The Trouble with Titles

If you are anything like me, then you dread having to give your book or short story a title. I’m awful at giving things titles but I have good reasons for it. After spending a great deal of time browsing the bookstore shelves (or sometimes window shopping online), I’ve noticed some patterns that come up when it comes to book titles. Here I present to you my observations about the do’s and don’t’s of book titles. Note: This is my personal opinion. I don’t mean to hate on any books but sometimes, the titles could use improvement. Also, I don’t mean to hate if your stories have titles like the ones I’m about to complain about.

Edgy Buzzwords: Darkness, shadow, smoke, death, ash, night…these are all words that pop up when you’re browsing the sic-fi or fantasy section. YA lit tends to use these “edgy” words in their titles more because the authors realize that teenagers want to feel rebellious in how they choose their literature. Adult books are guilty of this too. So, if you want to refer to darkness or fire in your title, just know that the market is currently saturated with these “gothic” book titles. Sometimes, it just feels as though the authors are trying too hard to be dark.

Avoid “And The…”: Ever since Harry Potter debuted, it’s been common to see titles that sound something like “So-and-so and the Thing of the Thing” or whatever. This typically only works for series, though. I suggest avoiding “and the” titles for standalone novels. If I read a “and the” title my mind immediately assumes that this is part of a series. Think carefully using the “and the” title.

Make the Title Relevant to the Whole Book: A big pet peeve of mine is when the title of the book only refers to once specific scene in the book in one part of the book. For example, in Twilight there is only once scene that is set at twilight and that’s it. Stephanie Meyer thought she was being really clever with her metaphorical titles but they hold no real relevance to the story itself. Think of an ongoing motif in your story or an event that your novel is set around. Example, The Hunger Games is obviously set around the titular event or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is set around them finding the Deathly Hallows. You don’t always have to make your titles a stretch.

Titles Based on Quotes Work: For years, authors have been using parts of quotes from other books in order to titles their books. You know what? This works. I’m a big fan of quotes so if I see a book title that refers back to another story I like then I’m tempted to read it. This mostly works with references to plays or poetry. A few good examples are: Of Mice and Men, The Fault in Our Stars, The Sound and the Fury, A Raisin in the Sun, As I Lay Dying, No Country for Old Men

Be Careful with Long Titles: Some of you out there might be fans of Panic! At The Disco or Fall Out Boy. Do you remember when they had those super long and ridiculous song titles that made you laugh and love the song more for its quirky title? Well, it works with books too. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them all own their long and weird titles. Just make sure these titles are still attention grabbing and not tedious to read. Especially be careful with subtitles.

Make it Meta: Meta titles are some of the best. By this, I mean that I like titles that refer to stories within the stories. Self-aware stories are fun so make the title self-aware. Examples: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith refers to the title of a book of a murdered author that helps Cormoran Strike solve the murder. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman centers around the prophecies predicted by the witch and how they come true throughout the novel.

Bonus: I found some links of examples of really bad book titles and covers (sometimes a combination of the two). If you’re bored then check these out.

Bored Panda: 40 Worst Book Covers and Titles

eBaum’s World: 35 Hilariously Bad Book Titles and Covers

Buzzfeed: 26 Hilariously Bad Book Covers

 

 

The Horror Movies Book Tag

It’s October so I might as well do something Halloween-themed. Shout out to Thrice Read for posting this tag on their blog. I welcome you all to do this super spooky tag too.

Zombie Apocalypse: Name a book you would save when civilization ends.

If I were to pick a series, then I would say Harry Potter. If I were to pick a standalone novel, then I would pick The Odyssey.  

zombie

The Vampire: Name a book you would stake through the heart.

The Circle by Dave Eggers pissed me off to no end with its infuriating characters who don’t learn anything at all. I get that the point of the book is that sometimes you can’t escape innovation (good or bad) but I thought that was a little pessimistic.

vampire

Haunted House: A book that still haunts you

The Secret History by Donna Tartt has stuck with me since I read it for the first time, not knowing what I was getting into. It’s easily Tartt’s most quotable book. Bonus: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak also stuck in my mind after I read them.

haunted house

The Psychological Thriller: A book with a twist that you didn’t see coming.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn definitely threw me for a loop. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher also does a great job with plot twists as Hannah tells her story. Bonus: American Gods by Neil Gaiman (that I love) includes some great plot twists as well. Red Shirts by John Scalzi has a really meta plot that messed with me.

psycho

The Creepy Doll: A book that seems innocent but it’s not.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green both begin out innocently enough only to rip your heart out and stomp on it. (I mean, you can say that for most John Green books, though. I can’t say the same for John Steinbeck.)

creepy doll

The Monster: A book that you could barely tackle.

