Some of my favorite, really long stories in book titles

Posted October 24, 2017 by Amber in Memes / 8 Comments

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In my college writing classes, there were a lot of length-related challenges to push us outside our comfort zones.  We’d be challenged to write ten page stories, and one sentence story.  I am extraordinarily bad at writing my own stories in one sentence, but I love reading them.

So I was thinking about this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt looking for fun or unique book titles, and the ones that immediately jumped out to me were the long ones.  The book titles that are stories in themselves are my favorite ones to discover.  They make me imagine stories that are often completely different than the ones told between the covers.  So much fun!  Am I the only one who imagines the whole story by the title?

Here are a few really fantastic titles.

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The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse

by Robert Rankin

The dream:

A book full of disappointment and general unhappiness.  Not only is the world ending, but these stupid candies don’t even have the proper courtesy to be filled with peanut butter or something else delicious.  Possibly hunger raids and parties of feral children sweeping the abandoned streets.

The reality:

Toy Town—older, bigger, and certainly not wiser. The Old Rich, who have made their millions from the royalties on their world-famous nursery rhymes, are being murdered one by one. A psychopath is on the loose, and he must be stopped at any cost. It’s a job for Toy Town’s only detective—but he’s missing, leaving only Eddie Bear, and his bestest friend Jack, to track down the mad killer.

Disappointment Level: 100% – I found this really tedious and hard to read and didn’t make it very far.  I’m not sure I read the summary before I started reading?  I just thought the title was too delicious to deny.  Silly me.

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Just One Damned Thing After Another

by Jodi Taylor

The dream:

A series of bad luck instances happening to a a troupe of ragamuffin children, possibly from London, with undertones of steampunk gloriousness.  I imagine several happenings of getting lost, detained, forgetting important things, and running into ex-girlfriends.

The reality:

“History is just one damned thing after another.”

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary’s, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don’t do ‘time-travel’ – they ‘investigate major historical events in contemporary time’. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power – especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document – to try and find the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And, as they soon discover – it’s not just History they’re fighting.

Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake….

Disappointment Level:  As to yet undetermined.  I got this one on an Audible sale and haven’t listened to it yet.  HOWEVER.  I love this title so much.  Judging by the summary, though, I don’t think that this one will disappoint.

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So Long and Thanks for All The Fish

by Douglas Adams

The dream:

A glorious exit by an elderly couple carrying a basket overflowing with freshly caught fish from the cabin by the sea.  Everyone is smiling.  Dolphins chatter and jump in the sparkling blue sea in the background.

The reality:

Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription, the mysterious disappearance of Earth’s dolphins, and the discovery of his battered copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy all conspire to give Arthur the sneaking suspicion that something otherworldly is indeed going on.

God only knows what it all means. And fortunately, He left behind a Final Message of explanation. But since it’s light-years away from Earth, on a star surrounded by souvenir booths, finding out what it is will mean hitching a ride to the far reaches of space aboard a UFO with a giant robot. But what else is new?

Disappointment Level:  I mean, I like the silly space story and Douglas Adam’s work better than the quaint elderly couple?  I love this series, and I think all the titles are really stellar!  This one comes along with the catchy tune from the movie with Martin Freeman and Zoey Deschanel.  So that’s stuck in my head now….

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

by April Genevieve Tucholke

The dream:

Oh boy, this girl is in a pretty bad situation.  Her only choices are crappy ones.  What did she do to get to this place?  What terrible decision did she have to make?  Tell me more.

The reality:

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Disappointment Level: I haven’t read this one yet, either.  I think that this will end up being a little more romance-esque and a little less dark and horrible than I would like BUT like I said, this is still on my to-read list, so we’ll see!

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Who Could That Be at This Hour?

by Lemony Snicket

The dream:

A strange knocking at the door.  He climbs out of the bed, dragging the sheet halfway on to the floor.  The knocking comes again, harder, more urgent.  He rubs the sleep out of his eyes and listens to the thunder roll outside: “Who could that be at this hour?”

The reality:

The adventure began in a fading town. Far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket started an apprenticeship for a secret organization shrouded in mystery and secrecy. He asked questions that shouldn’t have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published that shouldn’t be read. Not even by you. Seriously, we recommend that you do NOT ask your parents for this, the first book in his new ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS series.

Disappointment Level: Irrelevant. Lemony Snicket is always a pleasure.

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Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports

by James Patterson

The dream:

Things I do that are no big deal:  make chocolate chip cookies, run cross country, save the world.  No big deal, whatever, who cares.  I got this, yo.

The reality:

The time has arrived for Max and her winged “Flock” to face their ultimate enemy and discover their original purpose: to defeat the takeover of “Re-evolution”, a sinister experiment to re-engineer a select population into a scientifically superior master race…and to terminate the rest. Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel have always worked together to defeat the forces working against them–but can they save the world when they are torn apart, living in hiding and captivity, halfway across the globe from one another?

