Top 10 Tuesday: Time To Play With Book Titles

It’s ages since I last did a Top 10 Tuesday post but today I’m in need of some light-hearted distraction. The topic this week is

Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences

Most of the books I’ve read and reviewed here over the last eight years, didn’t fit the bill. So many of them had just one or two word titles. The longer ones probably wouldn’t qualify as sentences in the eyes of grammar experts ( among whom I do not count myself).

So I decided to have some fun playing around with combinations of titles to see if I could make up something approaching a sentence. Obviously I had to use a little creative licence by adding a few prepositions and conjunctions. Whether the results make sense grammatically or are even faintly amusing I leave you to judge.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing for We Have Always Lived In The Castle

Madeleine Thein’s novel follows three musicians  in China whose lives are turned upside down by idealogical changes in the country. We Have Always Lived In The Castle is a superbly atmospheric gothic tale by Shirley Jackson.

Howard’s End Is On The landing in The Small House at Allington

The novelist Susan Hill recounts the year she decided she would read only those books already occupying a space in her bookshelves, on the floor and on the landing. The Small House at Allington is book number five in the Barsetshire Chronicles by Anthony Trollope.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry began at The Narrow Road To The Deep North 

Harold Fry sets off to walk to the post box with a letter to a former colleague who is dying from cancer. But somehow he keeps walking in Rachel Joyce’s sweet tale of a man whose life has never amounted to much – until now. The road in Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize winning award, is actually a railroad – the infamous Thailand-Burma Death Railway of World War 2. The novel shows how the lives of the prisoners forced to work on the railroad and the Japanese soldiers who guard them, are impacted long after the end of the war.

We’re Off to Philadelphia In The Morning via The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. Such a Long Journey 

We’re Off To Philadelphia In The Morning is a fictionalised account of the life of the renowned Welsh composer Joseph Parry. He did cross the ocean, emigrating with his family in the mid 1850s but returned to Wales to study music full time at Cambridge university. In The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, Neil Gaiman, enters the world of a solitary boy and his encounters with malevolent forces from another world. Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry is set against a background of allegations of corruption surrounding India’s prime minister Indira Ghandi

A Man Lies Dreaming about How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia

A Man Lies Dreaming is a strange novel in which Lavie Tidhar blends a pulp-noir tale of seamy city streets, gumshoes and lowlifes with Holocaust fiction and an alternative history of 1930’s Europe. Oddly it does work. How To Get Rich also has a strange narrative device. It’s written as if it’s a self-help book with each chapter giving a lesson to a poor, nameless, boy who wants to rise above his impoverished circumstances.

The Barefoot Woman was a Disgrace

In The Barefoot Woman, Scholastique Mukasonga pays homage to her mother, a fierce, loving woman who became a victim of genocide directed towards members of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda.  Disgrace by J M Coetzee also deals with racial tension, this time in a South Africa learning to live in a post-apartheid society.

All Passion Spent in One Moonlit Night (with the Milkman)

England meets Wales meets Ireland in this ‘book title”. We start with Vita Sackville West’s beautifully written novel of a woman asserting her independence in her twilight years. Moving on we get to One Moonlit Night by Caradog Prichard, a sad tale of poverty, sickness and hard labour in a Welsh slate mining community. And we end with Milkman, the Booker Prize winning novel by Anna Burns set in Northern Ireland during a period of sectarian violence.

Taking a Holiday. Please Look After Mom 

Holiday by Stanley Middleton was a surprise hit for me when I did my Booker Prize project. It’s a quiet tale of a man who escapes to the seaside of his childhood when his marriage collapses. Please Look After Mom by the Korean author Shin Kyung-sook became an international success with this story of how the disappearance of a woman from a crowded metro station forces her children to re-examine their relationship with their mother.

Wanted: A Room With A View of The Sea

Since A Room With a View Of The Sea by E M Forster s set in Florence you’d be very fortunate if you could get a sea view. Still we can be optimistic can’t we? The Sea is another Booker Prize winner, a  lyrical novel on the nature of memory told through the well-used device of a character who returns to a place that played a significant part in his earlier years.

The Man Who Forgot His Wife got The Silent Treatment

John O’Farrell’s novel has an interesting premise: a middle aged man  experiences acute amnesia while at  a London Underground station. He has no idea where he is going, or who he is. Sadly the book turned out a disappointment. The Silent Treatment is a story of a marital relationship and a secret that the husband has kept from his wife. Now she lies critically ill in hospital; can he pluck up the courage to tell her the truth before it is too late.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

31 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Time To Play With Book Titles

  • Chuckle! When you think about the subjects of each book, it makes for a ridiculous plot but then some plots are implausible aren’t they!

  • Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    HA! These gave me a good chuckle, love your work! All Passion Spent… with the Milkman 😂😂😂

    • The Milkman was a last minute addition. But I was very happy with it….

  • I’m glad you decided to have fun with this rather than being precise about grammar. It’s resulted in a very entertaining post.

    • Thanks Margaret, it was seeing the comments about grammar in response to your post that gave me the idea…

  • I was confused by your graphic till i read the logic behind your choices. You make some intriguing titles even more interesting!

    • i was going to create a graphic with all the titles but it would have made the titles far too difficult to read

    • i bet you could come up with something interesting from all those Russians you read

  • Each mini selection the plot for a future fiction. Mix the lot up for a potential saga sequence. Publish. Make a mint. Retire to that villa in Firenze with a distant view of the sea as sea levels rise.. Repeat.

  • Haha, some of these titles sound as if they could be better stories than the originals! I particularly enjoyed the night of passion with the milkman – very steamy… 😉

  • Love your creative twist on this prompt!! Now you have me thinking of how I can play with other titles and do the same…The Man Who Forgot His Wife — was he the Milkman??? Thank you for the smiles…
    My TTT post –
    10 Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences

  • I love your twist! I didn’t have time, but I would have used The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and the latest by Louise Penny: All the Devils Are Here

  • You’re right, we do need a little bit of fun in our lives (and blog). Looking across to my Aust.Lit shelves I have these three books side by side: The Drover’s Wife (is) Like Nothing on this Earth. Such is Life (!).

  • Great spin! These are enticing titles! 🙌😍 Glad you have some fun with this!

    • I doubt I would get a job in publishing based on these efforts though

    • It’s a fabulous book, one of my favourite Booker winners

  • Nice twist on this week’s TTT. I love your creativity.


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