Thursday, February 12, 2015

What's in a Name... er, Title?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet

If you've never taken the time to parse apart that quote, it basically means that even if we called roses something other than "roses," they'd still serve the same purpose... smelling nice. Romeo is basically saying that it doesn't matter what Juliet's name is, because she's still pretty. It's a nice sentiment.

I disagree, though, to a degree. Sure, if we called roses "prettyblossoms" they'd probably be perceived in the same way as they do now. But if we called them "stinkweeds," even though they would still smell the same, we would perceive them differently. Did you know that canola oil is actually from something called rapeseed? Do you think you'd be just as likely to buy rapeseed oil as you are to buy canola oil? Perhaps, but not everyone is, and the market would take a pretty heavy hit. The same thing is true of Chilean sea bass. Before some fish wholesaler renamed it in 1977, it was best known as Patagonian toothfish. Not nearly as appetizing to read on a menu.

The point I'm aiming for is that a title is important to a book. People say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but you have to make a decision somehow before you've actually read the book. Granted, that's what things like reviews (hi, there!) and personal recommendations are for, but a title has a lot of influence over your first several impressions of the book.

Cassy chose this week's book, The Sheik's Accidental Pregnancy, because how on earth could you ever resist a book with a title like that?!?

What are some of the best titles you've heard? And be honest... did you pick up the book and read it because of the title? (And if you did, how was it?)

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