Disappointment Level: The sassy nonchalance is definitely there.  This book overall was not my favorite?  But going in for world-saving and general sarcasm, then it delivers.

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Not the Girls You’re Looking For

by Aminah Mae Safi

The dream:

A bright-eyed, clever group of girls rule the world.  Their world, anyway.  They may be in Mos Eisley.  You can’t stop them, no way and no how.

The reality:

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

Disappointment Level: This is still on my TBR and also not released yet?  So who knows!  But I do like the sound of the summary!  And I really appreciate the possibly unintentional Star Wars reference.

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Once Upon A Time in the North

by Philip Pullman

The dream:

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away there lived a man who flew a balloon.  He went to the north and met an armored bear and they had grand adventures.

The reality:

In this prequel episode from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials universe, Lee Scoresby–Texan aeronaut and future friend to Lyra Belacqua–is just 24 years old, and he’s recently won his hot-air balloon in a poker game. He finds himself floating North to the windswept Arctic island of Novy Odense, where he and his hare daemon Hester are quickly tangled in a deadly plot involving oil magnate Larsen Manganese, corrupt mayoral candidate Ivan Poliakov, and Lee’s longtime nemesis from the Dakota Country: Pierre McConville, a hired killer with at least twenty murders to his name.

It’s only after Lee forms an alliance with one of the island’s reviled armored bears that he can fight to break up the conspiracy in a gun-twirling classic western shoot out–and battle of wits. This exquisite clothbound volume features the illustrations of John Lawrence, a removable board game–Peril of the Pole–on the inside back cover, and a glimpse for Pullman fans into the first friendship of two of the most beloved characters in the His Dark Materials trilogy: Lee Scoresby and armored bear Iorek Byrnison.

Disappointment Level:  This is basically exactly what this little novella is about!  It’s a cute little book.

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The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

by Mackenzi Lee

The dream:

Two posh and well-meaning young gentlemen sit in a grand parlor, complete with crackling fireplace.  They greet you, lifting glasses of rich brandy.  A portrait hangs ominously over the fireplace, a brutish and sour man.

The reality:

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Disappointment Level:  I’m likely the only book blogger who hasn’t read this yet, but it’s still on my TBR!  I certainly expect that this story will be a little more of the vice than the virtue.

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I See London, I See France

by Sarah Mlynowski

The dream:

Well someone is about to get super embarrassed!  They’re probably small, and meek, and really sweet.  And they’re going to overcome their bully at the end and it’s going to be adorable.

The reality:

I see London, I see France, I see Sydney’s underpants.

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.

As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera…wearing only her polka-dot underpants.

Disappointment Level:  Hah, I haven’t read this one yet either.  It seems very fluffy.

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What are your favorite story-in-a-title books?

What’s the craziest title you can think of?

What book are you reading right now?
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8 responses to “Some of my favorite, really long stories in book titles

  1. These are great! I love the titles you’ve chosen and I even added some to my tbr list! Your version of the summaries sounded waaaaaay better, especially for that first one. How could you put chocolate bunnies and the apocalypse in a title and NOT HAVE EITHER IN THE STORY?!? Complete let down.

    When you mentioned long titles that are their own stories, I immediately thought of Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, which middle-school me was sooooooo all over. And if I remember correctly (it’s been a long while) the title pretty much lived up to expectation!

    Loretta recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday: Unusual Book Titles
    • Amber

      AAH, I forgot about “Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging”. That one would have been perrrrrfect for this list! And, yes, I believe it was a perfectly coined title. 😛

      The bunnies were so disappointing. That book was my first DNF that I can remember and so much of me felt betrayed. 🙁

  2. These are so interesting! To be honest, I tend to favor short titles and ignore longer ones (especially in my own writing), and I never really thought about why. Maybe because longer ones might give away too much? Or make the story seem like it’s about something else? I don’t know, but I loved what you did here! Great post, very unique take on this prompt 🙂

    • Amber

      Most the books I read definitely have shorter titles (unless it’s something like “Harry Potter and the…”). These ones caught my eye, though! I think there definitely has to be a cadence to longer titles, or they don’t work. 😛

  3. So that book that had Chocholate Bunnies in the title wasn’t actually about chocolate?? At all?? Or Easter?? Welp I’m disappointed now.
    I’ve read Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and yeah you got it pretty much right! But I loved the writing and the atmosphere of the book so I eneded up enjoying it.
    Baking chocolate chip cookies and saving the world are equally important activities and should be treated as such.
    And haha you’re not the only book blogger who hasn’t read Gentelman’s Guide…I’m right there with ya.

    • Amber

      Well that makes me feel a bit better, thanks! It is on my TBR, but I’ve not gotten there yet. 😛

      NO CHOCOLATE BUNNIES. Not where I read up to. I think it was supposed to be a metaphor but honestly? #unimpressed.