Judging a Book by its Title

Anat Tikker

“Title-mania afflicts the greatest as well as the humblest.”

How strongly does a book title impact your decision to read it?   I’d bet they’re as important as catchy wine labels – and that books and bottles are bought for those reasons alone.   In author Andy Martin’s commentary in The New York Times, Is This Title OK?, he explores the difficulties of finding the right title.  An author may agonize over a title only to have the publisher reject their favorite.   Looking at current bestselling fiction, you see titles ranging from descriptive (The Boy in the Suitcase) to obscure (Beautiful Disaster).  Some titles truly give you the flavor and subject of the story while others try too hard to be arbitrary and stylish.

I recently read Alexander Fuller’s Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness and thought that was a great title (and book).   Another book I read attracted me with its funny title – I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids.  Do you have a favorite book title?


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