6 Book Titles I Love…and 5 I Hate

Book Titles I Love...and Hate


I’ve got to admit…I’m not a huge book title person. I rarely buy a book solely based on the title (but, I know lots of people do this), and the few times I have, it hasn’t turned out well (see The People We Hate at the Wedding).

Book titles are more likely to go unnoticed by me unless I can’t stand them…or, on the good side, they make me laugh. So, today you’re getting both book titles I love…and hate!

Here’s a little book publishing tidbit for you. Did you know authors have very little say about the title of their book? They can throw their title choice into the ring, but the publisher’s marketing team generally has the final say (many publishing contracts specifically state this). And, the title is often determined by marketing research and what the publisher’s title committee thinks will sell. I had no idea about this until very recently. So, don’t blame the authors for the “hate” section of this list!

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Six Book Titles I Love

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Because I now can actually remember the date of JFK’s assassination.

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
Because it’s the perfect title for this book…intriguing and perfectly encapsulates Noah’s history.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F*ck by Sarah Knight
Because it’s sarcastic, witty and cheeky.

The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Grinder
Because who hasn’t hated those people at the wedding?! PS – I also kind of hated the 27% of this book that I read, but the title is still awesome.

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims
I haven’t read this book, nor do I have any idea what it’s about. I just saw it on Instagram last week and burst out laughing at the title. And, suspect I’ll probably relate to the protagonist.

You Are An Ironman by Jacques Steinberg
This is the only book title that’s ever given me goosebumps. It’s what the race announcer says to every single Ironman triathlon finisher as he or she crosses the finish line (“Sarah Dickinson, you are an Ironman” – this will be the only time I ever see or hear that phrase, I can assure you!).

…and Five Book Titles I Hate

A Lowcountry Heart by Pat Conroy (my review)
Y’all know how much it pains me to have Conroy on this list, but I’m sorry, this title is just cheesy.

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
I never got how this title had anything to do with the story other than using the main character’s name.

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen (my review)
I adored this book. 5 stars. The title is cheesy, while the book is decidedly not.

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen (my review)
Another cheesy title for an Anna Quindlen book that I loved. This one sounds like a YA romance novel. Who’s on her publisher’s titling committee?! She deserves better.

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington (my review)
Another book I adored and another cheesy title. I understand it refers to a Neil Young song that plays a role in the book, but it’s not a huge role and doesn’t relate much to what the book is really about. Plus, it’s way too long.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite book titles?

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  1. Carmen wrote:

    I happen to like titles more than I do covers. Titles can make or break the experience of picking up a book to investigate further. I know you said you hated it but I liked Only Love Can Break…; The Life-Changing Magic…, and The People We Hate at the Wedding are great ones too.

    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
  2. Hah! The only way I can remember the title of King’s book is to think about the date JFK was assassinated. 😉

    I thought the title of Every Last One was especially powerful when I ran across the line in the book.

    Interesting list. I think titles do make more of a difference to me than covers.

    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
  3. So, you don’t like cheesy titles? Ha! I don’t think I’m that much of a title person either, but something really strange will get me to at least check out the book to see if I’m interested. The ones you liked are all great examples of titles that make me want to know more.

    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
  4. I also hate cheesy titles. And I hate ones that are The (profession)’s (female relative). I really loved The Stargazer’s Sister, about Caroline Herschel, but that title…


    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      OMG – YES!! And there are so many of those these days…

      Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  5. I don’t pay that much attention to titles but I generally do try to figure out how they tie into the book. I can’t think of any titles I have strong feelings for one way or the other.

    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
  6. Michelle wrote:

    I don’t necessarily hate titles, but I love good ones. The Life-Changing Magic is a great example. I also love Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands because once you realize the meaning of it, it strikes you as just how perfect it is.

    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Oh yes! I remember that one and really liked the book too.

      Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  7. Love all these titles!! Great choices!!! I think my favorite would have to be: The people we hate at the wedding. Sounds very funny/cute!! Love how you did some you love and some you hate! Great post!!

    My TTT:Unique Book Titles

    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
  8. Lesa wrote:

    I think I just recently found my favorite title of all time: The Lost City of the Monkey God, I also love Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Theft by Finding ( the first page of the book explains, I’ll Sell You a Dog, I Hate Everyone But you.

    I hate all the books that show the back of a girl’s head that have appeared since Gone Girl. I am discriminating and always read the front cover and reviews before I buy a book.

    Also, the classic quote in the beginning To Kill a Mockingbird

    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Monkey God is a great one and I’ve heard good things about that book too.

      And – yes, so many things have been overdone as a result of Gone Girl. That cover, titles with “girl” in it…

      Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  9. I like your take on the topic. Like you I rarely pick a book.based on the title.

    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
  10. Haha, that last title is so cheesy. Just . . . no.

    Posted 10.24.17 Reply
  11. Catherine wrote:

    OMG, you are so hard on poor Anna! I didn’t mind Every Last One- somehow I thought of it differently. Same thing with Be Frank With Me. I thought it was sweet because he was so odd that no one wanted to be around him.

    Two titles I love: Swans of Fifth Ave (right?!) and A Gentleman in Moscow. I can’t think of any I really dislike, but i know they’re out there! And I am absolutely one of those people who will choose a book by its title.

    Posted 10.25.17 Reply
  12. I really like the title Born a Crime too. It just sticks out and makes me interested!

    I did know that authors don’t always have a say in their titles, which is a bummer, because I often get attached to the titles for my own “books.”


    Posted 10.26.17 Reply
  13. Darlene L. Overton wrote:

    Aw! I don’t hate A Lowcountry Heart as a title. I just read your review on it and it makes me want to read it NOW, but I haven’t read anything else by him since Prince of Tides. Reckon I’ll put some Conroy on my Christmas list.

    Posted 10.26.17 Reply
  14. I love the punny titles of some cozy mysteries: Knot in My Back Yard by Mary Marks and The Stitching Hour by Amanda Lee to name but two. A few varied examples of other books: The Art of Work by Jeff Goins, Granny Skewers a Scoundrel by Julie Seedorf.

    There is only one book title (and therefore subject matter as well) which I truly so loathe I would consider setting a match to the book. It’s very timely non-fiction, given the news coming out of Hollywood these days. By timely I mean the book promotes that type of activity; definitely not a plus. Don’t worry, I won’t pollute your blog by mentioning either the book or the ‘author’ here.

    In general the cover art is more likely to draw me in than a title.

    Posted 10.27.17 Reply
  15. Haha, I love why you love 11/22/63. I liked the song Seasons of Love from Rent for a similar reason, since it gives you the number of minutes in a year 🙂

    Posted 11.3.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Well I also loved the book…haha!

      And love yours!

      Posted 11.8.17 Reply

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