“Facility in writing and speaking comes with reading. This week, we will be looking at titles.“ File picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)
“Facility in writing and speaking comes with reading. This week, we will be looking at titles.“ File picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Zany book titles will always whet the appetite for a good read

By Opinion Time of article published Oct 16, 2020

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by Alex Tabisher

Facility in writing and speaking comes with reading.

This week, we will be looking at titles. That is the first thing you look at when you choose a book.

During a visit to the library, I saw a title, Moths that Drink Elephants’ Tears, by Matt Walker. I browsed and was instantly hooked.

Critics call it “… an entertaining and addictive collection of eclectic insights and unusual facts, detailing the wondrous diversity of animal life that surrounds us.” But I will not be doing book reviews. Critics are useful in guiding one’s choices.

What I am going to do is mention my favourite odd-ball titles.

And trust me, I have read them all, some more than once.

Do androids dream of electric sheep? No, it’s not a question I am posing. It’s the title of a book written by Philip K Dick in 1966/68.

It became an iconic film, Blade Runner, that has since been reshot as Blade Runner 2049.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is the fifth book in Douglas Adams’ misnamed Trilogy (three books), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It started out as a comedy radio series, but has become a favourite because of literal ride across space and every conceivable experience a human can have.

I am merely looking at some zany titles. That the books turned out to be gems is a bonus, and probably material for a future column. I would love to hear from my readers.

Wrap your head around these titles and try to work out some questions which I might have asked if I had the space.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. The Sun Also Rises, a great love-story by Ernest Hemingway, which includes the running of the bulls at Pamplona. East of Eden, a brilliant if lengthy novel by John Steinbeck, who also gave us The Grapes of Wrath. East of Eden is the place to which Cain was banished by God after killing Abel.

Half-asleep in Frog Pyjamas, a classic by the irreverent Tom Robbins.

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat is a series of short pieces dealing with human behaviour.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, by Pearl Cleage, is a good read. My current favourite has to be Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I finished it two weeks ago. I am ready for another go. It is exquisite.

As I expected, I have run out of space. But I hope you will trust me and try at least one of these books. There are millions more out there. Librarians are helpful. So are your teachers and parents.

Covid-19 is still a grim reality.

Happy reading.

* Literally Yours is a weekly column from Cape Argus reader Alex Tabisher. He can be contacted on email by [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

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