Nude Killers on Rollerskates

I asked a friend of mine who has some experiencing writing and publishing books if he had any advice about titles, and in particular if there were any mistakes to be avoided.

He paused and thought. “Well,” he said “I would avoid the mistake made by the author of “Death on America’s Highways”.

“You mean the collection of heartwarming memories of the author’s Gram in Yorkshire?”

“The same. “

“Are there any other poorly titled works you’d suggest I take under advisement as a lesson in what not to do?”

“There are indeed. I think “Rambles Through My Library” was a very poorly titled work.”

“The autobiography of a man who spent seven years a hitman in the Camorra? I read that. I agree.”

“And “Scratched: The Hideous Underworld of People Who Force Others to Have Sex with Tigers” — that was ill-titled in the extreme.”

“The history of math in Holland in the 60s?”

“Yes. I could think of a dozen better titles for that one.”

“Exactly. Like “Arson at 20,000 feet!”

“Or “A Nipple Ring for Constantine. Or even the simple title “Patton:A Biography” or “How to Care for an Ailing Cat.”

“Who do you think was the best title of our generation?”

“Well the best and worst were the same man, that author who titled all his works the same thing: King Without a Crown. So King without a Crown for example–

“His saucy limerick?”

“Yes. Ill-titled. King without a Crown–“

“His opera about the birth of Gauss?”

“Execrably titled. But King without a Crown on the other hand–

“His vignettes about sailboats in New York City Harbor in the 1940s and 50s?”

“The same. Now, there was a work with a good title!”


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