Best book titles.

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by Bebelina, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    So, if you were to write a book what would you call it?
    What titles of already written books do you like the most?
    Is a short title more appealing than a long?
    How should it be placed on the cover and what font?
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    Casca: God of Death
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. Killjoy Propelling The Farce!! Valued Senior Member

    Propelling The Farce !!!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    In no particular order - and whatever happened to drift into my mind at the moment...

    Alas, Babylon
    The Transmigration of Souls
    The Gulag Archipeligo
    Blood: A Southern Fantasy
    All My Sins Remembered
    The Integral Trees
    Failure Is Not An Option
    Live From Golgotha

    Makes no difference to me.

    I sorta dig it when they devise some manner of whack-assed font intended to serve as a sort of trade mark for the author. I seem to recall a number of Frank Herbert's works being issued with a particular stylized font for the title & author...

    I could pretty much care less how they arrange it on the cover, though - or if a particular font is used. If the layout happens to catch my eye, what the hey. If not, a title which interests me would still do so.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    I own copies of those!
    Len Deighton/ William Barton/ Mike Moorcock/ Joe Haldeman/ Larry Niven from memory.

    How about Repent Harlequin, said the Ticktockman and Flow my tears, the policeman said?
    (Respectively Harlan Ellison and Philip K Dick).
    Or Zelazny's And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee.

    At one time when I was busy writing my blockbuster SF trilogy (in 5 parts) the working title was I Wish You Were Him, So That I Could Love Both of You Together - which rapidly got shortened to the nearly-pronounceable IWYWYSTICLBOYT.
  8. Kat9Lives Registered Senior Member

    bbhahahahah... catchy title !!
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    1. So, if you were to write a book what would you call it?

    It would depend upon what the book was about ,as an example if I were to write about the ecology and its destruction I'd think about a name that would relate to that subject such as

    "Poisoned Earth'

    2. What titles of already written books do you like the most?

    Many, I'm not naming them all but "Jaws" Stranger In A Strange Land" and The Foundation"

    3. Is a short title more appealing than a long?

    Yes, to me , as long as it catches my attention.

    4. How should it be placed on the cover and what font?

    Bold enough to see from 5 feet away when people are walking by the book shelves.
  10. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    That was a good one.

    Frank Herbert,very likeable covers.

    Big letters, good idea.
  11. SilentLi89 Registered Senior Member

    I like short titles, one to two word titles. I find them more mysterious for some reason, it makes me want to read the book already, without having seen the summary yet. Titles like It or Next
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Something of an answer

    I'm always hesitant to give away a title, but among my projects under perpetual development:

    Parsec Zion: A Letter to the Planet Earth — I came up with this one over fifteen years ago, and have no idea what I'll call the book when I get around to finishing it; at the time, "Zion" referred to a certain form of Christianity present in the northwestern United States, and probably nationwide—the book is intended as an allegory of European Christian hegemony set in the future, on another planet.

    Frontier Guard — Currently in development and writing. No projected date for this sci-fi adventure, though I'm hoping to finish a draft before summer. I know my characters, and the general plot arc, but I keep hanging myself on technical and specific plot details; I've followed some questionable advice, which has resulted in the project repeatedly stalling.

    Hopeful Moon: The First Book of the Dreaming Nation — The dark fantasy I intend to write for my daughter. I know my central characters and the general plot arc, but haven't done any specific development work recently. If I don't do Frontier Guard this year, I'll give this one another shot.​

    Some of my favorite extant titles:

    The Off Season, by Jack Cady — Hard to describe this novel, except that it is a fictional representation of history in Puget Sound combined with a narrative that is often described as "magic realism".

    Days of Magic, Nights of War, by Clive Barker — The second book of the Abarat quartet, aimed at young readers, appealing to adults, and illustrated with oil paintings by Mr. Barker himself.

    The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, by Douglas Adams — The second Dirk Gently novel; a comedic interpretation of British culture.

    Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart, by Joyce Carol Oates — A powerful drama of neurosis, cultural history, psychological development, and murder. One of the best-written novels in American literature.

    The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien — Linked fiction surrounding a soldier's experiences in the Vietnam War.

    A Graveyard for Lunatics, by Ray Bradbury — Second of a trilogy; a wild ride involving a young, unnamed writer (allegorically Bradbury himself) working his way through Hollywood studio politics and the concomitant mysteries and scandals. The title refers to a line of dialogue characterizing the ways of Tinseltown.​

    Short or long, titles should somehow connect not only to the plot, but the subtextual themes. Or so says me. Steven Brust's Taltos Cycle is intended to run through nineteen volumes. Eighteen of the titles will consist of one word: there is Taltos, referring to his character, and then one each for the seventeen houses of the fantasy society—e.g., Jhereg, Yendi, Orca, &c.; Tiassa is due out in March—and the nineteenth story will be called The Final Contract, referring to the central protagonist's former employment as an organized-crime assassin. In each of the one-word titles, the title house figures significantly in the plot; Dragon, for instance, centered around a war between two "Dragonlords", while Iorich involved the fantasy empire's justice system, which is largely entrusted to the House of the Iorich, and Dzur, while it largely pertained to dealings between factions of the House of the Dragon, includes much of the Enchantress of Dzur Mountain (strangely, affiliated with the House of the Dragon), and begins developing a new character, a young "Dzurlord" known as Telnan or Zungaron, in such a manner that the story depends on these people.

