Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

An Open Letter

To the authors of political biographies, war stories, microhistories, and excruciatingly detailed accounts of sporting events:

Please stop giving your books wildly self-aggrandizing, melodramatic subtitles.

If I see one more book with a title that includes the phrase "Changed America," "Changed the World," or "Changed X Forever," I will barf right in the middle of a Borders display table.

Yours truly,


I noticed today that the title of Greg Mortenson's wonderful Three Cups of Tea underwent a change between its hardcover and paperback editions.

Originally titled Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations... One School At a Time, the paperback edition is entitled Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School At a Time.

Apparently, Mortenson himself pushed for the change, saying, "The public is interested in peace, just as much as fighting terrorism. So far, no politician seems to have their finger on that pulse."

Let this serve as an example to others on how to turn a ludicrous title into a good one.


Comrade Dave said...

Yeah, but does this apply to dissertations as well?

mary_m said...

Yes, but I'd be less mad at you than at Simon Winchester or Erik Larson.

I think somebody ought to have a book title like "the X That Changed Northwestern Iowa in the Winter of 1955" or "How X Had Really Very Little Impact on Anything."