Sunday, January 16, 2011

Put Off By The Book Titles

Have you ever been put off by a book title? I almost didn't read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society because the title sounded so boring (and had no idea what the hack it was supposed to be about). But I'm glad other reviews convinced me to give it a go or I would have never touched this book (the cover didn't attract me either). In fact, Marce @ Tea Time with Marce is having a little contest to rename this book - go give your suggestions! I have to think about it - it's been a while since I read it and I don't remember a whole lot. I just remember a lot of classic books were mentioned, and I had not read any of them so had no idea what they were referring to lol. Yes I read a lot, but not a lot of classics... the books the teachers chose back in high school bored me...

Another book that came to mind was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloots. Since I am not into vampires stuff (not now anyway!), "immortal" doesn't catch my attention, and again it is a book I almost never read because the title sounded boring!

I am reading The Emancipator's Wife by Barbara Nambly (A Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln). Not a book I would've picked based on the title either, but it's my next book club read. I'm enjoying it so far, but it's slow going... it's 600 pages, and I'd been very busy at work, and I'd just been tired... still have half the book to go and only 2 days to read! Hope I can finish...

Anyway, I came across another book while reading my RSS feed, and this is another title that'd have put me off:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkin

Why? It sounds chick-lit-ish (a genre I don't like). It's a YA book and I found that I don't particularly like reading YA focusing on boyfriend/girlfriend, sex and all that. I think that's part of the reason why I didn't like Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver much (my review) - even though the main message wasn't about that, but a lot of the conversations among the characters were on these topics. I remember thinking I'm so glad I don't have a teenager daughter, as I wouldn't know how to deal with that (I guess, if I ever become a mother, it's something I'd learn somehow... but hard to imagine when you're childless / child-free.)

There are some very positive reviews of this book though, but after reading some more reviews I doubt it's for me... Have you read this book? Maybe you can change my mind :)

How about you? Have you been put off by the book titles? I think a book title, and the book cover, attribute a lot to the success of the book. When I browse around in the library or bookstore, those with a nice covers and clever title definitely catch my attention (whether I'll borrow will then depend on the blurb). I found it interesting that the author doesn't have much say in the cover design, and I think I'd read somewhere that they don't get to choose the title either (or maybe it gets changed without needing the author's okay?)... it's almost like you can't name or dress your own child...

By the way - this blog, Better Book Title, is hilarious!  Some recent "rename" includes The Handmaid's Tale and Room. Take a look!


  1. Oh thank you for linking my contest. You made me think of another title actually, lol

    Better Book Title blog won't load properly for me but it does sound hilarious.

    I don't like that the authors lose say, it does feel like it is not there creation fully.

  2. The only reason I haven't read the HeLa book is because of the title and the red/orange glaring cover. The reviews have been so amazing, so I know I'll read it sometime, but it's not a book I would have picked on my own.

  3. Me too on Guernsey whatever. I was TOTALLY turned off by the title (still am!) but when I finally read it, I loved it! I'm glad to see there's a renaming effort going on! I can see your point with French Kiss as well...

  4. Yup..all the time. I felt the same way about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- I had to be talked into that book and ended up really liking it!

    The same is true for the cover- if the design doesn't grab me, I'm much more likely to walk right by it. Or if the cover is too over the top, I'm also going to pass. I'm 32 and love a good romance/chick lit novel- but I'm too damn old to be reading books with half naked men or women on the cover.

  5. Ha, thanks for sharing that link to Better Book Titles. That was great.

  6. I think the book title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and the plot and story is all the more silly and I didn't like it.

    What a mouthful even to pronounce the title, let alone remembering it!

  7. I haven't read French Kiss but I want to :) The reviews have been awesome.