While out hunting down links, I came across an amusing article written by Sarah Stodola on The Top Ten Novel Titles of All Time. Amusing not as in written that way, as the lady is obviously in earnest (okay, maybe she was joking) but in that I've not read a single book on the list. They're all great works of literature, I'm sure.
All right, I'm not an utter Philistine; I did read a couple of the honorable mentions. The Name of the Rose rocked, as did Sense and Sensibility.
Thing is, I don't think any of these great titles are really all that great. Lemon? That's something we all try not to buy from the car salesman. Atlas Shrugged? I'm sure Atlas also reached back and scratched his ass sometime, too, but I wouldn't title my book after it. The Sun Also Rises? Wow, really? It doesn't just set? Who knew?
If you want to qualify for my list of the ten greatest titles of all time, you can't trade on your literary status. And you've got to give me a little more than body language, sunshine and fruit.
I don't think I could do a greatest list -- there are too many terrific titles out there -- but here are some that left a deep impression on me:
Diplomacy of Wolves: Not only is this a great title, but it's the novel in three words, and I will envy it for eternity. By Holly Lisle.
No Victor, No Vanquished: The title of Edgar O'Ballance's study of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. This title actually made me buy this book.
The Sea Remembers: Peter Throckmorton's big book on shipwrecks and archaeology from Homer's Greece to the rediscovery of the titanic. It's beautiful and sad and a chilling reminder.
Cats in Cyberspace: the only title for Beth Hilgartner's novel, told from the POV of two computer-savvy house cats (I wrote the intro to this one so I'm a little prejudiced.)
Got any world's greatest title contenders of your own?