Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sunday March 19, 2017 Tantalizing Titles


Everyone knows the phrase, “Never judge a book by its cover”, but how do you judge a book with a wild, silly or provocative title?  Most books choose titles that give a potential reader a hint or two about what the book is about and others pick generic titles which end up being used over and over again. While the library has over 30 books with the title “Gone” and at least 15 called “Vanished”, oddly there is only one entitled “Revenge of the Evil Librarian.” Like their unique titles, these books are not easy to classify. I have included some of the best recent fiction novels with unusual titles. The selection runs from black humour to experimentalism and most are challenging reads but each is worth exploring.

Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin
Told in two time periods, the first being 1492 the reader meets Moishe, a young Jewish boy living in the time of the Spanish Inquisition who partners with a wisecracking parrot named Aaron. The two go to sea and circumstances lead them to crew for Columbus. Moishe, eventually becomes a pirate and seeks revenge on the Spanish. The second part is set in present day with Aaron now living in a Florida having spent 500 years floating on the plank in the ocean before finding land and now he enjoys his days regaling the seniors with his stories.

The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson
This debut thriller finds Ben Jones, a hard working trucker driving in a remote region of the Utah desert, where many of the residents are hiding from their pasts and Ben is their only real contact with the outside world. One day, he finds a beautiful woman named Claire playing cello in an abandoned lot and the two begin a relationship.  Claire’s attempt to hide is foiled when strangers arrive looking for her and expose the secrets of the other residents with deadly outcomes while Ben and Claire try to evade her pursuers.

Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals by Jesse Armstrong
In a book full of dry British humour, a group of activists decide to travel the Balkans during the hostilities of the 1990’s performing plays of peace despite having little to no knowledge of the native language, the area or the real danger that exists. Much of the action revolves around Andrew and his hapless romantic pursuit of Penny, the upper-class girl who wrote the play and the other romantic misadventures of the troope.

Revenge of the Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
This novel, the sequel to “The Evil Librarian” reads like a particularly good episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with a mix of humour and horror. Teenagers Cyn and her boyfriend Ryan are at summer camp where a nasty demon and the supposedly dead former librarian of their school Mr. Gabriel are haunting the camp seeking revenge. Though aimed at young adults, the book makes for a hilarious romp for readers of any age.

 The Bob Watson by Greg Bardsley
Skipping out of work, especially meetings without getting caught, has made Bob Watson a legend at his firm. Unfortunately, when young employee Rick Blanco attempts the same, he is mistaken for the corrupt head of HR and is kidnapped by a couple of convicts and a granny called Mama who force him into a series of madcap adventures.

Lori Kauzlarick

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