Monday, May 24, 2010

Never Judge a Book by its Title?

So we talked about first lines and how they grab you. And they say never judge a book by its cover (but I bought Wicked Lovely solely on its cover and don't regret a penny of that purchase).

But what about titles? Do you judge a book by its title? Can that make or break a book purchase for you?

Let's look at a few random titles. Which would you read?

1. The Forest of Hands and Teeth


3. The Dreaming Void

4. Shiver

5. The Shadow of Your Smile

Are you hooked? Would you read any of those based on title alone? I haven't read all of them (yet) but must say... I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth solely on the title. Total awesomeness! But when I heard the title The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I was like, WHATEVER! That's something I'd find on my mom's bed-stand. Then I read the reviews. That book is on the wait list for me at the local library.

And, BTW, the Authors:

1. Carrie Ryan
2. Mary Ann Shaffer
3. Peter F. Hamilton
4. Maggie Steifvater
5. Mary Higgins Clark

So, what have you bought/read solely on the title of the book? What titles are so awesome, you'll never forget them?

37 comments:

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

I actually have. I bough Ahmet Zappas The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless because I loved the alliteration in the title. No regrets at all with that purchase either. :)

Janet Johnson said...

Loved the Guernsey Literary etc. But I had your same initial reaction.

And funny, that first one Forest of hands and teeth turned me off. Titles totally influence me.

Jojomama said...

Sushi For Beginners (by Marian Keyes)
For some reason that grabbed me.
And anything she writes is awesome.

Conda V. Douglas said...

I used to work for a bookstore and titles totally count at first--which is why the Bridges of Madison County took so long to take off via word of mouth.

lbdiamond said...

The Somnambulist; Time Must Have A Stop; Dreams Underfoot; Going Bovine; The Vampire Tapestry

Jen said...

The Forest of Hands and Teeth got me alone with the title. It's terrifying enough to look into!!!

Hex Hall was another one for me, I'm all about the magic and the thought of having a school surrounded by magic (my first impression) sounded too good to pass up!

Slamdunk said...

Titles and book summaries are certainly a hook, but I am a researcher and want to know as much about the story and author before purchasing.

I like titles with great stories behind them. Homer Hikam's "Sky of Stone" referring to what his father saw looking up in a coal mine during in his 50 year career as a miner was a great title.

JEM said...

I definitely judge books based on titles, especially when there are so many thousands of them out there.

What titles am I excited about? We Hear the Dead and Sisters Red. Awe. SOME.

salarsenッ said...

It's not a YA or MG book, which is what I write, but it was awesome.

Hell's Bells by Jackie Kesseler. I just loved that title.

Lydia Kang said...

The titles totally reel me in but it's the back cover and first page that make me buy the book!

Connie said...

I'll never forget the title The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers. Although the title stuck with me after I read it, not before. Because (*spoiler alert*) in the title the author names the murderer, and you don't figure it out until the end. Very clever, very memorable.

Kristi Helvig said...

Bethany - you'll love the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society - it's amazing! I love the title The Dead-Tossed Waves, but have to admit that I planned on getting it no matter what the title was after reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It didn't disappoint!

Matthew Rush said...

I would never NOT buy a book solely based on the title, but I HAVE bought (or borrowed) books just for the title.

Some examples would be:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
The Sound and the Fury
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Pillars of the Earth

And so on...

Stephanie said...

Titles are huge for me. It really needs to grab me and tell me it's different than everything else on the shelf.

Jemi Fraser said...

I love a really good title. I'm intrigued by The Forest... for just that reason.

I recently finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time which is not a title I would normally have picked out. Fabulous book though!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

The Forest of Hands and Teeth grabbed me on the title alone. Loved it. :)

KM said...

I love a good title, though it won't make or break a book for me. It's a one-way street: it can only add to the awesomeness; it doesn't take away. And I agree with Lindsay: THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH is a really gripping title!