    Cady's The Off Season refers to tourism in a small town in Washington state, and the scandals that take place outside of public view, but are known through gossip or the historical record. It is also worth noting Cady's short story, "By Reason of Darkness", which reflects some of the reasons he liked to work in mystical realms. Consider, as such, the phrase, "by reason of insanity", and juxtapose that with the seemingly eternal presence of evil in the world. Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart is an outstanding title, reflecting the psychological development of the book's protagonist, a young girl who lives with the implications of a murder in a small New York town. The Things They Carried derives from a certain passage in one of the thematically-linked short stories, describing the burdens of the soldiers fighting their way through Vietnam.

    As to title design, that's mostly a marketing question. Too often, genre fiction includes dramatic fonts and images that don't necessarily match up with the stories. Megan Lindholm once expressed that she didn't like the satyr drawn for the cover of Cloven Hooves; in the early days of the Taltos cycle, Brust's protagonist, Vlad Taltos, whose descent is something corresponding to what we would recognize as Romani (Roma Gypsy), was often depicted with more Teutonic features.

    But title and cover design also depend on the stories. To the one, I'm a fan of the old maroon and gold cover of The Catcher in the Rye, and also the later reprint black and white covers with small bands of covers for Salinger's stories. To the other, though, Clive Barker's Weaveworld had an intriging cover in its original issue, featuring classic font and image elements most defined by the border of a rug. Some other of Barker's books had striking covers, e.g., The Books of Blood in reprint. The Cabal (known cinematically as Nightbreed) cover was silly.

    I have probably spent more time than necessary considering the covers of my own future novels. It will be a simple, serif font, and if I have my way, the covers will be defined by a certain simple design. Of course, there is no way a publisher who picks up my first novel will agree to such a bland presentation, but I think it beats paying an artist to draw or paint some chintzy picture that misrepresents the story.

    Fonts are a tough question. For "mainstream" fiction, when I get around to writing it, I would probably prefer a sans serif font, since I'm more of a postmodernist in those voices. But a classic serif font for genre fiction, since I prefer certain voices that have strong roots. Remember that the cover is usually the first impression someone has of the book itself, and thus sets certain constraints about their expectations. Effective covers, for both fonts and images, that I recall, include David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars, Matthew Pallamary's Land Without Evil, and Jack Cady's Inagehi. None of these conflict with the voice found inside the book, and even lend something substantial.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I'm attracted to a book because I like the author or the genre, because it was recommended by someone who knows my tastes, or because my interest was piqued by a well-written review. Very rarely because of a catchy title. I actually did pick up The Life of Pi because I thought it was going to be math/sci-fi, but the blurb on the jacket disabused me of that notion. I bought it anyway because I liked the writing style. I rather enjoyed it right up until the ending, which I thought was a cop-out.
  14. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    Tiassa, how you really not yet published a book...not even ONE?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Well, I'm working on one myself, hence the topic, some titles I have in mind are:

    Endless suffering
    Point Blank

    Thought the last one was kinda funny. Overused I'm sure, must be many books out with that title, won't even check.

    Is there some rule that says you can't have the same title as an already published book?
  15. ScaryMonster I’m the whispered word. Valued Senior Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    "Mona Lisa Overdrive" was a pretty catchy title
  16. Ja'far at-Tahir Grand Ayatollah of SciForums Registered Senior Member

    Why has no one mentioned Khushwant Singh yet? What the devil is wrong with you people? With Malice Towards One and All? Come on!
  17. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member

    humph, i'm SURE i saw a book titled "talk the walk" in a bookstore before, but it seems itwass actually "walk the talk"...taking the walk would've been useful

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  18. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

  19. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    Or these:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I'd like to point out these are all genuine books. And the 'Pocket Book of Boners' doesn't come in a pop-up version.
  20. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    Tender is the Night
    Twilight of the Idols
    Across the River and Into the Trees
    Delta of Venus
    At the Mountains of Madness
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2010
  21. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Sometimes a Great Notion

    By Ken Kesey (more famous for One Flew Over the Cucoos Nest)

    Also made into a very good movie starring Henry Fonda, Paul Newman & Lee Remick, but the movie didn't do well and got re-released as Never Give an Inch.
  22. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    My favorite book titles (of many of my favorite books):

    A Confederacy of Dunces
    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
    The Doors of Perception
    Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine
    Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
    The Crying of Lot 49
    Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
    We Can Remember It For You Wholesale
    A Scanner Darkly
    "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman

    ...and damned near everything Lovecraft ever wrote. There's a few stand-out individual titles but - like everything about the guy's work - the real awesomeness resides at the mosaic level. Almost all of the individual instances are disposable, but taken as a whole they are So. Fucking. Metal.
  23. ScaryMonster I’m the whispered word. Valued Senior Member

    The working Title of the book I'm writing is "Notes of a Transdimentional Super Deity" but I think I'll end up calling it "Technofabrica"
    Can you guess from the Titles what it's about?

Share This Page