I reviewed The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt before I actually finished because the book was so long, at least for me. I still enjoyed it, though. Admittedly, I’m still not quite finished with IT by Stephen King either.

monster

The Comedy Horror: A book with mixed genres that worked or didn’t work.

Rooms by Lauren Oliver did a really good job mixing a ghost story with a family drama. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is a great combination of supernatural elements and comedy as well.

beetlejuice

The Cliched Teen Horror: A book you found super cliche.

The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer was riddled with cliches. I also found An Abundance of Katherines by John Green to be a bit cliche but it wasn’t nearly as bad as Twilight if you ask me.

teen horror

The Demonic Possession: A book that was so gripping that you needed an exorcist to escape it.

The Harry Potter series, The Percy Jackson series, American Gods, The Princess Bride, Looking for Alaska, The Little Friend, The Lost Symbol

exorcist

The Science Fiction: A book you would sacrifice to the aliens for the good of mankind.

I would happily give the aliens The Book Thief and To Kill a Mockingbird in order to illustrate the best and worst parts of humanity.

alien

 

 

 

Book Tropes I Have Yet To Get Tired Of

I already did my rant about book tropes that I hate and I’m glad to see that a lot of you feel the same way. As I was thinking about that, I realized that there are also book tropes that I still find endearing. I don’t feel books need these tropes in order to be be good but, if they show up, I thoroughly enjoy them. Let me know if any of you like these too or if you have some beloved book tropes that you enjoy.

Opposites Attract – I already talked about how I hate uneven couples but this is a bit different. I like the couples or friendships who have opposite personalities or ideas but still connect. Whether you have the optimist and the pessimist or the overachiever and the slacker, these relationships are charming in how they both see the world differently but compliment each other’s differences. These character pairs also provide a good foundation for character development. (The gif below is an example.)

kirk and spock

Villain Turned Weird Ally – I don’t see this one too often in literature but I love this trope regardless. There is nothing quite as funny (in my opinion) as seeing the once mighty villain end up befriending the hero in some way, even becoming their best ally. It’s a weirdly specific trope but I think it’s a good one. (Again, I present another example in gif form.)

crowley

The Grand Romantic Gesture – I have never been a huge fan of romance novels but I’m a big sap at heart so when I read about some heartfelt romantic gestures I tend to melt inside. I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic somewhere deep in my heart so I can’t help but find some unique expression of sincere love.

princess bride

The “Alice in Wonderland” Plot – Honestly, I really don’t mind the plots that involve a relatively normal character suddenly finding themselves in a topsy-turvy world unlike their own. I think they can be done really well. As long as the story isn’t trying too hard to be like Lewis Carol’s most famous novel then I will continue to eat up the general plot.

alice

The Over-Eager Hero – While I am a fan of the reluctant hero trope, I do find the over-eager hero to be an enjoyable trope as well. I think it’s quite entertaining to have a character who only wants to help in whatever capacity that they can. They’re typically young and wide-eyed but they have all the best intentions. The budding young hero must transform and mature in order to fulfill their dreams of saving the world. (This character can sometimes come across as annoying but they mean well.)

spiderman

Girls Who Don’t Take Anyone’s Shit – You’ve got to love a well-written, strong female character who is not there to mess around. She knows exactly what she needs to accomplish and she will not let anyone stop her. The world may look down on her but she doesn’t care because she is so sure of herself. These fictional girls should be known the world over as the inspirations that they are. The world can never have enough of these characters in any medium, not just literature.

katniss

The Reluctant Companion – This kind of ties into the “Opposites Attract” trope but I love the relationship between the one character who wants to do dangerous and stupid shit and the other character who can’t stop their friend from doing dumb shit so they might as well tag along to make sure their friend makes it out alive. I relate to both of these characters and I love to read about them.

watson

 

 

 

 

The Anything but Books Tag

It’s no surprise that I’m doing yet another tag but I figured I do one that is not related in anyway to books so that you all can get to know me a bit more. I found this tag from Charlotte Annelise so check out her blogs. In the meanwhile, feel free to learn some things about me.

