Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This week's Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish asks for Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving.

1) What Is the What by Dave Eggers: No really… what is the what? Great book, but the title is a bit confusing.

2) The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides: I felt like people thought I was reading a marriage self-help book whenever they glanced at the cover.

3) Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud: It’s the memoir of the author’s childhood in Morocco with her sister and hippy mother, but it sounds like some weird S&M book.

4) A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick: I thought this was going to be a lot more history and a lot less romance novel.

5) The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst: The summary, the title, I couldn’t really get a good grasp of what the plot was about until I read it.

6) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess: At this point, most people have a good idea what this book is about, but what a weird title! I can’t imagine trying to figure it out when it was first released.

7) Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian: To be honest, I still don’t know why this book has this title. I remember the whole story, but not how the title connected in.

8) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood: Go ahead, read the title and then find the summary (Snowman and a post-apocalyptic world), then you explain it to me. It was not what I was expecting at all.

9) Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli: The title of this story, about an orphan living in Poland during World War II, has nothing to do with the book at first glance.

10) The Ha-Ha by Dave King: It makes sense what you read it, but I didn’t know what a Ha-ha was before this. I thought maybe the author was referring to a joke or something.

15 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've read a few of these, and would agree! A Reliable Wife? That title and that cover would imply regal, historical fiction, not these horrible characters that skeezed me out. I loved The Nobodies Album. Love, love, love, but the title doesn't do it justice!

Alex said...

Hideous Kinky - lool! I can almost imagine the looke I would get if I read that in the metro :P

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - Ugh, I know! I seriously hated The Reliable Wife and I think a big part of that was my expectations going into it. I love The Nobodies Album though, but I don't think I would have read it if it hadn't been for your recommendation.

Alex - Ha, I know. I probably never would have picked it up if it wasn't in 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die.

Angela said...

I agree with the title of Milkweed, and thought it was a great read. New follower via GFC :)
http://ajarndtbooks.blogspot.com/

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Angela - That was a good one!

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

Ha ha, I love your list! I never give much thought to titles like A Clockwork Orange, because as soon as I hear it I think of the film (I've never read the book) and I can't separate them, but you're right, it's a very odd title. The words go together so well, though!

I've always wondered what Hideous Kinky was about, and now I know! And I've been curious about What is the What but bummer, because I definitely wanted to know what the what is so that's disappointing! (Talk about a title that leads you on!)

I loved Oryx and Crake!

Jenny said...

I only knew the term "ha-ha" from a book of Agatha Christie's, one of the ones where they had a big manor house for the mystery to take place in. If not for that I'd have found the Dave King title impossible to comprehend.

Jeanne said...

I agree that A Reliable Wife isn't a good title for that book, although it does reference the personal ad, which should announce the romance novel plot. I liked reading it, but now can never remember the title when I think of it. I think of it as "that book where it was so cold."

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Shannon - What is the What explains the title in the book, I just thought it was so confusing when you're trying to get an idea what the book is about. I wish Oryx and Crake hadn't been my first Atwood. I didn't know what I was getting into. I love her work now, but I don't think that's the best book to start with. I need to reread it.

Jenny - I learned what it meant in the King book, but I'd never heard of it before then!

Jeanne - It was cold! I got that there was going to be romance, but I think I was expecting more love story, less harlequin.

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

So I have A Reliable Wife on my TBR shelf... I didn't realize it was a romance novel... I figured it had some romance, but hmmm... I'll keep that in mind when I think the mood strikes!

Trish said...

I haven't read Oryx and Crake but based on the title and the original cover art I bought the book thinking it was going to be something very different than snowman/post-apocalyptic!

the thing that threw me off with What is the What is trying to figure out if it was fictional or nonfictional!

Jenners said...

I just finished up Oryx & Crake but I knew a little bit about it before I went into it. Still, I would agree with you on that. And I would have thought the same thing about Hideous Kinky! And I've always wanted to try "What Is The What" but the darn title just puts me off. I shall have to give it a go. Great list!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sarah - I'm thinking it would be much more enjoyable if you knew what you were in for.

Trish - I thought the What is the What was really good, but I agree that part was confusing. From what I've read in interviews, the story is completely nonfiction, but because it's based on a child's memories and they had no way of documenting most of it, they called it fiction.

Jenners - What is the What is good, but not a great title.

Kailana said...

I can see how all of those would be misleading. I agree on Oryx & Crake, I actually have read that one. And A Clockwork Orange. I had no idea what I was getting myself into with that one.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kailana - Clockwork was a crazy book!