While a cover has to grab your eye, it’s the title that has to make you pick up the book. So what makes a book title grab your attention?
On Goodreads, the social media site for readers, 1,052 people voted on the book titles they thought were the most eye-catching or unique. I’ve taken the top 100 titles and organized them by what makes them unique (many would fit in multiple categories, and some of the categories are just a shade different from one another, but I’ve arranged them in the interest of clarity and space).
If you can write a title that fits into two or more of these categories and is readable at a glance – you probably have a winner.
These you pick up either to see what the heck they’re talking about, or to find out what crazy thing they’ll say next. This category is so popular, I broke it into subcategories!
– Words you’re surprised to see together
- The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
- The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul
- Still Life with Psychotic Squirrel
- TheGuernseyLiterary and Potato Peel Society
- The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
- When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?
- The Devil Wears Prada
- The Baby Jesus Butt Plug
- So Long and Thanks for All the Fish
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
- The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
- The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
- Love in the Time of Cholera
- Hitler the Cat Goes West
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- Nostradamus Ate My Hamster
- Go-Go Girls of the Apocolypse
- Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
- Practical Demonkeeping
- A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
- You Suck (A Love Story)
– A surprising play on a common saying/well-known title
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Women are from Venus, Men Are From Hell
- How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
- Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
- English as a Second F***ing Language: How to Swear Effectively… (place)
– Breaks rules…surprisingly
Some are unapologetically direct, some grammatically incorrect, some give away the ending, and some are just crass (a cheap trick I wouldn’t recommend).
- Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: A Slightly-Tarnished Southern Belle’s Words of Wisdom
- Me Talk Pretty One Day
- I AmAmerica(And So Can You!)
- Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
- Another Bull**** Night inSuckCity
- How To S*** In the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art
- John Dies at the End
- This is Not a Novel
- F*** This Book
- On Bull****
- The Haunted Vagina
- Dude, You’re a F**: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School
- Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining:America’s Toughest Family Court Judge Speaks Out
If the title alone makes you chuckle, you’re likely to pick up the book.
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
- Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
- I Was Told There’d Be Cake
- The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
- If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?
- I Still Miss My Man but My Aim is Getting Better
- I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
- In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash
- Don’t Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters got Eyes
- Since You’re Leaving Anyway, Take out the Trash
- Even God is Single (So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time)
- I Gave You My Heart, but You Sold It Online
Just plain beautiful, but with a deeper meaning.
- Something Wicked this Way Comes
- Midnightin theGardenofGoodand Evil
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being
- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- One Hundred Years of Solitude
- I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
- Where the Wild Things Are
- When You Are Engulfed in Flames
- Their Eyes Were Watching God
- A Confederacy of Dunces
- A Thousand Splendid Suns
- A ClockworkOrange
- The Grapes of Wrath
- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
- The Man Who Was Thursday
- The Silence of the Lambs
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
- If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler
- The Sound and the Fury
- For Whom theBellTolls
- I Capture the Castle
- All Quiet on the Western Front
Makes You Think
A unique way to look at things. Atlas Shrugged is a prime example – Atlas being the Greek god who holds up the
world heavens (or holds the heavens and the earth apart, depending on which tradition you follow).
- Atlas Shrugged
- Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
- She Got up off the Couch; and Other Heroic acts fromMooreland,Indiana
- A Wrinkle in Time
Specifies or implies something irresistibly interesting or thought-provoking. You have to know more.
- The Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes inNew England: A Novel
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
- Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal
It simply sounds fun.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
- The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat & Other Clinical Tales
- Smashed, Squashed, Splattered, Chewed, Chunked and Spewed
- The Lust Lizard ofMelancholyCave
- There’s a Wocket in My Pocket
- Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
- Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants
I can’t figure out why these are interesting (if you can, tell us in the comments)
- Brave New World
- Table 21
- Reading Lolita inTehran
- To Live and Drink inL.A.
- Fear and Loathing inLas Vegas: a Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
What are your favorite titles? Tell us in the comments!
P.S. My calendar next week looks like it got sneezed on by the Deadline Monster, so I can tell you right now I won’t be able to write about the D in AIDA until the week after. But stay tuned! We may do a little review of the I in AIDA.