Book Titles: Length, Common Patterns and Names

Admit it, all of you have probably some time in your lives bought or read a book just because of its title. I definitely have numerous times. And I have always been fascinated at what writers (and publishers) actually do to make a book title, to make their future readers interested while they are browsing the bookshelves of the bookstore. Welcome back to Ayunda’s Thoughts on Tea and Paperbacks, and here are some interesting thoughts I have on book titles.

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Length

There are really long book titles, and really short book titles. I don’t know which one I prefer, but I realized that in the first month of 2016, I read five books in a row that only have one word on their title. It was completely coincidental, but it makes me really wonder about one-worded titles.

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Flipped by Wendelin van Draanen and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell are two great examples. The first one is a verb, a past tense. The second one is a noun. Both are very intriguing and once you read the book, you realize how it is connected to the story. Another really famous one is Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. This one is a little bit different because to be honest, the word twilight was only mentioned like twice in the book itself, and held no profound meaning to the book. Yet it felt by the author to be the most appropriate title to choose.

As for long titles, there are lots of combinations of them out there. A book title that really compelled me to read the book even though I didn’t know what it was about was The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Such a title that really pulls you to read it, right? Again, there are also The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, which gives a little more mysterious-y vibe to the book. And of course there is the all-famous Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, a book that I thought, because of the title, would be scary and chilling but ended up to be immensely disappointing.

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TBRs

There are several books that I picked up and added to my TBR shelf because I was intrigued from the title of the book. Here are some of them:

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Patterns

You would probably notice after reading so many books that there are actually patterns that authors use to name their books. There’s always the “The… Of…” pattern. Examples I could give from the top of my head: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The City of Ember, The Silence of the Lambs, The Blood of Olympus. Not to say that they are bad titles, it’s just that this pattern is a great way to summarize a book while also take the future readers’ attention.

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There is also the pattern of using punctuations like commas in a book. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a really good example. What is the connection between a blind willow and a sleeping woman? Read the book to find out. Other books I haven’t read, such as Happiness, Like Water; All the Birds, Singing; Everything, Everything; Boy, Snow Bird grip me to put these books in my TBR list even though I’m not a hundred percent sure what they’re really about. Other symbols like questions marks (Death or Ice Cream?), exclamation marks (Swamplandia!), or dots (You’re Never Weird On the Internet… Almost) also gives various reactions from readers, ie me.

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Names

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There are also lots of books, namely series that have the name of the main character in its title. Examples include the Harry Potter series, the Alex Rider series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Eleanor and Park, Mr. Fox, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, and the titles in the Lunar Chronicles. This makes the books interesting especially when the names are unique. Other times you’d probably not be interested because the title doesn’t describe what the story of the book is actually about.

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What are your favourite book titles? And can you name the books you picked up just because the title looks interesting? Any book title dislikes as well? Let me know down below in the comments!

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12 comments

  1. Well, this was definitely fascinating topic! There are some really curious patterns out there, but I never really took the time to sort them out. You do do a great job in discerning some very big ones here. I also find titles with numbers interesting, although very rare (There’s a book by Paul Auster called 4 3 2 1, for example), and they make me wonder what the book could be about. I don’t really know if I have a preference come to think of it, but I usually end up admiring the titles AFTER reading a book. The book ends up making me admire the title even more, you know? 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great addition to the discussion! The most memorable title with numbers is probably 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, which I’ve always wanted to read but never got the chance to.
      I agree as well about thinking more of the book’s title AFTER reading the book! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an interesting topic! I definitely think most books I read have shorter titles- but I think this might be because most books seem to have shorter titles. And yes I definitely pick up books based on titles- I really like the title: the Hate U Give- particularly because it spells THUG as an acronym

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting post! And really unique. 😃 I am personally quite intrigued by really long titles, as well as titles that have certain words in them, usually words that are quite dark and sound tragic. I’m not sure how to explain it exactly 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like those long ones that sound like the first sentence of the story. That’s why I got Matt Bell’s book, though I haven’t yet read it.
    However, I tend to focus on the book’s title when I’m done reading to see if it matches the story. Great examples of titles that match the book’s content is “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi and “A Time Code” by Ruth Ozeki. I like those because they are vague but match the content perfectly. Titles like “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” do the same but are so direct that I find them uninteresting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally get what you mean! I don’t know my favourite book titles either to be honest, but I do like long titles because they can really make you curious as to what the story is about.

      Liked by 1 person

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