I hate having to title fiction. Titles drive me living batshit (sans clutch) and honestly, I’m terrible at them. The only title of my own that I ever really loved was the first title of my first book: BOBBIE FAYE’S VERY (very very very) BAD DAY. When I sold that book, there were three more verys in that parenthetical, and I know for a fact I drove the marketing people nuts with those. They cut those three out, and then changed the title altogether when we went into reprints in mass market, because the length of the title plus two names (Bobbie Faye’s and my own moniker) was just too much for the mass market sized cover. I was tickled as hell at first to get to keep the title, until had to type it for a bunch of different reasons, never remembering to make a macro keystroke setup so that I wouldn’t have to type something so long. You would not believe how I managed to misspell her name. (Well, maybe you would.)
What I thought we’d do was keep the (very very very) for each book. My editor was on board with that… only… I couldn’t think of anything that worked with the story. And then it occurred to us (duh) that if every book has the (very very very) parenthetical, people weren’t going to remember which book they already had vs. which book was new. So we set out to change the parenthetical, and come up with something akin to the rhythm of the first. That effort ended in BOBBIE FAYE’S (kinda, sorta, not exactly) FAMILY JEWELS. Which I sort of hated for a while and then grew to not loathe. (My poor editor came up with a thousand titles–we just couldn’t find one we liked and honestly, this was the one that bothered me the least. But she tried. My God, did she try.)
It still confused people. You wouldn’t believe the email I got asking me when the new book was out, in spite of the fact that they had seen JEWELS on the bookstand… they thought that was the one they had. Not entirely the effect we’d hoped to have.
The only other title I’ve liked is my short story title in the Killer Year Anthology: Stories to Die For. Its title? A Failure to Communicate — but that’s because I fractured time as well as communication, and that fracture was the point… plus, that’s a line said to Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke… a line he liked so much, (so the apocryphal story goes), he had it written in to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. (In my story, Trevor has nicknamed Bobbie Faye “Sundance” because they are about to die. At the end, she calls him “Butch.”)
Everything else I’ve had published in fiction has been titled by others. I’ve managed the blog entries more like a drunken game of dice… sometimes I’m on, sometimes not. (Cornelia, I think, wins the memorable title aware around here. Seriously, tell me you do not think of the PILGRAMS! SCREE! SCREE! SCREE! title every time you see her name on Saturdays.)
Which, honestly, is the point: titles should be memorable. They should give you some idea of the kind of book you’re picking up, the genre, but most of all, you should be able to recall that title when you’re in the bookstore and are suddenly faced with thousands of choices… many of which sound so similar to one another, they all start to blur.
A good title will make me pick up the book, even if the cover art is so-so. I’ll flip over to at least read the back cover. An average title that sounds like every other average title would have to have really eye-catching art for me to stop, unless I already know the author’s work and therefore know whether they’re an automatic buy.
But a great title will stop me in my tracks when my arms are already loaded down with books and people are waiting on me to leave because we have to be at dinner in less than ten minutes and could I please please hurry? When someone (whether it’s the author or the editor or the marketing department or some combination, I don’t care) comes up with something that riveting that can stop me like that, I will pick up the book and read the back copy and the cover flap and probably the first page or so. If I’m really pressed for time, and that title was great, I’ll buy it, without reading anything. My hunch is, people who are that creative have a good eye for good material. I’m not always right about that instinct, but I’ve been right more than I’ve been wrong, so I’ll keep going by that gut feeling.
Examples of books I bought this past year based solely on the title, not word of mouth or knowledge of the author:
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Granted, I heard about a couple of them somewhere, but when I was in the bookstore, I couldn’t remember what had been said–but the title jumped out at me as a “Oh, yes, I’d wanted to get that.” And I haven’t read all of them yet, since I was sidetracked with a couple of other big reading projects.
It is an extremely difficult thing to do, to find a memorable, unique title. I know some writers who cannot move forward with the first page if they don’t have a title in mind–one they hope will be their final title. I felt that way during book one, but since then, I haven’t ever managed to settle on just one, to fall in love with something and know it was it and that it would be memorable. Oh, how I wish I could.
