Killer Titles

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Nov 5, 2018
Personal preference, I like book titles that gives me a basic idea of what the novel is about. In most cases, that, combined with the cover and blurb, will be enough to make me purchase (or not).

My favourites classics:

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Call of the Wild
by Jack London

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
by C. S. Lewis

All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque

by Mary Shelley

by Bram Stoker

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll

The Godfather
by Mario Puzo

War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy

The Spy who came in from the Cold
by John le Carré

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams


Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
by Lynne Truss

A Short History of nearly Everything
by Bill Bryson

Magnificent Desolation
by Buzz Aldrin

It Shouldn’t happen to a Vet
by James Herriot

Years ago, the best title inspirations were taken from the Bible, Shakespeare, poetry, and other novels …

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Shakespeare, The Tempest)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Shakespeare, Timon of Athens)

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (W. B. Yates, Sailing to Byzantium)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Arthur Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze)

… but that trait seems to have disappeared now.

Modern day crime, I loved most of Dick Francis titles: Dead Cert, Odds Against, Bonecrack, Bolt, Whiphand, Field of Thirteen, 10lb Penalty, High Stakes… His
books did exactly what it said on the tin…

I also liked the Sue Grafton alphabet series. A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar etc. (Great reads, but I bought a lot of them just to have the full set!).

I have an aversion to titles that aim for a shock factor. Example: Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach.

The latest book that stopped me was: The Man who Died Twice by Richard Osman. The cover did nothing for me, but the interesting title made me buy.

Hope that helps, Peter.
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