This is something that’s been mulling around in my head for the past few weeks. I recently read a book by the author, Gail Godwin entitled Queen of the Underworld. I was attracted to the book because it took place in Miami, FL in 1959 at the time when I, myself, lived as a child in Miami. From what I read in the book’s blurb the story sounded also potentially appealing.
The book is about Emma Gant, a young journalist fresh out of UNC Chapel Hill and her experiences in her first reporter job at the city’s main newspaper, the Miami Star. Emma, the central character, is NOT the “queen of the underworld” – it is another character who Emma develops an interest in, and who the reader anticipates is going play a significant role in Emma’s life and in the novel. This never occurs. The woman who’s deemed the “queen of the underworld” looms about in the corners of the story yet does not appear until the final pages. What happened? The book’s title just doesn’t match the story line.
I’d read a book by author, Gail Godwin, some years back entitled Mr. Bedford and the Muses. I don’t remember questioning the title of that book. Actually I rarely question the title of a book.
I began to think about book titles that stand out in my mind as true and memorable. Who I thought of first and most emphatically is the author, Tom Robbins. His book title gives you a glimpse into his novel, and depending on your slant of mind, you’re either attracted or repelled about reading the particular book. Now this is possibly the case with a lot of writers. It’s just that with Tom Robbins his book titles often capture his style and storyline well.
I actually haven’t read all of Tom Robbins’ novels – at some point I had a hard time finishing one of them and after that didn’t seek out his books anymore. I still pay some attention to what’s he’s writing for the most part and I still love his book titles!
Books by Tom Robbins (written in order of publication year for the most part):
Another Roadside Attraction
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Still Life with Woodpecker
Skinny Legs and All
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates
Wild Ducks Flying Backward
B is for Beer (this one it turns out is “a children’s book for grown-ups, and a grown-up book for children”)