… Do you notice titles?
The was my Big Personal Revelation for the week. As my editor and I were wracking our brains over this latest title, it occured to me that I seldom notice titles on other peoples’ books. Oh, I remember the titles– most of the time– so that’s not the issue. It’s more that title has little effect on why I pick up or reject a new book, since I generally take for granted that the title will have little or nothing to do with the actual content of the book.
I think this is largely because the trend during my formative reading years was to have relatively nondescript titles that had little to do with the actual content of the book. My childhood shelves are packed with “Passion’s Burning Lust”, “Lust’s Burning Passion”, and “Burning Passion’s Lust” (ah, the joys of interchangeable title words). There were all those Amanda Quicks that began with S’s– although I can’t remember now what the actual titles were– and those eternally optimistic Judith McNaught titles, like “Something Wonderful”, “Paradise”, and “Perfect.” Even my mystery novels all sounded the same, with Copenhagen Connections and Camelot Capers running riot through the shelves. Covers were generally a safer guide than title.
I remember titles as a means of identification, but they’re seldom a selling point for me, even the really good titles, like “Through a Glass Darkly” or “I Capture the Castle”. I will admit to a susceptibility, though, not to titles as a whole, but to individual words in titles. Words like “castle”, “king” and “lord” tend to catch my attention (sense a theme?). I always feel very betrayed when these then turn out to be dystopian novels about dysfunctional families in the Bronx in the 1920’s, or something of that ilk.
Do titles have any effect on whether or not you pick up a book? And, if so, is it the title as a whole, or individual words within the title that get to you?