With 2 new books coming out within the next year I’ve been told by publishers to get onto social media. I found that online SMILING isn’t what it used to be.
The Porn Lite novel Fifty Shades of Grey unleashed a flood of books parodying the title. My favourite was about men’s sheds called, naturally, Fifty Sheds of Grey. Even in those genres considered more worthy – neither Fifty Shades nor Sheds of Grey will appear on the school curriculum – novel titles often follow a trend.
So here are 7 of the most recent and annoying novel title trends along with a few titles to avoid:
1. Curious and Cute
The Curious and Cute Title genre problably started way back with The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. So ethereal. So ‘don’t know really what it means, do you?’. Now we are over run with incidents, cute or curious or both.
The Curious Tail of the Dog in the Night
The Lost Time Incidentals
The City of Elevators
The Fault in Our Stairs
The Ministry of Utmost Incompetence
This genre takes two nouns that have nothing to do with each other and slams them together to garner interest, I guess. Grapes of Wrath by Jonh Steinbeck is an early contender. Eventhough the term ‘grapes of wrath’ comes from a line in The Battle Hymn of the Republic it still makes no sense even as a metaphor. Grapes just don’t conjure wrath-like images. Angels, God, emperors or armies might do the trick. But not grapes or gooseberries or cumquats.
The Gladioli and the Squid
Of Mice and Menopause
Milk and Sticky Stuff that Isn’t Honey
3. Three Small Awkward Words
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult and more recently Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty all fall into, what is now, a definite title genre. Other names to avoid include:
Small Big Headaches
Damn Long Forks
Joy Lick Boots
4. Things especially Lost Things
We started losing things way back when, according to Milton, we carelessly lost the big one in Paradise Lost. Reading Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time lost a great deal of time for readers of the seven volumes. Since then we have lost cities (eg. The Lost City of Z by David Gran), lost innocence all over the place (There are many such titles) and lost lots and lots of children. (eg. The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante). But mostly, it seems, we just lose things. eg. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan or things are structurally unreliable. eg. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
The Irrelevance of Small Things
Where the Wild Things Get Their Haircuts
When bad things happen to people who don’t expect bad things to happen
5. Wives and Daughters
When Amy Tan was out of joy and luck, she turned to daughters in The Bonesetter’s Daughter. If the bonesetter stuffed up, then The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates knew her dad had work to do. But it is the wives of Senators, Shoemakers, Soldiers, Saddlemakers, Railwaymen, Prisoners, Poets and Lighthouse Keepers, who are long suffering. Obviously, women still cannot live i nteresting lives of their own and are made interesting by their husbands form of employment. Really? Here are some titles to avoid:
The Axegrinder’s Daughter
The Clairvoyant’s Wife (He knew. Why did he marry her?)
The Ex-Husbands New Wife (See bad things happen above)
The Daughter who would not listen to the Preacher’s Wife
6. The Man
From The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway to A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt to the Man with the Golden Gun by Ian Fleming there have been plenty of reasons why a man should tie up his man-bun, go to his man cave and settle down for a good read of his ‘man’ book. Anytime now we might see the following on the book shelves:
The Man with the Annal Itch
A Man Called Inkblot
The Man with the Golden Gut
A Man for All Seasonings (It will be a cookbook)
7. The Girl
The Lost Girl by D. H. Lawrence gave literary weight to the book with ‘girl’ in the title. The Girl in the Title! That could be a literary book title today, but ‘the girl in the’ title genre has been done to death. eg.Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The girl on the train wasn’t even a girl. She was an over thirty, misrable, dysfunctional alcoholic. The book should have been titled ‘Girl on a Train Goes into Rehab’. Nevertheless I bellieve the following titles are still available:
The Girl with the Turkey Tattoo
Girl with the Green Moustache
The Girl with the Glowing Eyes (Really, it was just blue screen reflection)
Other Titles Currently Available:
All That I Could Hum
The Crack in the Big Thing
The Light Below the Other Big Thing
D is for D’Oh!
The Spy who came in for Mother’s Day
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for Someone Who Gave a Sh**
The Budgies of War
On Her Majesty’s Silver Service
Billionairres are for Bonking
The End of the Thing that I Should Never Have Started