Thursday, February 02, 2006

Titles

I have realised that the key in any relationship is to figure out how often you want to see the other person. [Please see Falstaff's post on sabbathals for some related reading.]

For the past 3 years, it has worked out pretty well for Bill and moi - once in every 3 weeks we would meet up, have hazaar fun and go back to our own lives. And then one day, out of the blue, Southwest happened, so we started meeting every 2 weeks which I think, is still okay. Over the last month however, mostly due to some tickets being paid for by big, evil companies, we have been seeing each other every weekend which is proving to be a bit too much. I have no time anymore for my reading, cooking, writing, movies, music, friends, well, basically my life. Its like my life's on hold and it ain't fun. And before some of you get on my case and start calling me an ungrateful wretch (BM, are you listening?), let me inform you all that this claustrophobia is being felt on both sides, well, of the Lake.

Tangents before I even begin! What am I to do?! Getting to the subject at hand here, moi's been wondering about names again. Nope, not train names this time. Discussions happening elsewhere about opening lines makes moi think of book titles. So there are titles and there are titles. Here are some favorites:

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude
2. Catch - 22
3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
4. Great Expectations
5. Remembrance of Things Past
6. Chronicles of a Death Foretold
7. To Kill a Mockingbird
8. A Catcher in the Rye
9. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
10. Midnight's Children

[Before you start crying foul, yes, these include some of my favorite books but not all of them are favorites. For example, I like Kundera but I am not a huge fan. Same goes for Proust.]

What I find interesting about this list(or any top titles list for that matter) is this: just by looking at the list one can easily separate the ones originally written in English from the ones that were originally written in other languages. Certain languages like Spanish (or my native tongue) lend themselves to phrases that the English language would never be able to think of by itself. Quite a few of these lines tend to get lost in translation but the ones that don't are the ones that will always remain in your memory.

Enough said. So what are your favorites?

5 comments:

Falstaff said...

Oooh. Post you KNOW I can't resist:

My all time favourite title is almost certainly Carson McCullers - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

Then there's Kawabata: Beauty and Sadness; The Sound of the Mountain

And Murdoch: The Sea, the sea; The Sacred and Profane Love Machine; The Nice and the Good.

And speaking of Salinger: Raise high the roofbeam, Carpenters.

And Fitzgerald: Tender is the Night; The other side of paradise

And Faulkner: Absalom! Absalom!; As I lay dying; Intruder in the dust; Go Down, Moses; The Sound and the Fury

And Graves: I, Claudius.

And Ondaatje: Coming through Slaughter

And of course, Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility.

P.S. I'm also tempted to just list the complete set of Wodehouse titles - I mean how can you not love a book titled Eggs, Beans and Crumpets or another called Aunts aren't Gentlemen.

Falstaff said...

p.p.s: Oh, and if we are doing Kundera titles - I'd pick Life is Elsewhere and the Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

Ravages said...

Plum boy delivers big on titles
Sam the Sudden (read it when I was, oh, 7?) the first time I saw it conjured visions of a Sam who popped out of the brickwork scaring people and then disappearing. Turns out the story wasn't all that far off my wild imagination.

Another dude good with the titles is Erle Stanley Gardner - The Careless Cupid was an awesome name. So was his The smoking chimney (first book of ESG I think) - Smoking gun v Smoking chimney, both leading to the nabbing of the culprit. Awesome.

Dudette who does very well for herself is Agatha Christie.

Oh, I am no high-brow guy...so don't really fancy Sense and Sensibility as good title.

The Black Mamba said...

Are we only speaking of book titles here? what about plays?

what about, A Midsummer Night's Dream?
Or, Much Ado About Nothing? and the list goes on ...

Ravages said...

Neil Simon plays have okish to good titles.
Barefoot in the park was very good