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The Importance of Book Titles

While people claim that the covers shouldn’t matter when it comes to books, they do. And one of the largest factors is the title.

carry on coverTake, for example, the book that inspired me to do this post, Carry On. The title originally comes from Cath’s fanfiction in Fangirl, but in Rowell’s novel it means so much more.

For one thing, it’s a spell that the Mage casts, based on the lyrics from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”:

If I’m not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.

But it means so much more in the context of the story. For the first half of the book, the title applies to how the character try to carry out their roles as dictated by the cliches of the Chosen One prophecy. Agatha only hangs around Simon because she feels like she has to stay by his side. Simon sucks at magic, but he keeps trying because he’s supposedly the Chosen One. As the novel progresses however, the characters begin to see that they have to carry on with life in spite of the prophecy, not according to it.

10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the another good example. While it hints at Karou’s origins, it doesn’t give them away. It also gives off the fantastical and sort of creepy tone of the book, and it’s for those reasons that the title drew me to the book in the first place.

More great titles are I Am the Messenger, The Spectacular Now, Inkheart, Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and, Paper Towns.

throne of glassThrone of Glass, on the other hand, is a rather poor example. While the throne of glass actually features in the novel, it doesn’t necessarily have a pivotal role. I mean, the person sitting on the throne is the reason everything is happening, but it wouldn’t have been my first choice as the title for the book.

Of course, these opinions don’t apply to all books. I mean, I still don’t know what to make of titles that are simple the protagonist’s name. Or things like fantasy series like “Harry Potter and the _______”.

But what’s the best and worst book title you’ve seen? Let me know in comments!

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4 thoughts on “The Importance of Book Titles

  1. Harry Potter is one of the exceptions to the name thing. Usually, I don’t like books like that. You’ve got me thinking now, and judging all my books. So thanks! 🙂

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    1. Haha I didn’t mean to make you critical of all your books… it was just an observation I had. But it’s rather striking once you actually think about the titles on your shelves and what they mean to the actual book inside.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I JUST finished reading Carry On. I like your thoughts on the title, and how its meaning changes throughout the book. What did you think of the book itself? I wrote a review on my blog (www.itistrish.com), and I’d love to know what you thought!

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