They say never judge a book by its cover. Maybe they’re right (whoever ‘they’ are), but let’s face it – people are much more likely to buy a book if it has a good cover, a good blurb on the back, and, in my opinion, if it has an awesome title. I have bought books several times entirely because of the name of the book, so it definitely works on me.
Again, it is too hard to pick just one, so I’m going to list a few of my favourite titles. Enjoy!
An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke – I picked this novel up, having burst into laughter at the title, and about two minutes later I bought it. The great thing is, this book is about exactly what the title suggests it would be about – a man accidentally burns down a famous writer’s house in New England, and goes to jail for ten years. The book begins when he gets out of jail, and tries to start life nearby in a different town, hiding his dark past from his wife and children, until eventually the houses of other famous writers start going up in flames, and he realises his past has come back to haunt him. A great and funny read.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell – This was another novel that I bought based purely on the title. It just sounds so poetic, and though I haven’t read it yet, I have heard nothing but good reviews for it, so I imagine I will love it. The title is also a reference to a native poetic name for Japan – The Land of a Thousand Autumns. I’ll review this novel when I do get around to reading it.
Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall by Spike Milligan – I have probably mentioned this before, but this title is too good not to bring up one last time for this blog. This is the first book of a series of seven war memoirs that Milligan wrote about his experiences in World War Two, and it is absolutely hilarious. Some of the other titles in the series also happen to play on the wording of this original book. Definitely worth reading.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks – After I read Musicophilia by Sacks (which I discussed back in the blog for day 24), I knew I had to go back and read the rest of his books about various neurological cases and the inspiring people behind them. This was the first title I found, partially due to its popularity but mostly due to its quirky title. The opening case of the book is about a man who has trouble recognising faces and putting parts of his vision into a coherent whole, and so went to grab his hat one day only to find himself grabbing his wife’s face. A great read by an inspiring non-fiction author.
An Utterly Impartial History of Britain or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots In Charge by John O’Farrell – This is one of the best history books I have ever read. It is absolutely hilarious the whole way through, as O’Farrell pokes fun at all the ridiculous events and people caught up in Britain’s history, from 55 B.C. to the end of WWII in 1945. He followed this up with an equally entertaining history of Britain from the end of the war onwards. If you want a good laugh, while learning a little bit of fascinating history at the same time, this is the book for you.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka – This book caught my attention not only because the title made me laugh, but because it made me curious – I wanted to know what the title could possibly mean. The story follows two daughters who react in different ways to the news that their father is marrying a much younger Ukrainian immigrant. Their father, in the meantime, is also trying to write a history of tractors in Ukraine, which we see extracts of through the story. It is quite funny, not a life changing novel but I would recommend it for a light hearted read.
I could go on with this list but I’ll stop there. Are there any titles of books you absolutely love, or that make you laugh?