Sandy Shin said...

Though the title doesn't make me read a book, a catchy one certainly does make me give the cover a glance (in a bookstore or library). Of the 5, I really like THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE. Will definitely check it out. :)

TerryLynnJohnson said...

completely agree with Forest of Hands and teeth. I bought that soley on the title and loved it. Potato peel - haven't read it.
But judging by the title or even the cover can be very wrong - I Am The Messenger was one of my favorite books this year, but the cover and the title - meh.

Liza said...

I'm likely your mom's age, but the Guernsey, etc. is a fantastic read! That said, I'm a post behind and still analyzing all the first sentences I read after reading your thoughts on that topic. Let's say the title makes me pull a book off the shelf, the first line makes me check it out or purchase, depending on my location.

Jeff King said...

Title and cover art make a big difference, it will decide if I will pick up the book and read the blurb... if the blurb gets me, I will open the book and read the first page, if that grabs me then I will buy...

So ya, Title has something to do with it, but not all.

Kimberly Franklin said...

I actually picked up The Forrest of Hands and Teeth & Shiver on title. So I guess I would pick those too. I love titles and I usually pick up books with either a cool title or cover. :)

G said...

Never bought/read a book solely based on its title.

Always read the jacket blurbs before making that important decision.

Christine Fonseca said...

I read TFHT for the title...and Beautiful Creatures...so yeah, sometimes I just dig the title!

Wendy Sparrow said...

"I kissed a zombie and I liked it" was full of awesome. I just finished "Whitethorn Woods" and I never would have read it based on the title, but it was great.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I so want to read SHIVER...I see it all over the web and then get distracted when we go to B & N...UGH!

Myrna Foster said...

I LOVED The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

I'm more likely to buy a book because of the author or the cover art than the title

Olivia Carter said...

I picked up the FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH because of the title, then bought it because it was about zombies. Didn't love it, but it's still an epic title.

SHIVER is a so-so title but loved the book.

I like the title of Bree Dispain's THE DARK DIVINE

Theresa Milstein said...

Titles and book covers interest me. Then I read the back or inside jacket. Then first lines. If it all appeals to me, then I buy it.

I read and enjoyed Shiver. It's a great name considering its premise.

jessjordan said...

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is such an awesome, evocative title. And I bought Shiver based on the cover and the title. I think I originally picked up Ellen Hopkins' Crank based on the title (combined with the gloomy-looking cover; I'm a sucker for gloomy).

Normally, it's a combo of title + cover + summary, but I can be suckered in with just 2 of them.

Nichole Giles said...

Title and cover are both big for me. How about The Hunger Games, or Cut? Yeah. Great covers, great titles=great books. Well, theoretically anyway.

Great thoughts.

Laura Pauling said...

I totally judge a book by its cover and its title! But usually a good story will win out and word of mouth prevails.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Definitely Shiver because of the title and cover. And The Shifter by Janice Hardy. Once I saw the cover, I had to have it.

Medeia Sharif said...

So many titles have grabbed my attention.

I enjoy short and long titles, but I gravitate towards longer titles. Perhaps because they give me more description.

Some that I've read this year are

Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature – Robin Brande

The Earth, My Butt and other Big Round Things – Carolyn Mackler

My Big Nose & Other Natural Disasters – Sydney Salter

They were attention grabbing.

Horserider said...

Forest of Hands and Teeth and the Dreaming Void I'd read solely on title. The Shadow of Your Smile I'd probably pick up and read the back. As for Shiver, I've already bought it because of recommendation by friends so I'm not sure if I would pick it up by title or not.

OfficeGirl said...

The Forest of Hands and Teeth sounds awesome!! It reminds me of my life in a weird sorta way.

I bought The Book of Flying By Keith Miller..soley on the title name. I'm reading it right now in fact..I have to say I'm starting to love.

Nishant said...

Loved the Guernsey Literary
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