The 'The Weird Attraction of Book Titles' Formula

I was musing about book titles this afternoon during the adverts in a certain TV quiz show to which I’ve become strangely addicted (OK, I’ll tell you, it’s The Chase).  Enough of that, back to book titles.

It struck me that I’ve read loads of, and own many more, books whose titles follow a formula which goes: “The Something of Forename Surname.”  Some examples (links to my reviews) are…

      • The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paul Lichtarowicz
      • The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice
      • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
      • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
      • The Selected Works of TS Spivet by Reif Larsen
      • The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
      • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

I admit I am drawn to titles following this formula. If I encounter one on a book, I’ll inevitably pick it up to have a further look.  The name has to be right – they have to help us imagine the character they belong to. The ‘something’ also has to have something about it too.

At this point I tried to make up some titles that didn’t work – The Ironing Pile of Annabel Gaskell – that couldn’t be a book title, although sad but true, it is just plain silly!  How about The signature of Joe Bloggs ?  I can’t help thinking that the word signature turns Joe Bloggs into a potentially interesting character.

So I challenge you, dear reader, just for fun, to come up with a plausible title for a novel following this formula  that really doesn’t work. 😉

0 thoughts on “The 'The Weird Attraction of Book Titles' Formula

  1. Leah says:

    Very interesting! I’d never noticed that trend before, but I have a few titles to add to that list: “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”

  2. farmlanebooks says:

    You’re right – I have no interest in your ironing pile! I think the secret to creating boring titles is to use boring objects. How about:

    The Windscreen Wiper of Jennifer Young
    The Sock of Louise West
    The Bread Bin of Oliver Black

  3. Jenny says:

    I like the notion of something quite close to working that doesn’t exactly: The Extrapolation of Anna Krentz. The Concatenation of Bethlehem Travers.

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