I was glancing in at Lynn’s Book Blog and noticed this post: Top Ten Tuesday : Long book titles
This caught my eye because recently I was asked to read an upcoming book and see if I could write a blurb. Here’s the title of the book: The Adventures of Rocío Díaz Rossi and Hala Haddad Sosa
Wow, was my first response. That’s a really long title.
So far all I can tell you about the book is that it’s about two female detectives, partners, in a world with craaaaazy worldbuilding. Let me find my favorite detail so far … ah, here:
Hala dated it in the three calendars—La Bene’s: 14 April, year 449; the Ya Empire’s: 184.108.40.206.13 / 2 Ben / 11 kumk’u / Lord of the Night G5; and the Ka Empire’s: Year 17 of the Divine Emperor Lloque.
“Show-off,” Rocío said. Most people needed a calendar converter for the Ya Empire’s system.
I SO wish I had invented the Ya Empire’s calendrical system. I can’t even tell you. That is the best dating system I have ever seen anywhere. If we lived in a properly run world, we would absolutely be typing “220.127.116.11.13 / 2 Ben / 11 kumk’u / Lord of the Night G5” at the top of our pages.
But back to titles. I can think of a quite a few books with super-long titles, such as:
I’ve read (or at least started) all the above titles. A couple, I didn’t get too far with, including the Octavian Nothing one. (The beginning was too grim for me.) My favorite is From the Mixed Up Files. But that’s all beside the point — the point today is, Gosh, those are long titles. That’s why I use a shortened form when I’m referring to them.
I guess I would refer to The Adventures of Rocío Díaz Rossi and Hala Haddad Sosa as Rocio and Hala. Or possibly as Adventures. Or conceivably as “the one with the great Ya calendar.”
What do you all think of super-long titles? I think they can be cute and appealing, particularly for YA titles, but mostly I have to say I prefer short titles. Not necessarily one word, but shorter. But my favorite titles can be longish or shortish, as long as they’re poetic. Let me see … okay, I mean like this:
That’s the kind of title I like best. Of course a title like that doesn’t necessarily suit every book. Even when it does, a title like that is hard to come up with. Really, what I need is an app that will read my manuscript and spit out evocative, poetic titles that fit the story.
I’m really glad the publisher decided to use my title for this one.
Now, as for titles I dislike . . . this isn’t a dealbreaker, titles are seldom a dealbreaker for me, but personally, the titles I like least are the ones that go:
The _____’s Daughter
The _____’s Wife
Such a weird thing to do, pull the focus off the protagonist and make the main thing that counts her father or her husband or whatever. Though it can be even worse. I mean, take a look at this one, where the title is even more misleading than usual:
I mean, the protagonist isn’t even Theodora! It’s her son, John! Why not title it “The Empress Theodora’s Son”? Oh, but we can’t have that! All these titles have to end in somebody’s daughter, even if the protagonist is NOT THAT DAUGHTER.
I may not have been great at titles, but I could have done way, way better. Anyone could have done better!
The book itself is quite good, by the way, though not one of Bradshaw’s best. I should do a list ranking all of Gillian Bradshaw’s books from top to bottom. In fact, I probably have, though I don’t remember right now. But if I were ranking them all by just the quality of the title, this one would be at the bottom.
Actually, though I liked the above book, I would REALLY love to see Gillian Bradshaw write a novel about Theodora and Justinian. Alas, I guess she would have already done that if she were going to.
How about you all, what do you like best and least in titles? Long, short, straightforward, evocative, clever? If a title has jumped out at you recently, what was the title?