One of my bookish pet peeves is when a book title is a single world. Do you know how hard it is to find that book in a library catalog or at the bookstore? Yes, I would like to read a book called… Heartless. Heartless what? Who is the author? What color is the cover? It’s hard, man. As someone who works in a library, we get questions like this all the time, and it’s irritating to find a vague book title. But alas. So here are ten book titles that are glorious and unique, mainly because they aren’t a single word.
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor: Laini Taylor has a knack for writing beautiful prose, and it’s obvious by her book titles. Her books are set apart by their interesting titles, but my favorite of hers is Days of Blood and Starlight. (Night of Cake and Puppets is a close second, though.) Something about it just conjures up this breathtaking aesthetic that fits well with this particular trilogy.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: At this point, A Wrinkle in Time is just iconic. I’m basically in love.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: The title of this book just evokes questions: Who is Miss Peregrine? Why are their peculiar children? Where do they live? I think as a whole this title explains the plot of the book better than a synopsis could. It has the right amount of information to pique your interest, but it doesn’t give you any answers.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee: This title is unique because, like Miss Peregrine’s, it tells you a lot about the book before you even pick it up to read. Plus, it just rolls off the tongue so well with that alliteration.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: Immediately, this title summons an image in your mind: a knife. Which is a fundamental part of the story. This title just simmers with the gut-wrenching, heart-pounding thriller story line of the book.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick: This title does two things at once. It tells you something about the setting and character (Cabret is French) and it gives you an idea of what the story might entail (inventions). I’m a little sad that the movie version reduced this lovely title to simply “Hugo” because I think it’s about much more than just the boy. It’s about what he does, it’s about how he interacts with others, and it’s about his invention.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: I don’t know about you, but this title evokes a sense of excitement in me. I love how Sabaa Tahir ties in her titles with the world of her story. This isn’t a title you easily forget or copy.
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson: This title raises questions. What is a Sandcastle Empire? How does that work? It can also be a tiny misleading because when I first heard the title I was thinking it would be a fantasy story set in a sandcastle world. (I know, my brain is lame.) But after reading the book, I like how the title connects to the dystopian world.
The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber: I like when titles have character names in them because that sets it apart from other titles immediately. The whole “evaporation” aspect makes me curious… How does a person evaporate?
The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando: I read this book years ago, yet I can still remember it because the title was so unique. I like it when books use parentheses in the title; it suggests a particular tone for the book, one that I think works well with this humorous contemporary.
Of course, there are a lot of unique titles out there. I think these days people try to come up with interesting titles to catch people’s attention, which is okay as long as it ties into the novel itself and doesn’t seem random or pretentious (looking at you, John Green). And I will admit, there are some unique titles that are only one word (like Illuminae or Gemina), but it’s rare.