Right now, I’m tossing around ideas for titles for the new book, and it will probably end up being vastly different from my past titles since this book is much darker and complex and set in a different world. I’ve wandered around ideas of things lost and found again, and I’ve played with ideas based off Saints (the name of the fictional town is St. Michaels, a tiny place set just south of Baton Rouge). For an example, I loved the movie title THE BOONDOCK SAINTS, (and I enjoyed the movie, but haven’t seen the sequel)… but obviously, this is taken and well-enough known not to be re-useable. Titles, unlike works, are not copyright protected, but I’d truly prefer not to use something someone else has already fingerprinted. I thought of BACKYARD SAINTS, but I think Joshilyn Jackson’s next book will be titled something like that, so that one’s out. I’ve thrown around war notions and betrayals, but so far, nothing sticks. If any one of you gets creative in the comments and I end up using it, you’ll be mentioned in the book and will get the first autographed copy.
I’m looking for inspiration. What titles have you come across (whenever, doesn’t have to be recent), that you loved and remember? I’m curious, did the book live up to its title?
I was always allowed to go with my own titles, until I got to SECOND SHOT, which I had provisionally down as FALL LINE, because it was set partly in a ski resort and the fall line is the fastest way down hill. But my publisher was much taken with the FIRST DROP title, which I only came up with because of the rollercoaster angle – it starts on a rollercoaster (no surprises there then) – and once you’ve hit the first drop you can’t stop and can’t get off, you just have to hang on tight for the ride. So, they wanted a ‘Second’ something title for what was book six in the series. Confusion has reigned ever since …
Titles I’ve come across recently that I really loved? One is a book by Dan Walsh, a mad Mancunian biker who travelled all round Africa and then across America and down into South America by bike. It’s brilliantly written in prose poetry style, and called THESE ARE THE DAYS THAT MUST HAPPEN TO YOU.
I love Don Winslow’s titles as well as loving the books: THE WINTER OF FRANKIE MACHINE, POWER OF THE DOG, CALIFORNIA FIRE AND LIFE.
And I’m one of these people who has to have a title before I can go forward with a book. I have a file of titles that I may one day find plots to go with.
But really, much as I hate to admit it, titles are not the thing that grabs me when I’m browsing so much as cover design. I picked up Lincoln Child’s UTOPIA purely because I was intrigued by the exposed spine. People tend to think they’ve read a book if the cover is the same colour as a previous title in the same series, so while I can appreciate giving an author and a series a ‘look’, you can go too far.
The only title that’s stopped me in my tracks recently was actually a newspaper headline on one of the red-top tabloids. It was when the-model-previously-known-as-Jordan split up with her then husband, Peter Andre, and started slagging him off on the social networking sites. The headline?
THE TWITTER BATTER OF TINY PETE
We stood on a petrol station forecourt and howled when we read that.
Is ‘Bayou Saints’ applicable?
I’m not that great with Louisiana geography…I figure not every parish has a bayou so maybe that title is just plain wrong…
I’m sort of working on my business law essay, still….so I’m sure part of my brain will be happy to mull over exciting titles I have known. Will check back later after my Castle viewing break…
Zoë, that’s interesting, with your titles. Charlie is such a distinctive, iconic character and so memorable, I always think of her as a person first, and then think of the titles of her books second.
I love the "THESE ARE THE DAYS" title–I would have picked that up for the title alone. And I totally agree on Don Winslow’s titles and books. I’m cracking up over that headline title.
Catherine, I like BAYOU SAINTS. And south of Baton Rouge, bayous do tend to crisscross the parishes. Plus bayous all the way west to the other side of the Atchafalya, until you start getting into the plains area of west Louisiana, east Texas, but even then, there are big exceptions. And urgh, you reminded me that I forgot to DVR CASTLE this week. Dammit.
Effective title change: Jamie Ford’s HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET was first called THE PANAMA HOTEL, which in turn sprang from a short story entitled "I Am Chinese."
Title I hated on a very good book: ANGELS OF DESTRUCTION by Keith Donohue.
Title that made me pick up a book (then just a recorded book) THE MEMORY OF RUNNING by Ron McLarty – it is a huge favorite of mine (it’s now an actual printed book as well) and most of my friends sooner or later get a copy.
My own title: LEARNING TO SWIM – initially the book had a cuter title that played off the main character’s last name, which I could continue in subsequent titles in the series. Then a writer friend told me it sounded like the Bobbsey Twins, so it got changed fast. So far only one person has actually thought it is a book about how to learn to swim.