Name a Cartoon that You Love – I’ve actually become a fan of Rick and Morty recently. Normally, I’m not a huge cartoon person outside of Disney movies but this cartoon matches my sick sense of humor.

rick and morty

What is your Favorite Song right now? – I’m currently a fan of “Angel on Fire” by Halsey, “Too Good at Goodbyes” by Sam Smith, and “Heroin” by Lana Del Rey.

lana del rey

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading? – I’d probably be watching movies/tv shows/YouTube videos because I’m a bum like that.

tv

What’s something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by? – I don’t know but I guess you all might be surprised that I like cooking. I don’t do it often but I do own cookbooks that I’ve used.

cooking

What is your favorite unnecessarily specific thing that you like to learn about? – I’m a bit of a conspiracy theory buff. Do I exactly believe what in those theories? No. Are they still fascinating to learn about? Yes, if you ask me. Also I just love learning weird facts so feel free to send me some good ones.

conspiracy

What’s something unusual that you know how to do? – I actually know a lot about camping stuff, like how to tie certain knots or properly cook food over a fire. I used to camp a lot when I was younger and was a Girl Scout for a time.

camping

Did you make something in the last year, and if so, can you show it? – I’m pretty darn inartistic. My mom, on the other hand, is super crafty so if I had a picture I would show you one of the Halloween wreaths that she made.

What is your most recent personal project? – I’ve had a novel and some short stories on the back burner for a while now but I’ve done anything with them in a while.

writing

Tell us something that you think about often? – What am I going to eat next?

pooh bear

Give us something that is your favorite but oddly specific – Hair-brushing ASMR, Songs with a Person’s Name in the Title, Jalepno Poppers that have Cream Cheese Filling, Vintage Ghost Photos, and Dark Blue Boot Cut Jeans

weird

Say the first thing that pops into your head – what the fuck is happening now?

thats me

 

As Above, So Below: Reviewing Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I bet that you’ve been waiting for me to talk about how much I love Neil Gaiman’s novels. Well, I’m back to tell you about another one of his novels. I meant to write about this one a while ago but I forgot. I have since re-read the book and will now share with you my thoughts on the strange world of Neverwhere. 

Richard Mayhew was doing pretty well for himself with a nice job and wonderful fiancee  in London. All of that changed when he stumbled across a dying girl on the sidewalk. Soon, Richard finds himself trapped in the bizarre and macabre world of London Below where he must fight to get his life back and reach the surface against all odds.

Neil Gaiman is the master of creating vivid settings and characters with just his words. Neverwhere is a wild and wonderful take on the classic “Alice in Wonderland”-type story. Gaiman’s wicked sense of humor shines through in this whimsical novel. Neverwhere is a testament to Gaiman’s world-building abilities. If you are looking for a thrilling and special tale, then I recommend Neverwhere in order to escape from this world to one below.

Wilting, Falling, Rooting, Rising, Blooming: Reviewing The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

I may have said before that I have never been a huge fan of poetry. I’m awful at writing it and it doesn’t hold my attention for long. Older poetry tends  to bore me, though I have a few exceptions. In the modern era, though, poetry has been redefined to become more relatable and powerful. I will now present to you my thought on Rupi Kaur’s second collection of poetry, the sun and her flowers. 

Rupi Kaur continues her exploration of life and its struggles in her new set of poems. Kaur doesn’t hold back as she talks about her own personal experiences with pain and how she has learned to recover. Each poem, long and short, is carefully crafted to provide profound insight into her life and the lives of others. Her simple illustrations create a dreamy feel that fits her ongoing aesthetic. With the metaphor of flowers and foliage, Kaur leads the reader through her life’s struggles while providing a relatable narrative for almost anyone.

I truly think Kaur’s books should be read by every woman. Kaur is such a powerful feminist writer and she isn’t afraid to talk about more taboo issues, such as rape or dealing with body image. Poetry isn’t my “thing” but Kaur is my exception. If you’re already a fan then you should read this second collection and, if you aren’t a fan, go out and read this poetry. You might realize that these were things that you needed to read.

