Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Extraordinary Book Titles


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is about the book titles we find extraordinary. Several immediately came to mind, but I stuck with ones I’ve actually read- which made me more upset than usual that I still haven’t read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

The title comes from Act 4, Scene 1 of Macbeth when one of the witches cries out:

“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”

One Hundred Years of Solitude


The title of Gabriel García Márquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude refers to “solitude” and isolation on several levels. At the most basic level, it refers to where the book takes place, a remote village in the Colombian jungle that remains untouched from the outside world for a century.

Their Eyes Were Watching God


The title comes from a chapter toward the end of the book during a devastating hurricane, when they realize they are at the mercy of God and nature:

“They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.”

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?


“Do androids dream? Rick asked himself. Evidently; that’s why they occasionally kill their employers and flee here. A better life, without servitude. Like Luba Luft; singing Don Giovanni and Le Nozze instead of tolling across the face of a barren rock-strewn field.”

In the book that inspired Blade Runner, our main character Rick is starting to have qualms about hunting androids. He begins to wonder if they do in fact “feel” or dream, which would mean that all these androids are doing is trying to attain the “American Dream” of a better life, making them no different than humans.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

hitchhiker's guide

One of the most entertaining books of all time, the title pretty much explains it all. The follow ups have pretty great names, too. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe always make me giggle.

The Grapes of Wrath


Several titles on John Steinbeck’s bibliography are extraordinary. He is my most cherished author of all time, often writing about the area of California where I grew up (albeit a California a generation or two before I was born).

Not only did he write beautiful stories, but he gave them wonderful titles as well. Of Mice and Men, The Winter of Our Discontent, East of Eden, and In Dubious Battle just to name a few.

Steinbeck struggled with a title for his epic, finally going with a suggestion his wife gave him, “The Grapes of Wrath.” It is from the lyrics of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” written by Julia Ward Howe.

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored:
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.”

These lyrics were taken from a passage in Revelation about divine justice and deliverance from oppression. So it was quite fitting with the tone of the novel, especially given this passage toward the end of it:

“And in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people, the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


I picked this up on a whim from the library and immediately fell in love with the book’s post-war island. Once you learn how the eccentric title came about, it makes the story all the more endearing.

During the Nazi occupation of Guernsey, the residents were under strict curfews and debilitating rations. One night, a group figured out a way to slaughter a pig without the Nazis finding out and had a hog roast, savoring the taste of actual meat after eating nothing but things like potatoes for so long- eating them right down to their peels.

Going home that night, they were caught breaking curfew but knowing the Nazi respect for learning, they lied and said they were coming home from a book club. They were let off with a warning, but had to quickly come up with a book club as cover. Snagging books from wherever they could, and making food out of the meagre scraps they had, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was born.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


If you haven’t read Fear and Loathing, or at the very least seen the movie, you’re missing out. A delightfully bizarre drug fueled tale that coined the term “gonzo journalism,” Fear and Loathing is a magnificent piece of absurd reality. It is also the reason why I always stay at Circus Circus when I’m in Vegas.

Read an interesting Rolling Stone interview with Hunter S. Thompson here, where he also discusses the title.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being1_R83QKPJef1oCI-oU-s6LmQ

Even though I wasn’t a major fan of this book, I do love the title. It has several meanings and to unpack them all would be a blog post in itself. It is rooted in Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence, that everything that has already happened will continue to keep happening on an infinite loop.

To read more about the layered meanings behind Milan Kundera’s work, take a look at this article.

Brave New World


Quotes from Shakespeare abound within Aldous Huxley’s seminal dystopian novel. The title is taken from The Tempest:

Oh, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world, that has such people in ‘t

Have you read any of these? Which books made it to your TTT this week? Let me know in the comments!

16 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Extraordinary Book Titles”

  1. I read Their Eyes Were Watching God years ago and loved it. I remember so little about why that I really need to read it again sometime. Thanks for the reminder.

    My TTT.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So many great titles! Something Wicked is on my list as well. And I chose East of Eden, but I debated between it and Grapes of Wrath. I agree that Steinbeck had such great titles!

    Here’s my take on this week’s TTT!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I went back and forth between Grapes and Eden as well. East of Eden is my favorite book of his, but I always found the story behind Grapes of Wrath really interesting considering it’s one of his most famous books.

      Steinbeck was pretty incredible to be sure!

      Liked by 1 person

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