I love The Bridge of Sighs as a title, and that book definitely lived up to it for me.
I usually get the title first, and the problem with that ends up being that by the end of writing the book, I’ve become quite attached to the title. Since I haven’t sold one yet, I haven’t had to give any titles up, but that will be hard for me, and if I had to, I’d find a way to put the titles into the front somehow, just to appease myself.
An older favorite title: The Unbearable Lightness of Being. That one has something to do with the rhythm and cadence which you get even by thinking it.
But there are also titles which are short and almost bland, that end up taking on the wonderfulness of the book once you’ve read it – so while I agree with you – a good title will make me buy a book – I have a lot of all-time favorites whose titles are not that catchy upon first sight.
Right now I am 2/3 through one book that has a working title I know will not be the final title – and it has driven me crazy to be writing something I don’t know the real title to! I think I found it a few nights ago, but I’m not sure yet. I love the word and the sound of it, but not sure it fits perfectly.
Sara, I didn’t know that about HOTEL… what a smart title change. Makes me wonder who came up with the current title.
THE MEMORY OF RUNNING would make me pick up that book. (Going to go get it, now). And I love your title LEARNING TO SWIM. Now I have to get it. 😉
billie, I’m really glad BRIDGE OF SIGHS lives up to its title–that’s one I haven’t started, yet. I want to find some time over the next week to relax with it.
I know what you mean about finding something and not wanting to let go. I would have thought (after publishing the first book) that I wouldn’t have been able to let go of the second book’s title, but now I honestly cannot remember what the title was that I submitted with the book. (That’s weird–and I can’t find it on my computer. No telling what I did with that file. yikes.)
I agree with you about a book’s title becoming evocative in a way after reading the book–the title takes on the sheen of the writing, dances in a way that it hadn’t seemed able to when it sat there at first in plain jeans and sneakers. I’m amazed when that happens, but I do have a few favorite books whose simple titles resonate with me, still.
I’ve always liked the elegance of PD James’ titles: DEVICES AND DESIRES, THE SKULL BENEATH THE SKIN, etc. I just read an Iain M. Banks SF novel that I picked up because the title made me go "WTF": CONSIDER PHLEBAS (Yes, the title makes sense after you get into the book; it’s a reference to Eliot’s "The Waste Land").
And I loved BOBBIE FAYE’S VERY (very very very) BAD DAY, both book and title, although when typing it, I invariably leave out a "very".
Hey Toni, wasn’t it Basket Full of Crazy? I remember that from an early draft.
I suck at titles–my first book, LIFELINES, went through 71 (count ’em!!!) titles volunteered by myself, my agent and my editor before the head copy editor was looking at the book to decide who to assign it to for edits, starting reading it, loved it, took it home and finished it that night, then the next morning suggested "Lifelines" to my editor.
Which, of course was perfect! Book #2, WARNING SIGNS, began life as Catalyst, but the marketing folks squashed that one. Books #3, URGENT CARE, and book #4, ISOLATION (due out later this year) are my titles, so I guess I’m batting .500
I like Bayou Saints as someone already suggested. I’d pick up a book with that title–and can’t you almost see the cover art? A run-down old-fashioned house in woods, reflected in water, maybe a full moon as well…..
Good luck with your title search!
RUNNING WITH SCISSORS has to be one of my favourite titles. Also, THE KITE RUNNER (no deliberate theme here!) and THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE. Oh, I have so many books I’ve bought because the title has called out to me. Most of the time I’m not disappointed with the finished product. And I agree, if people can be that creative thinking up a title, I hope they carry it through with the novel.
I’m about to start a new WIP – I have a pretty good idea as to what it is about but I cannot, just cannot, open a new document to start writing until I have that title. Sure, it will probably change, but I need to have a title before I start.
Toni, so sorry I can’t think of anything for you – if I do, I’ll be sure to let you know!
Hey Toni, great blog topic. I am book buyer based on titles, solely. I really don’t look at reviews or read excerpts. If the title doesn’t grab me I am not picking up the book. So, I can see where it is difficult coming up with one that is quite memorable. Books that I thought had great titles were Snow Fall on Cedars, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo (I was just talking to someone about this one on Friday.), The Zookeeper’s Wife, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, Catch a Mate, Primal Instinct, Manhuntin’, Coma, Virgin River, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Last Man Standing, A Drink with the Devil, etc. There have been so many, and they all lived up to their potential. I was hooked on the voice of these authors since then.
