Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.
This week Billy asks: Do you think a book's title is important?
I love a good title for a book. Sometimes a great title is a simple one, like Frank Herbert's Dune, which captures the essence of the story in one word. Sometimes a title just sounds good like Poul Anderson's No Truce with Kings or Samuel R. Delany's Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand. The problem is that sometimes a great title can be attached to a book that is just ordinary - like Isaac Asimov's The Stars, Like Dust.
A great book title is like an invitation that makes you want to pick the volume up and read it. And when a title and a book align properly, it is a magical combination. In some cases, it is hard for me to now separate a book from its title and evaluate the title on its own merits. Is Gateway a good title, or do I think of Gateway as being a good title because Pohl wrote such a good book that bore the name? That's a conundrum that I don't think will ever be solved. But when an evocative title is put on a book that is not very good, or is even merely mediocre, it is like being promised a great meal that turns out to taste like ash.
Oddly, it is hard to come up with good examples of the opposite phenomenon - good books with lousy titles. I suspect that this is, in part, because once I have read a good book, even a dull and uninspiring title becomes associated with the book in my mind, and I unconsciously retroactively recast the title as a decent one. On the other hand, once I've read a book that turns out to be awful, then that title, no matter how innocuous, becomes associated with the terrible book and, once again, retroactively becomes a lousy title. I point to titles like PureHeart and Dark Dawning as examples of terrible titles, but there is a good chance that that is because the books they are attached to are so very awful.
So yes, I think titles are important, but I also think that assessment of titles becomes inextricably intertwined with the quality of the book itself, making it almost impossible to evaluate a title on its own unless one hasn't read the book it is attached to.
Previous Book Blogger Hop: Aleister Crowley Created Thelema, Which Uses 93 as Shorthand for Its Law
Subsequent Book Blogger Hop: e.e. cummings Published "95 Poems" in 1958
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