I am developing a fascination for book titles. Short, pithy phrases have always had my attention, and I realized lately that good book titles are an endless source of such phrases – the kind that say a lot with just a little.
I used to feel a sense of obligation to read books whose titles I felt attracted to, as if I need to be curious or else the writer would be offended. But lately, I am rather content with enjoying the phrase in itself and letting my mind imagine what might be inside the book, conjuring up my version of the possible content rather than discovering it through the reading process.
To create or to discover – two pleasing acts. Is one more worthy than the other?
I came across this via another book, but I liked the title (after getting past the misogynistic usage of man to represent all humans, but I let it pass, it was published in 1962) . The book cover and image (source unknown) is awesome too, isn’t it?
Earnest Becker, the author, was an American cultural anthropologist active in the later part of the last century, and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Denial of Death. Another interesting book title, and I do love an alliteration – going on a random alliterative path, the book could have been The Delusion of Death, The Deceit of Death, The Divisions of Death…so many possibilities of how this book could have turned out, each looking at it death quite differently. Yes, I like my new fascination with titles.
Come to think of it, they are a little like poetry. And together with a pleasing book cover image, it’s a complete work of art in itself. The kind of art I fall in love with – words, image, color…and the endless possibilities they evoke, promising a few hundred pages which are open to our imagination, as long as we don’t give in and read the book.