I love BAYOU SAINTS! That title would totally suck me in…great possibility for you. Good luck coming up with a title. Have a great day all.
Peace and love,
Toni, don’t worry about missing CASTLE. It wasn’t on this week, so you didn’t miss anything. I hope it is on tomorrow.
Peace and love,
Ah, the title gene. Thankfully, I was born with it, and I’m the sort who needs a title that’s most likely the final one before I write the first word. Shorts, blog posts, books – everything has a title first. I think it comes from school, where I always had a quote to start my papers.
I come up with my own. I have too much invested to let someone else title me.
I think Bobbie Faye’s Very (very, very, very) Bad Day was one of the most memorable titles ever. I was sad that they changed it.
I agree with you about THE HOTEL AT THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET. I wish I’d thought of it. I wish I’d written it.
I love titles, and have a dozen ready to go. Just don’t have the book to go with them yet.
The very very very last thing I do when I write a book is figure out what the heck to call it. I’m in awe of authors who have to have the title before they can start. I had hoped the publishers would come up with the perfect title, but no, they’ve left my lame attempts. I’ve got a book called "What’s in a Name?" which I only came up with when I had to submit it for a contest and there was this line that said "Title".
It ended up working, as did a couple of others, but it’s a major sweat job. As a matter of fact, my next release is a re-release and it’s with a different publisher, so we had to change the title. That meant I had to figure something out twice for the same book. At least by then, I had an editor who was willing to help.
I can’t think of any books I’ve bought by title alone. Most are because of the author, or a recommendation from a friend. But I enjoy reading them to see how the title fits in. I’m dense sometimes, though, so I like it when there’s a mention of the title in the book. I’m reading Deeper Than Dead now, and almost clapped my hands when the phrase showed up in the text.
Pretty much all of my favorite book titles are Louise’s, from FORCING AMARYLLIS onwards.
I am flattered that you like my titles, but kind of embarrassed that this week’s is "What I Did On My Vacation." I mean, how lame is that? Maybe I should have made it "My Vacation! Scree! Scree! Scree!"
My editor came up with the title for my first book. I’d called it Sore Excuse, which once made Otto Penzler gag at a Bcon dinner. I had so much trouble thinking up an alternate that I didn’t bother trying to think up anything serious for book two, just called it The Crazy School because my mother always used to ask "So how’re things at that crazy school?" whenever she called while I was working at the real-life version. I presumed they’d change it, but they liked it–surprise, surprise.
I like Bayou Saints too. A lot.
I was intrigued by Alan Bradley’s "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie", and it lived up to the title. I fell right into "The Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potato Peel Pie Society" by Shaffer and Barrows, which isn’t a mystery but is one of the absolute best books I read last year. And I can’t wait to read Joshilyn Jackson’s new book, "Backseat Saints", partly for the title alone, partly for the glorious cover, and partly because it’s Joss.
On the other end of the scale, Carrie Vaughn’s urban fantasy books about Kitty Norville, the "Kitty and the. . ." series, have possibly the most misleading titles ever! They look romancey and fluffy and cheesy, none of which is true about the actual words inside, which are kind of dark and gritty and noirish. The same is true of Wendy Roberts "Ghostduster" series, which have an edge you won’t see just reading the titles and looking at the covers.
Bad titles and misleading cover art can do more damage than just about anything, in my opinion. Well, except for being a bad book to begin with, that is.
Thanks, Dusty. I got so tired of typing those verys after a while, that I started abbreviating it BF’sVvvvBD. The CONSIDER PHLEBAS title has me so intrigued, I’m going to have to go look, now, to see what it’s about.
CJ, I think you’re right about that draft, but I was just doing that one to mess with my editor. (grin) I always put something on there for her to laugh about, because she knew titles were not my strong suit. And I think your titles are so strong–they evoke the type of book and genre in one or two words–perfect.
Alli — great titles! Those are definitely memorable and inspiring to see. And thanks–if you think of anything, just shout. 😉
Paula – more great additions to the list. THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE makes me immediately curious, as did THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING when I first saw it. (Obviously, I tend to favor longer titles. Not that any of you would have guessed that, huh?)
