Judging a Book By its Title

When Books Don’t Live Up to Their Names

When Books Don't Live Up to Their Title

As debates swirl around the TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird prequel, it’s easy to forget the strangeness of those familiar titles. But misleading, mysterious and downright secretive titles are nothing new.

Sometimes, an author is overtaken by time. When John Williams’s Stoner became a cult classic in 2013, many readers thought they were picking up something like William Burroughs’s Junkie. But Williams’s protagonist, William Stoner, is completely drug-free and living out a low-key life on a university campus in the US Midwest. The use of “stoner” to refer to a marijuana user seems to have developed in the 1970s; Williams published his book in 1965.



One thought on “Judging a Book By its Title

  1. On the other side of the fence, it’s so hard to find a good title nowadays! I think it might be because the world it becoming increasingly interconnected and our experiences are becoming increasing unique–if I was born in a small town in the USA and backpacked through Asia for three years, then my impression of a book title will be very different before and after this experience… Egad!


Leave Your Thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s