“Enter Title Here”

Is the title that important?

Titles to novels are the first thing a reader is introduced to, right? It should contain some kind of indication about what the book is about. But how accurate is that? Some titles have to do with something that comes up during the story. Some titles reflect the overall mood of the book. While others may have double meanings–giving the impression of one thing, but then when you read the book, having it mean something completely different.

The titles to my books are usually short–one to two words max. I like a succinct sum up to one thread through the book. “Illusion” reflects the layers of deception the main character faces, “Revenge” shows the goal of the main character in the story, “Hollow” indicates the pessimistic feel of the rebels, “Spider’s Truth” tells of an unknown  reveal of the villain. But not everyone is a fan of these titles for different reasons.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite book titles and why?


  1. Anonymous

    i am also a fan of short titles that give a hint of what the story is about. my favorite thing to do is find the essence of the title in the core of the story. for some reason, i think that’s important, maybe because, for me, it ties everything together and it makes sense to me at a deeper level. my own poetry always contains one-word titles. my non-fiction writing will vary. some of my fav titles are ‘the shining’ and the hp books because nothing is known from the titles. contradictory, i know, but that’s how my mind works! it must be the magic found inside, of which i’ve always been fond.

  2. In science fiction, I really like titles of stories with extraordinary settings like Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Congo or Heinlein’s Red Planet, even if they’re pretty basic. And while Grisham’s legal thrillers have succinct titles that have almost become a joke (“The _____”), I’ve always felt that they were fitting and accurate.
    As far as ones I don’t like…I may get crucified for this, but I always felt putting Harry Potter’s name in the title of each book was a little redundant. When I was younger, I was very reluctant to start reading the series and it was mostly because the titles sounded pretty juvenile to me. I would have been more apt to read something plainly titled “The Sorcerer’s Stone” or “The Prisoner of Azkaban” without the inclusion of the main character’s name. But…I’m pretty sure that things worked out just fine for J.K. Rowling.

      1. I guess when it comes to modern books. Classic stories like Sherlock Holmes certainly don’t suffer by having the main character’s name in the title. The only modern book that I can think of with the main character’s name in the title would probably be Percy Jackson, and IMO, it’s another book (or series) that I have an aversion to because the name seems so juvenile.

  3. Some of my favourite book titles are ones that are so funny they catch my attention. For example, Brock Clarke wrote a book called “An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England”, a fictional book about a guy who accidentally burnt down a famous writer’s house in New England (it’s a very funny read). Spike Milligan wrote a number of war memoirs from his WWII experiences, and his first one was titled “Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall”. Of course, I also like titles that just sound intriguing, such as the gothic story Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I think as long as the title isn’t corny, that’s the main thing. There are some titles I have heard (which I can’t think of at the moment) which have been so bad I have burst into laughter…never a good sign. 😛

    1. Funny titles are always great, especially when they get it right. It’s hard to tell sometimes what’s corny and what isn’t. I guess asking a multitude of people first would help with that. And if you ever think of any of those bad titles…

      1. Hahaha, when I think of those bad titles I’ll let you know, for sure! 🙂
        And funnily enough, I find sometimes making a title not corny is as simple as changing words around. For example, I had called a story “A boxful of memories” and hated it, but as soon as I switched it around to “The Memory Box” it suddenly sounded a lot better. Likewise, I know Rushdie felt the same about Children of Midnight…until he changed it around to Midnight’s Children.

  4. A title of a more recent book I read, Blue Nights, really stood out to me. I loved the author’s description of Blue Nights, the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning”. I adore dark and meaningful books. Her title drew me right in.

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