although they’re great books that suceeded on their own merits, no doubt titles like HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS, SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS and THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST helped set those books apart.
So you tell me: you don’t have to have read the book or even liked it, but what is your favorite book title of all time? As always, you can only pick one. Why? Because I’m mean. (And it’s more fun that way.)
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my online classes (NEW!), my guide to writing a novel and my guide to publishing a book.
And if you like this post: subscribe to my newsletter!
I came to this late tonight –
Favorite book title: “Are You Loathsome Tonight” by Poppy Z Brite.
Favorite Movie title: “Sorority Babes at the Slime Ball Bowlerama”
The Neverending Story or in the original German: Die Unendliche Geschichte (at least according to Wikipedia)
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
The Winter Of Our Discontent…
Not only does it have a good sound to it. It is relevant to the story.
EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES, always struck me as a memorable title. Based on the comments deleted, I have to believe someone must have come up with THE NO [expletive deleted]RULE: BUILDING A CIVILIZED WORKPLACE AND SURVIVING ONE THAT ISN’T. It’s non-fiction, but come on — it’s a catchy title.
Josephine Damian says
“Because it is Bitter, and Because it is My Heart” by Joyce Carol Oates
Invokes curiosity, emotion, and makes you want to read more.
HOLLOW CHOCOLATE BUNNIES OF THE APOCOLYPSE by Christopher Moore. I didn’t know who he was at all, but that title caught my eye. I’ve been a fan of his writing since.
Favorite movie title: CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL. If you are into Troma films, this is the best one.
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (Carolyn Mackler) has tickled my funny bone since I first heard it.
I have to go with “THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER”
The title still gives me chills long after I’ve forgotten major parts of the plot.
STEAL THIS BOOK.
Nocturnal Princess says
A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly. Chills run down my neck.
Elsewhere by Will Shetterly.
Followed by (or preceded by, depending on your mode of travel): The Hitchhiker’s Guide Trilogy.
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy
A Corner of the Universe
The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley, Who Planned to Live an Unusual Life
The only two books I bought based on their titles were: FIRE IN THE EARTH and Dohttps://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=5334836757176538347&postID=6655639476037421689steyevsky’s THE IDIOT
I loved Dean Koontz’ THE WATCHERS. Now I’m wondering if I have to buy I”D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I”D HAVE TO KILL YOU
Love in the Time of Cholera
The Sound and the Fury
The Red and the Black
A Series of Unfortunate Events (okay, a series title, but still, awesome)
War and Peace
Oh, there is more…
writtenwyrdd: According to amazon.com, the author of _Hollow Chocolate Bunnies…_ is Robert Rankin. Has Christopher Moore written under a pseudonym, or was that just a slip? I *adore* all things Christopher Moore, so if there’s more Moore hiding out there somewhere, do tell!
R.J. Anderson says
My brother thinks In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead (James Lee Burke) is the best title ever. Me, I keep wanting to put “the” in between “with” and “Confederate”.
But that also reminds me that I think Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a fab title, even though I’ve only seen “Blade Runner” and never got around to reading Philip K. Dick’s original book.
Obviously, long quirky titles that make you wonder what on earth the book could possibly be about (and yet give you just enough of a clue to be intriguing) are the big grabber for me.
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Zen of Writing says
Welcome to the Monkey House
The Day of the Triffids
The End of Mr Y
The Brothers Karamazov (wouldn’t work as well as The Karamazov Brothers)
Down and Out in Paris and London
Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World
Even Thai Girls Cry
“The City in Which I Love You” Li-Young Lee
Les Misérables. Very simple, very evocative.
dana p says
Ten Thousand Light Years From Home
Bastard Out of Carolina
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Look Homeward, Angel
Too Late the Phalarope
Mothers and Other Monsters
I Am a Camera
The Sheep Look Up
“The Secrets of Walking Erect”, it is the title to a book I’ve never written.
I always loved the title and wanted to write it some day. Sort of an instruction manual about being human. The closest current thing to it isthe video “Dance Monkeys Dance” by Ernest Cline
Even though I’m not a big Salinger fan, and even though it’s a short story, I’m going to have to go with:
A PERFECT DAY FOR BANANAFISH
The word LOLITA became synonymous with a provocative young female only AFTER Nabokov had written it. So, at the time he titled his novel, it was merely a female given name. Guess you know your title has really succeeded when it passes into the common lingo.
M.W. : Faulkner stole the title THE SOUND AND THE FURY from Shakespeare. Although he was smart enough to steal only the very best, I don’t think he should get the credit for the brilliance of that title.
The only book I can recall buying for its title alone was Fits Like a Rubber Dress by Roxane Ward.
One of the most evocative titles has to be Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. My heart breaks just reading the title.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES is also from Shakespeare. (It’s in Macbeth, Act IV, I think.)
I guess Shakespeare is just awesome. And apparently dreamy :).
And we can add INFINITE JEST to this list of titles lifted from the Bard.
COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE by Neil Steinberg and I STILL MISS MY MAN BUT MY AIM IS GETTING BETTER by Sarah Shankman
oops! (picked two; cannot follow directions; goes to the back of the line)
Tom Burchfield says
“All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By” by John Farris. Pretty good southern horror gothic novel, too.
The Aforementioned Bimbos … is one of my favorite titles, as is the novella title “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” – and the story lives up to the strange name.
Stupid White Men, by Michael Moore. A title that totally sums up the Bush administration.
I don’t think STUPID WHITE MEN does quite sum up the Bush administration…. You wouldn’t want to leave out a certain stupid black female, and a certain stupid Latino male, would you? In fact, the Bush administration has a pretty good record in terms of hiring stupid people of all sexes and ethnicities.
“writtenwyrdd: According to amazon.com, the author of _Hollow Chocolate Bunnies…_ is Robert Rankin. Has Christopher Moore written under a pseudonym, or was that just a slip? I *adore* all things Christopher Moore, so if there’s more Moore hiding out there somewhere, do tell!”
Yeah, I erred. BFD.