Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The art of the title

A recent article in The New York Times about books with identical titles (like Gone by Lisa Gardner and Gone by Jonathan Kellerman) got me wondering how many of the books we’ve used in Select Editions also have titles used by other authors. Since titles can’t be copyrighted, I expected the results of my informal and incomplete on-line search to be fairly substantial, and I wasn’t disappointed. Below is a partial list:

Daddy’s Girl by Lisa Scottoline ALSO USED BY Charlotte Vale Allen, Clifford Irving
Winter’s Child by Margaret Maron ALSO USED BY Brenda Jagger
A Whole New Life by Betsy Thornton ALSO USED BY Reynolds Price
The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans ALSO USED BY Simon Wiesenthal
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah ALSO USED BY Susan Isaacs
No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clark ALSO USED BY Fern Michaels
Mosaic by Soheir Khashoggi ALSO USED BY Amy Grant

Of course, it’s easy to create a title that no one can duplicate: just make it really long—like Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (Allan Gurganus). You could also attract attention by making your title really short—like Them (Joyce Carol Oates). But if a four-letter title isn't short enough for you, you could also just name your book with a single letter: like Z by Vasilis Vasilikos (which was made into a movie starring Yves Montand), a by Andy Warhol, or X by the composer John Cage.


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