This week’s topic is tricky—books we’d give different titles to. We found that it’s hard to disassociate a book from its title. The title becomes a sort of symbol for the book rather than a combination of words. However, we still managed to come up with ten books that fit the bill!
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
I remember seeing this book on display at The Strand when I worked there and thinking that I would never read a book with that title (or that cover). It just sounds vaguely epic. Having read (and absolutely loved) the book, it makes more sense—but I still think Brandon could have chosen another title.
Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Another one for Brandon—this is a title that meant nothing to me until the last 30% of the book. It’s just another fantasy book with a _____ of _____ title.
Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
I’ll just say it—I don’t like most epic fantasy titles. This is one of the worst offenders… it sounds like the name of a romance of some kind. Ick.
Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan
Technically this is the name of a collection of two books, but I’m still going to use it. This isn’t the only fantasy book that uses the word “empire” as an abstract noun. I can’t find anything in Merriam Webster that says this is okay. I know the English language is fuzzy and rules can be bent, but come on. You wouldn’t say “Empire Strikes Back.” It just sounds weird.
The ______’s ______
The Orphan Master’s Son. The Time Traveler’s Wife. The Clockmaker’s Daughter. The Dog Walker’s Podiatrist. Dear publishers: please stop this nonsense. I get that these titles convey a certain genre. I get that these titles are nifty in that they convey two characters at once and a possible relationship between them. But there is no quicker way for my eyes to gloss over a book than a title like this.
My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Besides the fact that it shares the title with Hitler’s book . . . it’s just not a great title for what’s between the covers.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Maybe I’m biased because I felt really let down by the last book in the trilogy (soon to be quartet?), but I wasn’t a fan of this title.
The Children Act by Ian McEwan
This one just sounds like an awkward sentence in a grade school book.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
For some reason this one always sounded cheesy to me.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Marukami
After I finished the book, I felt like the title didn’t capture the story.