(Oh, good to know about CASTLE. Must go program DVR.)
JT, yep, you definitely have the gene. I wish I did. I don’t know why they’re so difficult for me. And I wasn’t happy about that, honestly, to not have something I felt utterly committed to going into submission because it felt like I was sending my child off for the teachers to name him X or X+1. Just not quite the same.
Thank you (about the title). I was sad, too, though I saw their point about it being overcrowded on the mm cover.
Louise, I have always loved your titles. I started to include them in the list above, but I technically heard about them because I knew you and because of this blog, so it wasn’t a random exposure to the title the way the others on my list were. Still, they are incredibly memorable and evocative.
Cornelia: ""My Vacation! Scree! Scree! Scree!" *snort*… okay, that would have to describe my vacations, because there are always catastrophes wherever I go. I swear, I just show up and disasters happen. But like Louise and JT, you definitely have the title gene. I always remember your titles and love them and the books definitely live up to them. It’s a gift you three have.
Terry, you and me, kiddo, sitting next to each other on the "uh, there has to be a title?" bench. I swear, this one’s going in with a firm title, even if it kills me.
I’m tickled that so many of you like Catherine’s suggestion of BAYOU SAINTS. It fits the story in ways I can’t describe yet, as well.
Fran — the SWEETNESS one makes me want it right now, and a friend of mine is reading GUERNSEY and loving it, so I’m sure I’m going to be grabbing that one soon, too. Wendy’s also on my TBR pile, but it’s nice to hear the darker edge of her work described.
I agree with you about the cover art. I think it is especially difficult to come up with the right kind of cover when the story spans more than one genre. Hard to know what to emphasize.
Hey Toni, thought of some other ones tha grabbed me too…The Color of Water, Me Talk Pretty One Day, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, and Memoirs of a Geisha.
Longer titles are cool too, but only if they have an element of funny in them. I find it difficult to put a title on things too, so I could be sharing that bench with you guys. I like short ones so far, but who’s to say that doesn’t change. Have a great rest of the day!
Peace and love,
I’m pretty sure I’m hopeless with titles. I have a hard time remembering them — I’m mostly looking at the inside of a book while I read it, not the cover. With Allison’s last series, I had to keep track of which colour book I’d read. But I do remember names of authors (so don’t any of you go changing yours, please). My current ms was TANGLED WEBS but I decided it evoked images of spiders. So I changed it to PRACTICE TO DECEIVE, which I think is a better fit. If it ever gets that far, I’m confident some talented publishing person will explain to me why that title sucks and needs to be changed.
But to me (with that complete lack of title awareness in mind), BAYOU SAINTS sounds like a minor league sports team. Um, probably football. But I do kind of like SAINTS ON THE BAYOU. Though given your talent for disaster, maybe SAINTS IN THE BAYOU?
IS there anything "just south of Baton Rouge?" Okay, just googled it and BR is further north than I thought. Oooh, that might be a good title. JUST SOUTH OF BATON ROUGE
LOST AND FOUND ON THE BAYOU
LOSING (_something?_), FINDING SAINTS
SAINTS ALIVE! (kidding, I’m kidding)
FOUND AGAIN ON THE DELTA
This is hard, not knowing what it’s about. Okay, fine — even if I knew exactly what it was about, I SO do not have the title gene.
Whatever you call it, I can’t wait to read it. In fact, I’m positive I’d be a damn good beta reader. Just saying.
With short fiction, if I know the story and where I’m going with it, I don’t worry about a title — often the title will come from a bit of dialogue or a phrase in the story. Especially something toward the beginning or end.
As a reader, titles call out to me and I’ll pick it up to see the who, what, where.
For yours (as remarked above, hard to do without reading ms.) how about An Unholy Loss (playing against the saints) or The Saints Betrayal.
I like Bayou Saints but it also sounds a little like a sports team to me.
Another possibility: The Saints of Lost and Found — or even Lost and Found or some riff on that.
Cool subject to stimulate conversation today, Toni. Very cool.
JUST SOUTH OF SAINTHOOD
[you know I’m going to keep thinking up stupid titles until you pick one, right?]
I love longer, emotive titles. Like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Bonfire of the Vanities, The Hundred Secret Senses. And a certain Hotel on the Corner of you know what…
Toni, my dear, if you have yet to read Iain M. Banks, you are in for a treat. He’s one of those writers who reminds me why I read SF. He sometimes starts a mite slow (it took me three tries to finish USE OF WEAPONS), but he’ll blow you away by the end.
