Day 28: Favorite Title
“Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg -
that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you'd imagined, that the world occupied by your
parents, the world of washing the dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to
buy floor tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of 'life'.”
Plenty, plenty, plenty to choose from today!
A title is a tricky thing. It has to be clever, catching, and all-together meaningful to the manuscript. And appealing! It has to have that X-factor, the ish, the it! That's what makes titles so tricky, folks. The title is responsible for the initial impression and is the most lasting way we communicate with and about a book.
My choice today is Paul Murray's Skippy Dies. There's something so Aristotelian about a title that divulges an event or plot point, and still the book manages to catch you off-guard when the named event occurs. I love that it's jarring, too. You know from the get go what you're about to get into and only when Skippy dies do you suddenly feel like this book is going to be one helluva ride.
And, guess what? It is! Until a few weeks ago, I thought it might be my day 30 pick for favorite book, actually, but I think my heart still belongs to another...Guess we'll find out on Tuesday!
“There was a midsummer restlessness abroad—early August with imprudent loves and impulsive crimes.”
The Love of the Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Doesn't that title just sound grandiose? As I've said before, I really should have been born in the early 1900s. It's those early decades that I love the most. But I digress!
The Love of the Last Tycoon was published posthumously, and originally as The Last Tycoon (not as awesome sounding). What you may not have known though, is that based on Fitzgerald's notes, he had actually intended for the book to be titled The Love of the Last Tycoon. And so it was eventually published with reworked notes in 1993 with the grandiose title that I love so much.
Every time I read the title it makes me want to pick up the book and devour it all over again. It wasn't a quick read oddly enough, but it was intelligent and delightful, sometimes scandalous, and all around lovely. It was a perfect depiction of a snuffing out of the stardom of movie producers and early Hollywood fame in the 1930s. Why wouldn't you want to know about the love of the last tycoon?