Have you ever seen a book title and asked, “WTF is that supposed to be about?”
Take for example, John Grisham’s The Firm. I think that was my first Grisham book I read. What was it about? I can’t remember, because the title doesn’t mean anything. Okay, it’s about a firm. A law firm. Something about this guy and his wife sneaking in and copying a bunch of documents because the firm was being unethical with something. I think there was also something about some lawyer bugging a couple’s room so he could see the “fun” going on. Now that I’ve squeezed a few dribbles of facts out of my brain, we should rename the book into something that makes more sense. How about, Do-gooder Young Lawyer Vs. Corrupt, Big-Brother-ish Lawyers by John Grisham. (Just an FYI…his books pretty much all have the same plot. Save yourself the time.)
Now, doesn’t that sound much more accurate? It’s a better book title! Someone’s taken this idea and made a whole website out of it.
Take Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders (big thanks to my husband for helping me remember the book’s title and author). Executive Orders sounds like it would be a boring book about presidential directives. Except for the fact someone told me it’s about a plane crashing into and killing the entire Congress. I thought, “hey, sounds interesting and an exciting read!”
I started reading it. It was about improperly made gas tanks that blow up and kill families. (Sounds like this, doesn’t it?) It was a slog of a read. I thought, perhaps the Congress blowing up part comes in the second chapter? Nope. Maybe it comes in a few more chapters in, after setting it up. (Though why the faulty gas tanks have anything to do with Congress blowing up is beyond me.) Next, the book started talking about corrupt businessmen who like whores, and about whores getting killed.
The suspense was killing me! I guess that’s why this is classified as a suspense novel–because you’re wondering just when will the exciting part will FINALLY come in? This chapter? Or this chapter?
About halfway through the book, I wanted to give up, but like I said, the suspense was killing me, so I decided to slog on through. Tons of people read Clancy for some reason. I needed to find out that reason.
In the last few pages of the entire book–yes, you heard me right–the last few pages of the entire book, a plane crashed into Congress, killing everybody. I wished I was his editor. “Condense the first 99% of the book into no more than 20 pages. We don’t really want to market your book as a cure for insomnia.”
So….what would the better book title be? Tom Clancy’s Mostly Boring about Faulty Gas Tanks, Hookers, Businessmen, Politicians. (Oh Yes, At the Very End, A Plane Crashes Into Congress.)
Do you have any other similar gems to share?