Paula, wow, you’re good at this. 😉 Great titles… I especially love THE COLOR OF WATER in that group. Makes you immediately curious, don’t you think?
BCB… I *love* PRACTICE TO DECEIVE. I’d pick up that title immediately out of curiosity. And I’m cracking up over all the titles… you have some really good suggestions there. I really like LOST AND FOUND ON THE BAYOU.
Suzanne, an UNHOLY LOSS is very evocative. I’m going to definitely put that one in the keeper-to-consider file. Like you, I tend to find the title in my short fiction from a bit of dialog or a phrase, with the one exception of A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE, mentioned earlier. Thanks for the great suggestion.
Pari, that’s the problem, really–with us having the Saints as a football team, it’s hard not to associate the word with sports. But I really love the suggestion THE SAINTS OF THE LOST AND FOUND. That is a definite keeper. Thank you!
Katherine, you’re cracking me up. But I *like* that one! 😉
Jamie! Great to see you here. Your ears must’ve been burning. 😉 And great title suggestions. I always loved the MIDNIGHT title… that may have been the one to inspire me in my love of longer titles.
Dusty, with that sort of recommendation from you, I am now buying it. Thank you! I love SF, but am woefully under-read in the genre. Of course, I tend to feel like that about every genre, despite reading an average of 150 or so books a year. There’s just never enough time, is there?
I loved the BOBBIE FAYE titles.
Of my 15 books, I came up with only four wholly on my own (THE HUNT, KILLING FEAR, SUDDEN DEATH and CUTTING EDGE.) Most were done by committee, brainstorming with friends and my editor and agent. ORIGINAL SIN for example came brainstorming with Toni and our friends Karin and Rocki–my publisher loved it. Then we (or me, I don’t remember!) came up with CARNAL SIN and MORTAL SIN to match.
For your series, I think you should have LOST and/or FOUND in the title no matter what. It would also work well in a series. I, personally, love UNHOLY LOSS.
Longer titles are great, but I’ll admit I love the shorter titles. I love one word titles, but they’re hard to keep up for a series. (L&O SVU has one word titles for their shows and I love them.) I have one long title for the SDS series because my publisher said we don’t have to have SIN in every title after the first three. Marketing. I too loved the MIDNIGHT title.
I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book because of its title. Can that be right?
Too cold to think.
I love brainstorming other people’s titles. Besides, Allison’s new series rocks, so that was a ton of fun to brainstorm.
Alex! Now I would have waged that titles were very seductive to you and that you had, so I’d have just lost a bundle there. I don’t do it often, especially if the book is a hardcover, but every once-in-a-while, it’s fun to take a risk.
At about the time that I was considering tacking on a SCREE SCREE SCREE to my business law essay was around the time my mind officially went to mush.
‘Risk, Trust and Blame –
A micro – examination of executive corporate behaviour in the current global financial context SCREE SCREE SCREE’ would be fair warning of the contents within…maybe.
Yeah somehow I love the short pithy titles. I admire the longer ones, but the short one word titles grab my attention faster. I did do a double take at one called THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES …Some days there is only about a nano-second’s worth of room for processing beyond breathing and staying upright that one did make it through.
In the scatty state I am right now I’d be all over BAYOU, just bayou because just that one word means so many different things to people…SAINTS OF THE LOST AND FOUND seems pretty evocative though. I also focus still on at least the first couple of pages if not the first chapter before I purchase but a good title will get me to at least slow down.
David Goodis’ novel THE BLONDE ON THE STREET CORNER has only the scantest relationship to the title. As I read it, I kept waiting for the title blonde (who appears in the opening scene) to have some cataclysmic impact on the story, but it never happened. The book, nevertheless, was a great one.
Just wanted to add some title trivia regarding THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. I am currently reading the Spanish edition and it is called LOS HOMBRES QUE NO AMABAN LAS MUJERES , which would translate as something like MEN WHO HATE WOMEN. My sister-in-law kept telling me about this book, and how it was so popular, and I never put two and two together that the Spanish book she was talking about was Larsson’s until she actually handed it to me. I think that the Spanish title is even more intriguing then the English version!