Book Tropes I Absolutely Hate

I talk about many books I love and a few that I was unimpressed with but I haven’t done a full-on rant yet. I’m not going to be ranting about any books in particular but I will be highlighting tropes that I feel need to be thrown in the literary trash heap of things writers need to stop doing. These are in no particular order. I hope some of you share my opinion or maybe have a horrible trope that I didn’t mention.

Questionable Consent – I don’t know when we started thinking it was sexy for one character to reluctantly give into another character’s romantic desires but I think this one needs to die. Either both characters are in a relationship or they aren’t. Pressuring someone into a relationship isn’t attractive and we need to stop portraying this in novels.

confused

Indecisive Characters – Indecision is a perfectly viable plot device that can be used correctly to develop a character but your character ought to make a damn decision. This especially happens with female characters who are caught in some stupid love triangle. If you’re going to have your character face a tough decision, make it matter.

i don't know

Needless Character Deaths – Character deaths can be essential to a story, especially depending on the genre of story. That being said, even if the character shows up just to die or begins the story being dead, make it matter. Don’t let this person die for no good reason and don’t forget about their death. Make sure to refer back to the death as being important, regardless of if the character is good or bad or in between. Don’t kill off just because you want to.

time to die

Mental Illness as a Quirk – If you want to write about a character with mental illness then go for it but make sure that you are giving a realistic portrayal. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I can tell you that panic attacks aren’t “cute” nor am I looking for someone who will “cure” me. Don’t try to romanticize mental health issues, or even physical health issues.

nervous

Uneven Couples – It’s a perfectly normal part of romance literature to create couple that are opposites but don’t make your characters so opposite that they are basically incompatible. I hate when you’re reading a book and one half of the couple is some sort of perfect, successful, angel while the other person is basically a pile of trash. It’s especially worse when the perfect one tries to “fix” the garbage one. Write your couples better.

what

Main Characters with Stupid Problems – The whole point of your main character is to give them actual serious problems to solve. Don’t juxtapose your character’s problems with a side character’s problems who are significantly worse. I’m not going to care if the main character can’t pick which shirt to wear when their friend is dealing with a broken leg or something.

stupid

Too Much Perfection – We want our characters to have redeeming qualities but you have to balance them out with some weaknesses. Even if we’re talking physical qualities, don’t make your character unbelievably perfect. Make them a little human, at least.

perfect

The Punching Bag – If you’re writing an action-based story, make sure your character actually does react to pain like a normal person. Sure, your character might have a more strength or endurance than an average human but they should still react to an injury like any other person. Don’t make them a punching bag that can just take hit after hit without problems. Eventually, your character should get knocked down and not get back up right away.

punching

Lack of Consequences – When you do something bad or questionable, then the result of your actions should catch up with you. Regardless of if we’re talking a protagonist or antagonist, their actions should somehow result in consequences even if its karma taking place.

consequences

The Pseudo Nerd – Your character is allowed to have interests but make sure that they actually know what they’re talking about. Just because your main character can name all of the planets in our solar system, it doesn’t mean that they are an aspiring astronomer like the writer says they are. Don’t be lazy and not do research.

nerd

Too Much Crying – I feel like a hypocrite writing this because I am a bit of a cry baby but I still eventually suck it up and go on. This should be the case for your characters. I don’t want to read about your Mary Sue sobbing non-stop for no real reason. Keep the crying to a reasonable amount please.

crying

Everything Affects Everything: Reviewing Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I was actually required to read this book for the Young Adult Literature class I’m currently taking. I was a bit skeptical about this book going in. I had heard mixed reviews about this novel so I was a bit hesitant to read it. It’s certainly a difficult book to read and review. Suicide is never a topic that comes up with ease. Most of the time, people have to pull the word out of themselves in order to talk about it. But it is something that needs to be talked about so now I will give you my review of Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher’s debut novel.

Clay Jensen’s life had just returned to normal when a package shows up that changes everything he knows. It contains tapes that were made by his deceased classmate, Hannah Baker, who tragically took her own life not too long ago. Clay decides to embark on a journey around his town with Hannah guiding him in order to learn why the reasons why she took her life. Asher’s unique and haunting narration provides an impactful look at teen suicide and how it affects others.

