Friday, October 22, 2010

Better titles!

by Jim

Jessica Regel tweeted this wonderfully entertaining blog today that gives some books slightly more accurate titles. Can anyone argue that Franny and Zooey could be retitled Wealthy and Mopey?

And wouldn’t it be easier to choose books if their titles were pithier and more to the point? British Battle Royale…that’s not just a title—that’s a book pitch!

Of course, there’s the immortal My Teacher Ruined This, which here stands in for Wuthering Heights. But don’t we all have a book that a well-meaning English teacher somehow overanalyzed to the point where the reading of it became a deep, dark slog? I still need to try reading The Great Gatsby again outside of the tortured process of high school English class. How about you? Any books that were tortured beyond recognition in your past?


  1. Haha...those are good. "A Zombie Learns French" would probably sell well today, based solely on that title.

    My over-analyzed book from high school was A Seperate Peace - two guys at a prep school, some sort of accident, blah, blah, deep introspection.

    I *should* read it again, just because, but I still haven't worked up the nerve.

  2. I love love love that blog, and would be interested in reading British Battle Royale...all sorts of lovely plot ideas are popping into my head. I wonder if I should be troubled by that.

    Actually, A Separate Peace was overanalyzed for me as well, but the book that first came to mind was A Tale of Two Cities. I could not care about any of it until the end because the rate at which we analyzed everything really dragged it down. We couldn't move through the book at a normal pace as a result, so it was hard to keep track of the plot.

  3. Actually, Wuthering Heights and The Great Gatsby are books that got ruined for me. I've since reclaimed Wuthering Heights, but haven't managed TGG yet.

    Weirdly enough, my biggest "teacher ruined this" book was Fellowship of the Ring. Yeah. There was this section of lit class where you could pick from a bunch of different books and of course I chose that one, but the heavy prose style combined with all the analysis meant that I never got past Tom Bombadil. And I call myself a fantasy geek, sigh.

  4. Two books come to mind, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath. For some reason my English teacher found symbolism around every corner and expected us to do the same. All we saw was another 100 pages that we had to read, intently looking for clues to what the heck she was talking about.

  5. Wait... The Great Gatsby is a book??? According to my teacher it was merely sentence after sentence of symbolism (that we were lucky enough to go over in exhaustive detail). She did try getting us to watch the movie version, but I was too distracted by the resemblance between a young Robert Redford and my then much-loved Brad Pitt.

    My favorite of the retitled books in Jessica's post was the "Everybody Hates America" collage from Tom Clancy!

  6. I was forced to read Bleak House as a serial, with horrific consequences promised if we read a single page too far each week. I think the book is pretty okay all by itself, but dragging out such a long book was torture.