Top Ten Tuesday

Books With One Word Titles: Top Ten Tuesday

It’s yonks since I last did a Top Ten Tuesday topic but this week’s prompt isn’t going to demand much brain power, so let’s give it a go.

The topic is “books I’ve read with one-word titles.” I was spoiled for choice that I decided to challenge myself with two self-imposed rules:

  • choose only books read in the last five years
  • avoid titles containing personal names, place names or names of organisations

Drift by Caryl Lewis

This has just been named as the Wales Book of the Year, an award that is richly deserved. This is a highly atmospheric and haunting tale set alongside the Welsh coastline.

Latecomers by Anita Brookner

No-one captures loneliness quite like Brookner. This novel is the tale of two Jewish refugees who meet at a boy’s boarding school and remain friends for 50 plus years. Review is here

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

I never thought I would appreciate a book that features sport. Fortunately this novel is more about a town that takes sides when a crime is committed. It’s a thought-provoking tale. Review is here

You by Phil Whittaker

A father recounts his emotions as he travels towards the daughter he has not seen for seven years. The novel is a plea for more justice for fathers separated from their children as a result of divorce. Review is here

Wilderness by B E Jones

Look out for the Netflix adaptation of this thriller featuring a vengeful wife. It’s coming to your small screen soon. Review is here

Milkman by Anna Burns

This novel set amidst The Troubles in Ireland, is one of the strongest winners of the Booker Prize in recent years. See my review here.

West by Carys Davies

The shortest title in my list but don’t let its length fool you. Carys Davies packs oodles of emotion and atmosphere in this tale of a widowed settler who sets off on an expedition from his Pennsylvania mule farm in search of animals whose gigantic bones had been discovered in a swamp. Review is here

Love by Hanne Ørstavik

An intense novel that looks at the relationship between a mother and child. Ørstavik’s narrative forces us to think whether a mother’s responsibility extends only to meeting a child’s physical needs. My review is here

Little by Edmund Cary

Cary’s fictionalised account of the life of Madame Tussaud is an extraordinary story of survival. My review is here.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I rarely read memoirs but when I do I want them to be as thought-provoking as this one. Michelle Obama’s open and honest account of how it felt to be a First Lady was interesting but it was what she had to say about the experiences that shaped her and influenced her attitudes that had the most impact. Review can be found here.

Now you’ve seen my list, what one word titles would be on YOUR list???


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

28 thoughts on “Books With One Word Titles: Top Ten Tuesday

    • I was surprised how much I enjoyed it because it had a touch of the unreal which normally doesn’t interest me at all. But this was handled so well

  • What fun! Just this year I’ve read Galatea, Simulacrum, Wakenhyrst, Maya, Rooftoppers, Darkhenge, Dogsbody, Ivanhoe and Babel (though one or two authors of course spoil things by adding a subtitle). And a little before that there was Fludd, Orlando, . . .

    • The only one I’ve heard of from this year’s list is Ivanhoe (not that I’ve read it though)

    • Initially I found it hard to get into Milkman – the lack of character names was disconcerting. But once I got over that, the book grabbed me and wouldn’t let go

        • That’s an excellent point – I did find my ear had to tune in to fully appreciate it

  • An interesting challenge, from which, just for a change, I’ve read several, from which Little may be my favourite.

  • My last one-word title was James Clammer’s Insignificance. Someone commented on my doorstopper post just the other day recommending Beartown so that’s now added to my ever lengthening list.

    • I hadn’t heard of Backman until he was chosen for the book club. I also have A Man Called Ove which could be good

  • The last two books I read had one word titles, Permafrost and Boulder, both by Catalan author Eva Baltasar, translated by Julian Sanchez. A kind of literary triptych, the third one yet to be translated.

    • I’ve not had a great deal of success with Spanish authors so will make a note of this name for future reference. Thanks Claire

  • Oops! How could I have forgotten Beartown in my list?! I need to make my list 11 or knock one off 😂😂😂

      • I just added it, so I have a list of 11 😂🤷‍♀️

    • It is unusual in that she doesn’t give the characters names – they are known as “youngest sister’s boyfriend” for example so it was confusing to begin with. But I soon got beyond that.

  • Straight away I can think of two novels by one of my favourite authors, David Lodge: ‘Thinks’ and ‘Therapy’. And if you look up the almost-forgotten mid-20th century novelist Henry Green, you’ll find that nearly all his books have one-word titles … Anyway, I agree about the wonderful West by Carys Davies (no relation)

    • *chuckle* not forgotten by me, or by Stu at Winston’s Dad. He introduced me to Henry Green ages ago with his Henry Green Week, and since then I’ve read Loving, Nothing, Caught and Doting, with one more on the TBR!

      • I shall show my ignorance here – I’ve never heard of Henry Green. Oh well, off I go to dig out some info

        • Oh, he’s wonderful! Try Caught, the one he wrote using his experiences as a fire warden during WW2.

    • Interesting, I’ve not heard of those books by Lodge. He used to be one of my favourite authors but his more recent work hasn’t held much appeal to me. Wish he was still writing books like Brazzaville Beach


We're all friends here. Come and join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: