Having been weaned on a literary diet of 25 text books, 4.5 novels, 3 dictionaries and 1 epic facebook account, I can authoritatively declare that titles are like newspaper headlines. Their tone and tenor reveal the soul of the book
If the title is deliberately soporific like a daily we know, then the book will be pretentiously intellectual. ‘The Wealth of Nations’ by Adam Smith, ‘Development as Freedom’ by Amartya Sen and ‘Class War: The Attack on Working People’ by Noam Chomsky, are telling examples.
Pulpy paperbacks prefer something tabloidy. Think ‘Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter’, ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ and ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’ to appreciate my point better.
And the truly sidey ones use a yellow journalistic sleaziness to tease your senses. I’ve spent a considerable amount of my wasted life in hunting down such kitschy book titles. Here’s the best of the worst:
On top of my list is ‘How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art’ by Kathleen Meyer. Apparently the book is awash with heaps of advice on relieving oneself while camping out. It beats me how anyone can write or read such crap.
Carl Japikse’s breathtaking spiritual parody ‘The Zen of Farting’ ranks a close second. I wonder if anyone will sit next to you if you were carrying this 104-pager on a flight!
‘Pornogami – A Guide to the Ancient Art of Paper-Folding for Adults’ by Master Sugoi is an equally baffling book to chance upon. The kinky pleasure of transforming pieces of paper into objects of erotica is the premise of Pornogami. Don’t ask me who’ll buy it. May be Shiny Ahuja or Dominique Strauss-Kahn?
If you couldn’t handle that one, how about leafing through ‘If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs’? Amazon.com tells us that it’s a love-guide for women from a been-there-done-that guy. Can’t imagine who’ll want to order such poppycock.
‘Living with Crazy Buttocks’, ‘The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories’ and ‘101 Super Uses for Tampon Applicators’ offer further evidence for my theory that the more pick-me-up the title, the more put-me-down it will be.