Do Book Titles Turn You Off?

February 21, 2015 Bookish Confession, Marianne's Thoughts 44

Let’s Discuss!

This question was inspired by both Happy Indulgence and Rabid Reads, who both discuss their pet peeves in books.

What’s in a name? Well that’s easy. A name captures an essence, it’s a first impression, it’s what will capture your attention (or make it fizzle into nothing).

I mean, would you name your dog Lamborghini-Ferrari-Sparkle-Captain-Underpants?*

Let’s pretend you’re walking through a library, and you’re only going to pick 3 books (because you’re a rational and responsible bookworm and you know you have an e-reader full of eARCs at home that you should probably tackle)… but how to pick? Do you have time to read every single summary? Take every single book out of the YA section? So, how to narrow the choices?

I, specifically, just choose to look at the titles.

For me, an eye-catching title is enough to interest me in a book. Whether the title is really long, or really short, I like the cleverness of a title. How do you sum up a work of art into such few words? How did Van Gogh settle on calling his painting “Starry Night”? Why didn’t he call it “blue painting with pretty yellow swirls and it looks like nighttime”? (Starry Night is a million times better ;)) 

My point is, sometimes I come a cross a title that is so bad that I have to…

Because the title alone doesn’t motivate me to want to find out anything else about the story. I think in a way this is worse than judging books by their covers, but I can’t seem to help it.

There’s this book that is releasing (or has released already, I’m not sure) in 2015, and the book title is something that sounds so cheesy that I literally turn the other way and ignore whatever relates to it. It sounds so desperate and needy and just very… damsel in distress-y and I don’t need another book like that in my life. I’m probably wrong (and I hope so!) but I can’t bring myself to ever read that book because of the title.

Probably because it has a title that doesn’t very much suit it…

This has happened to me only a handful of times, but every time it does it gets more and more uncomfortable. For example, I was at my local bookstore, and I picked randomly  picked a book because it had a nice cover. However, the title it just screamed EROTICA. It was called something along the lines of “Pleasuring You”. My immediate thought was, “I’m pretty sure this is not something I’d enjoy”, so I put the book down and kept looking for another one.

I know this is bad, because it’s judging based on something I don’t know.

But… with a never-ending to-read list, and a short life to live, I have to narrow down the books I pick somehow.

Tell me, do you do something like this? Do you have another way to judge books? Also, do book titles turn you off? Let me know in the comments! 

 

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I'm Marianne. Professional Fangirl, part-time Blogger. Full-time college student. GIFs are a natural part of my posts, so be warned. I LOVE reading, so definitely feel free to discuss books with me. Opinions are welcome.
  • Don’t worry Marianne, I look to book titles too! Plus the colours of the spines. I think that’s worse. Hahaha. But if the colour of a spine pops out at me and the title sounds interesting, I’m much more likely to pick up a book. If we were to spend out time reading the synopses of each and every book, then we’d never actually get to read any. Soon, I say, ditch the guilt and keep doing this 😉

    • Now that you mention it, the colors of the spines play a big part! I mean they have to call out to me somehow, right? Thanks, Josephine! I am now guilt free! 🙂

  • Book titles intrigue me so much! If the title sounds dumb or if I can infer something negative about it I tend to stay away. Between Shades of Gray or whatever it’s called just sounds too sad and depressing. Not gonna look at it, sorry! But say if you have the word “Crown” or “Game” or “throne” or “death” or something equally enticing then I will be all over the book. A title can make or break a book for me, sorry books 😉 Lovely discussion!

    • All those keywords work for me, too! Also, if there’s clever rhyming involved, I usually take a longer glance at the book 🙂

  • Book titles not so much, but the font they use for them is a dealbreaker for me. Anyone can buy a stock photo, but once they slap some font on there, that’s what I tend to look for. Books with really simple or overly complex titles annoy me, but the ones you can’t pronounce shit me. How are you expected to ask anyone if they have a copy in stock, if you can’t even pronounce it.

    Really curious which book you’re taking about. Can we have a clue?
    Great post Marianne <3

    • The font thing is so true!

      And it’s hilarious that you would say that. There’s a book that I read a couple of years ago, with a title so complicated and tongue-twisty, that I always just called it something else. When I went to the library, I forgot the actual name and referred to it as the nickname I gave it, and spent like 3 hours in vain searching for it. HAHA.

      I don’t want to say the name of that book, so I don’t damage their marketing in some way, but I’m just going to say the name of one that repeatedly pops up on my Facebook feed: Stalk Me. To top it off, it has a cover that I don’t like, so you can guess how far away from a priority that book is to me ;P

  • shootingstarsmag

    Interesting topic! I really do love a good, clever title. Things that stick out (in a good way) and sound interesting are always nice. I do try and read the summary or a look a bit more at a book, but you’re right, you don’t always have the time and it’s important to have the best title you can think of!

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

  • Melanie Z

    Hmm… i actually don’t really care about book titles. I mean, I think I look at the covers wayyyy more. Though, pretty and fancy fonts get me all the time. Slap it on a book and I would wanna buy it immediately.

    Excellent topic, hun! <33

  • Hmmm this is quite an interesting topic…I judge books by their cover rather a lot, and if a title amuses me then that’s even better (eg: Apocalypse Cow – I bought this based on the title!)

    I’m not sure about bad titles though, I can’t really think of any. I suppose I’m more visual, but if there’s some wordplay going on, I appreciate that too 🙂

    • Haha Apocalypse Cow does sound interesting.

      I love when there’s wordplay, or even puns on a title! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Bec

    Oh yeah I totally judge titles. Not too hardly because I’ve read some great books with terrible, terrible titles, but it does play a part. I’m particularly drawn to badass and epic sounding titles (Like the Lotus War book titles: Stormdance, Kinslayer, Endsinger) and unique, lyrical titles. Length doesn’t really matter.

  • I judge titles as much as I judge covers and I’ve accepted that I always will! Although I think I’m more judgey when it comes to romance. There’s just way too much out there and you’re right, sometimes we don’t have the time or even energy to check out each book deeper. Awesome topic Marianne! 😀

    • That’s true! I think I judge contemporaries more based on titles. Don’t know why, I guess because I have to feel like it sounds contemporary. Thanks, Amir <3

  • Yes and yes and yes…and sometimes it’s just awkward. Like Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater? My mum gave me a seriously odd look when I was reading that and I was just like, “IT’S ABOUT WEREWOLVES.” Gah. And there are a lot of awful one-word titles that make me feel the book is going to be generic before I even start. Like “Unwanted” and “Rebel” and “Captive”. Like COME ON.

    • Hahaha my mom thought there was something wrong with me when I bought “Wedding Night” by Sophie Kinsella. I had to explain that I was just reading some funny chicklit xD “Unwanted” definitely sounds bad if I only based my opinion on the title… Like seriously what is wrong with publishers? Thanks for stopping by, Cait!

  • Not really. What turns me off is if the title of the book does not live up to its promise.

  • Oooh I’ve never even thought about it but I guess I do do it subconsciously! I’m usually not all too bothered by titles but I would usually read the blurb first and then make my decision. I think I’m not of a cover fiend rather than a title one 😛

    • I used to do it subconciously until I sat down and thought about how my book picking process went 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Joy! 🙂

  • Thanks for the shout out! I personally don’t really give the title much thought unless it’s funny or weird. I do enjoy finding out how a book got its name while reading, but if that never happens I do feel disappointed. The title should make sense eventually IMO. I judged She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens when it hit my review request queue, but I risked it, and it paid off in the end. I LOVE Molly Harper’s title choices!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

  • Valeria@A Touch of Book Madnes

    I think it is ok to judge a book by its title or cover. There are so many books you need to come a up with a filtering system. I’m sorry for those books that have been wrongly judged, but first impressions are very, very important, and the only first impressions we have of a book are those things that lure us, like titles and covers. If I find them attractive then I will read the synopsis and make up my mind if the book is something I would enjoy.

  • Hmm yeah, so I just finished a book titled: My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park, so ahhaha I learned to not care about those. In fact, the stranger, the better. I don’t like when they’re too simple, such as ”The First Date” or ”True Love” or ”The Beautiful Life,” etc.

  • Benish

    I do look at titles at first, then I check out the cover and synopsis. If it has a weird title, I usually put it back down lol we’re on the same boat<3 Great post! Benish | Feminist Reflections

    • Hahaha I don’t put down weird titles, but if they’re TOO weird then I have to pause and think “do I think I can do this?”. It’s why I still haven’t read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies even if I have it on my bookshelf. Hahaha.

  • Mostly, I pick up books with pretty spines. 😉 Normally, I don’t really give much thought to the book titles. Maybe I’ll question those after I read the book (like how the heck is it related to the story, or why did they not justify the book with the title), but before reading? Nope, nada. 🙂

    Awesome topic, Marianne!

    • Spines!!! I think that’s my criteria after covers and titles. After I finish the book I like to wonder why it was actually called what it was.

      Thanks, Aimee 🙂

  • Hahahah Pleasuring You! Totally hilarious Marianne! I pretty much judge covers more than I judge titles, although sometimes they can be hilarious too. Great topic lovely!

    • Covers are my go-to judgement. But sometimes I don’t even have time to look at he cover so titles is the way to go!

      Thanks, Jeann :))

  • I definitely get interested by the title, which is why most NA books already lose me. I LOVE long titles like The girl who circumnavigated into fairytale etc or when the title itself makes me wonder what the book is about, like A mad, wicked folly.

    • Yesss. Long titles definitely interest me a lot. It’s sure not to be confused with another book. That’s why titles like “Love” or “Stars” just bore me.

  • Great post 🙂 Titles and covers cinch the deal for me when I’m choosing a book. But more than once, I found I enjoyed a book that had a cover that wasn’t great. So I try not to judge a book by its cover like the old saying goes.
    https://bookwormnai.wordpress.com/

    • I’ve been wrong before while judging books, but more often than not I find that I always make some kind of judgement over the book before I read it.

  • Guest

    Blah I repeated my post >_< SORRY

  • You’re well in your rights to pick your books however you want, Marianne! 😀 I judge book titles as well. If it’s too long or not witty enough to grab my attention, I wouldn’t really look at it in a bookstore. Like you, I’m all for first impressions when looking for new books to buy (ARCs and stuff are a different story). If it has an interesting title, I’d check the back out … I actually use titles than covers recently when it comes to evaluating a book at first glance!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    • So glad I’m not the only one who does this. Sometimes judging a cover isn’t enough anymore. *cough* The Jewel *cough*

  • Titles are definitely deal breakers for me! When I can only see spines, its all I’ve got to go on for picking a book. So it has to be pretty good. I don’t mind if it’s plain, but if it something intriguing, like, THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER, I’ll be very quick to pick it up. I love interesting titles. But I also really like simply ones! Like BOY MEETS BOY. It perfectly tells me what it is about, and that I want to read it, and will probably like it.

    I don’t remember any specific titles that I have stayed away from, but I know there has to be a few. Something like Pleasuring You would be an instant “NO” for me, haha XD

    • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer first intrigued me because of the title. Then I saw the cover and I was hooked. Haha.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks Pleasuring You is a horrendous title. XD

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  • Benish

    I look for a catchy title more than a pretty cover though. Sometimes, I see pretty covers but I don’t always read them. If I see an amazing title, I’m so reading it! I judge by book titles too.. I agree with the “pleasuring you” comment lol usually those books aren’t for me either.
    <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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