Titles Can Be Fun
I am an eclectic reader. I don't know what that means, but
readers are always saying that so I just assume it applies
to me. I just like to read a lot of different things. But
since this column is supposed to be about titles in some form
or fashion, let's talk about titles.
One of the things I like to read is books that are made up
of columns that authors do for newspapers. The leader in interesting
titles has to be Lewis Grizzard. I'm sure you have had days
when you felt like the title on one of Grizzard's books:
Elvis Is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good Myself.
Another thing I like about these collections is how easily
they are turned into a book. Grizzard wrote columns for the
Atlanta Constitution, and after about a year or so
he had them compiled into a book and sold them all over again.
We can all appreciate the analogy that Grizzard made between
our lives and the need for an oil change in
If Love Were Oil, I'd Be About a Quart Low. What
better way for some of us to sum up our genetic origin than
My Daddy Was a Pistol and I'm a Son of Gun? Even
if you don't like Grizzard's writing, you have to appreciate
his titles. Go to
Amazon.com and type in Lewis Grizzard and get a chuckle
out of the titles of his other books. For the record, he passed
away several years ago.
An interesting thing happened to me concerning one of Grizzard's
books. I was at a department store (no not Wal-Mart as this
happened before the advent of Wally World). I was reading
one of his collections of essays and got rather far in the
book, as I could read a complete book in two shopping trips
with my wife. Right there on the page Grizzard had a note
for me: "If you have read this far, go directly to check out
and pay for the book as I need money to buy some Gucci shoes."
I felt as if I had been caught with my hands in the cookie
Then there is Dave Barry with such books as
Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up. Barry uses
a formula for his columns with such expression as “I am not
making this up” and “This was sent in by an attentive reader.”
Yet we read him each Sunday and then buy his books when they
Another book that got my attention simply by the title was
The Joy of Pigging Out by David Hoffman. After all those
diet books, it was a relief to find a book that appealed to
the gluttonous side of the debate. Both Barry and Grizzard
offer reading that can take the whole evening or just one
or two columns. Nice books to have by your bedside.
Since I have joined MyShelf, I have started doing audio books.
At first it was hard to keep my mind on the book, or the reader
would have such a nice voice, he/she would put me to sleep
and I would have to listen to the CD all over. I developed
a method for listening to audio books. My wife and I are on
the road all the time, not long trips but just local drives
that take up a good portion of the day. We put the CDs in
the car and play them as we drive along. This can lead to
distractions. One day I was listening and drove twenty miles
in the wrong direction from our destination.
Two books that I really enjoyed, (and I think part of the
reason the books were so successful is because they were read
by the author), are Call Me Ted by Ted Turner (Willie's
Losing Mum and Pup by Chris Buckley about the
death of his father, William F. Buckley, and and his mother,
Patricia Taylor Buckley. Ted Turner did a fabulour job giving
the reader a sense of who he is and what he stands for. Chris
Buckley illuminated the life of the Buckleys, whose life and
activites were not what I would have expected. He pointed
out their lives with all the fleas and ticks but also with
the love that was always near the surface.
If you find a book with a title that captures
your attention, let me hear about it. Maybe we can start a
list of books with catchy titles.