Humour

Title This Article!

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 30, 2006

(This post isn't about revitalization, but what's the point of a blog if you can't riff occasionally on quirks that don't fit anywhere else? I promise it won't become a habit.)

I was recently reading an article in Slate on falling birthrates. When it mentioned Philip Longman's new book Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What To Do About It, I had an epiphany of sorts concerning the book's title, which followed what I suddenly realized is a painfully predictable non-fiction template.

The pattern is simple but almost infinitely variable. Start with a memetic catch-phrase that identifies a problem, and follow it up with a colon. Then finish it off with a phrase promising to explain how the problem happened and "what to do about it."

A quick search on Amazon turned up the following punctilious titles:

I also found the following books, which deviate slightly from the mold while still hewing it its principles:

So as a corrective measure, I'm going to write a book to help prevent more of the same. I'll call it Stupid Book Titles: How The Publishing Industry Lost Its Imagination and What To Do About It.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted May 31, 2006 at 21:05:10

Nice catch there Ryan. Got a good chuckle out of this one.

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