Like I said, I was skeptical about this novel going in but I now have a better understanding of it. Asher’s writing is breath-taking and suspenseful as he helps the reader (and Clay) understand how even small actions can have a huge impact on people’s lives. Hannah and Clay are unnervingly relatable as they both struggle with the consequences of their actions. Asher isn’t afraid to reveal the toxic environments that teenagers face as they struggle through high school. Thirteen Reasons Why is a hard pill to swallow but it’s worth it in order to understand the importance of being kind to others.

Note: I have not watched the Netflix series but I haven’t heard good reviews about it. If you have watched it, I would like to know what you think and how it compares to the book.

A Trick Worth Learning: Reviewing The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

Wow, I’m posting something other than a book tag. It only took a while but I finally got around to finishing my leisure reading. I do have some required reading that I will be reviewing so keep an eye out for that. In the meanwhile, please enjoy my review of Donna Tartt’s third novel, The Little Friend. 

Twelve years ago, the murder of young Robin Cleve Dufresnes shook the small town of Alexandria, Mississippi. Harriet, his younger sister, decides to take matters into her own hands in order to solve the murder and bring her family closure. Armed with her insufferable stubbornness, keen wit, and favorite novels, Harriet and her loyal friend Hely set out to do what all of the adults failed to do. This coming-of-age story follows the precocious young girl as she explores the town’s dark history in order to solve her brother’s murder.

I thought that The Goldfinch would be my second favorite Tartt novel but The Little Friend took me by surprise. Tartt uses her childhood in Mississippi in order to craft a town that feels all too real. Her young protagonist, Harriet, deserves to be put among the other great female protagonists. The novel has a southern gothic feel with a hint of To Kill a Mockingbird, though it is not a novel about morals necessarily. The Little Friend combines a classic coming-of-age tale with a murder mystery that connects the entire town of Alexandria. Tartt maintains her unique style of writing with her strong characterizations and well-twisted story.

The Intergalactic Book Tag

Guess who’s back with another book tag? It’s me because I’m bored and haven’t read anything new lately. I don’t know why but I keep getting myself into books that take me forever to finish. How about we kill some time with a book tag? I got this one from Comma Hangover

Space – Name a book that is out of this world, or that takes place in a world from its own

the martian 2the-colour-of-magic-2Neverwhere-GalleyCat

The Martian takes place on Mars, so you can’t get much out of this world then that. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series takes place in a topsy-turvy world that exists on the back of a turtle. Neverwhere is set in a magical world located under London that completely different from the London we know.

space 1

Black Hole – a book that completely sucked you in

the night circusamerican gods

I will continue to peddle American Gods as I could not put that book down when I first read it. The Night Circus was also a intriguing book that I quickly fell into.

black hole

Lightspeed – a book that you are anticipating so much that you wish you could use light speed to get to it.

turtles all the way downorigin

I realize that these authors are very decisive but I’m excited for these books regardless.

warp drive

Nebula – A book with a beautiful cover

doctor who books

All of the books in the 50th anniversary series of Doctor Who books are gorgeous. I should note that I own all of these and they are great books.

doctor who theme

Multiverse – Name a companion series or spinoff  that you love

Heroes of Olympus

I absolutely loved The Heroes of Olympus series. It was the perfect add on for the Percy Jackson series and I loved the addition of Roman mythology

doge space

Gravity – Name your favorite romantic pairing that seem to have a gravitational pull to each other.

achilles and patroclusliz and darcy

Achilles and Patroclus from The Song of Achilles are a wonderful couple that are so dedicated to each other. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy also have an undeniable attraction to each other without it being sappy.

space 2

The Big Bang – A book that got you started on reading.

Dragon Riderharry potter 1

Let’s just get Harry Potter out of the way because most of us got started with reading. I do remember absolutely loving Cornelia Funke and I loved The Dragon Rider in particular.

chris pratt

Asteroid – Name a short story or novella that you love

edgar allan poe collectionfragile things

Poe and Gaiman have written some of my all-time favorite short stories.

space 3

Galaxy – Name a book with multiple POVs

draculaGame of Thronesthe girl on the train.

These book all use multiple POVs beautifully and I definitely recommend them all.

Spaceship – Name a book title that would be a great name for a spaceship

the odyssey

Not The Odyssey but I think a ship called The Odysseus would be cool.

spaceship

That’s the end of this particular tag. I hope at least a few of you enjoyed this and wish to do this tag as well. Have a good day!