Change a few book titles, why don’t you?

Posted October 22, 2019 by Maire in Whimsy / 3 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blogging prompt currently being hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Last week’s subject was Extraordinary Book Titles if you’d like to give it a read. This week the theme is Ten Book Titles You’d Like to Change (and Why).

The problem with book titles is that they’re usually calculated to be the best representation of the story. So I’ve been wandering around the house for the past week, looking at shelves, wondering how I’d title things differently. Turns out, it’s with tongue firmly in cheek and a bit of added salt.

Top Ten Tuesday banner graphic.

Harry Who and the What what?

Book Cover: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Let’s start with the gimme. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Yes, technically a play, but also released as a bound manuscript. It really has little to do with Harry Potter himself, and a quick Google Search will tell you everything inconsistent about the plot. I will admit to reading the book. It was entertaining, but didn’t leave much of an impression. So I’d probably just get rid of the Harry Potter at the beginning and tack on some other indicator of its tenuous link to the Potterverse.

The Book Came Back (the very next day?)

Book Cover: Audrey Rose by Frank DeFelitta.

Ever have a book that just kept finding its way into your hands even though you were sure you left it somewhere else? For me, that book is Audrey Rose by Frank DeFelitta. It was always on the shelves at my grandparents’ home in Ontario. It kept cropping up in used bookstores and at friends’ homes over the years til I finally bought a copy and took it home. I would rename it “Time After Time” because of the book’s obvious theme of reincarnation…but also because it just wouldn’t go away!
Yes, I know the song Time After Time came out 8 years after Audrey Rose was published. Shhhh.

A Discovery of books

So the first volume of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy is about a woman who opens a book and gets goosed into rediscovering her witchy heritage. The third book is called, quite aptly, The Book of Life.

The book sandwiched in the middle? Has nothing about books or discoveries. It’s called Shadow of Night. For the romantic partner’s group of friends. All the while, main character Diana is writing her own Commonplace Book.

Could we maybe have split the difference and called book two The Book of Shadows?

Tales of Kings

Book cover: It by Stephen King. A paper boat floats dangerously close to a sewer drain.

When I was a kid, I used the word “It” as a substitution for any scary word in a book. This tactic worked really well when reading scary books before bed. And then Stephen King came out with the book about the clown and it was all downhill from there.

You’ll understand, then, that I’d really like it if Mr. King could put out a memo to have his book renamed “Pennywise”, please and thanks! πŸ˜‰

Somewhat related to the work of Mr. King, Joe Hill’s The Fireman. I’d rename it Dragonscale, for the fantastic virus he created. It would have been a catchier title, right up there with NOS4A2.

Much Ado About DQ

When the Husbeast and I were reading for the Aurora Awards a few years back, we came across Much Ado About MacBeth by Randy McCharles. Randy runs our local writer’s convention and seems to be an all-around OK guy, so it’s entirely with the best intentions that we nicknamed his novel “The Dairy Queen Book”.

See, there’s this run-on gag that the Witches (yes, Those Witches) hang out at a nearby Dairy Queen, and it’s like Randy memorized the menu board or something. It is an awesome thing of beauty. If you haven’t yet read Much Ado About MacBeth, I heartily recommend it.

And now for a little salt to go with that sweet

Book Cover: The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

I was seventeen when Anne Rice came out with The Witching Hour. Bear in mind, I’d already devoured the first three Vampire novels, and The Mummy or Ramses the Damned is still high on my list of best books ever. I was so looking forward to her take on witches. The moment that book came in to the library, it was mine. I grabbed it with my hot little hands, skibbled down the street to my house (yes, I lived about 2 blocks away from the library. It was handy), and shut myself up in my room for the next two days, reading.

“Coming down for dinner, kid?”
“I’m reading.”
“We’re going for a swim in The River, Kiddo. Want to come with?”
“I’m reading.”
“Going to get some sleep tonight, Pet?”
I’m reading.”
“Sweetie, Granny and Grandpa are here and would really like to see…”
“WHAT THE EVER-LOVING HECK DID I JUST READ?!?”

See, I’d gotten to the end of the book and realized I wasn’t much further along than when I’d started. The difference was that I knew more about the main character’s genealogy than my own. An interesting trick, since Grampa had an interest in things genealogical and would happily tell us all about it. Usually over Sunday dessert: apple pie with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on the side. It’s an Ontario thing.

Second time’s the charm, right?

A shelf full of hardcover books
You will notice The Witching Hour is absent. It is probably still in time-out in the basement library.

Fast forward three years. The next book comes out. I’m out of school. I’m employed. I work in the same mall as a book store. I bought the damn hardcover. A book I shall now refer to as I WAITED THREE YEARS FOR THIS???

Picture, if you will, a cartoon — perhaps Cathy — with the little scribble of frustration over their head. That cartoon character was me after Lasher.

And then I gave her one more chance. I waited another year (thank heavens) for Taltos. Again in hardcover. And when I read this book, I said “Ah. Okay. I get it. Cool. Nice story.”

So I propose we rename all three books, starting with “What the heck did I just read”, followed by “I waited three years for this?” and ending with, “Okay. I get it now.”

Now, I don’t say this to rag on Anne Rice. I’m writing these sentences with a genuine smile on my lips, no malice intended. If I hadn’t found something worth reading in those books, I wouldn’t have continued reading. I was a young adult reader facing off against an experienced author playing the long con. I get it. Well played, Ms. Rice, Well played. I read the Tale of the Body Thief afterwards, and I really enjoyed it. Two thumbs up.

I’ve since commiserated with a friend about my residual feelings regarding the Mayfair trilogy, and we had a glass of wine. Or it might have been a bottle. Who’s counting?

And now for something completely different

Top Hits of 1987: A battered old Hal Leonard songbook that has seen much better days.

I bought a digital piano a few years ago. My parents brought over all my old music books. As I was shuffling through more than a decade’s worth of Royal Conservatory books, The Husbeast found my tattered copy of Top Hits of 1987. How tattered? So tattered the cover has permanently separated from the rest of the book. And The Husbeast gave me that look. That look that says “Do I even know you?”

He re-named the book “Why do you even have this thing?”

Dude. It has a Samantha Fox song and two Bon Jovi songs! The book is vintage! It’s so old, the Hal Leonard site doesn’t even list it as a product (probably not out of shame, no). And the spine is pretty much perma-cracked at Somewhere Out There, so I think that answers that question.

Besides…who doesn’t want to Wang Chung tonight?

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