Jewish World Review July 26, 2002 / 17 Menachem-Av, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Almost everyone plans to write a book "someday." Most of them never get at it. The assumption by so many wannabe authors that a book is easy to write -- if they could only find the time -- is irritating to anyone who actually writes books.
My summer vacation has been substantially ruined because I promised my publisher I'd finish a book I've been writing by the end of July. It is mostly written and now he's pressing me for a title so he can put advance notices about the book in his company brochure. That goes out months before publication to dealers, wholesalers and book stores.
The name of a book probably doesn't have much to do with its success or failure. A title only seems like a great one after a book becomes a best seller. When John Steinbeck submitted his book about the Great Depression of the '30s, it seems unlikely his publisher thought "The Grapes of Wrath" would become one of the best-known book titles of all time.
There are lots of names I wish my book could have but they've all been taken. Here's a collection of titles for good modern books: "Pale Horse, Pale Rider," "A Walk in the Sun," "The Joy of Cooking," "Catch 22, "Cry the Beloved Country," "Heart of Darkness," "Gone With the Wind," "Never So Young Again," "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," "Brave New World, "Lord of the Flies," "The Naked and the Dead," "Slaughterhouse-Five," "Darkness at Noon," "Tender is the Night," "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "From Here to Eternity," "Death Comes for the Archbishop," "A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man."
I left Ernest Hemingway's books off the list because he's not one of my favorite authors, but he did have four great titles: "The Sun Also Rises," "The Old Man and the Sea," "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "A Farewell to Arms."
There are several titles of current books that I do not envy. I wouldn't want any of them as the title of my book, even if I had thought of them first. For example, one title I wouldn't want for my book is, "The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis."
"How to Lose Weight" does not appeal to me as a title for my book. "Little Women," "The Bobbsey Twins" and "Tom Swift and His Atomic Earth Blaster" are all good titles but would not be appropriate for my book because they were all used years ago.
The title on the cover doesn't have to have anything to do with the content of a book. Some of them do; some of them don't.
Tom Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation," is very explicit. The title of my book should have been, "Essays by Andy Rooney."
Instead, it will be "Uncommon Sense." Don't try to buy it over the weekend, though, because I haven't finished writing it.
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07/23/02 Financial reporters have failed