Top Ten Tuesday: What Books Should Actually Be About Based on Their Titles


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

An Asian woman sitting upright in a white bed. The walls are painted to look like a semi-cloudy blue sky, and there’s a big, dark cloud right in front of her. She’s holding a glowing white orb in her hands. All credit for this idea goes to Line at First Line Readers. I adored her take on it last summer and decided to do my own for today’s freebie post.

Sometimes my interpretation of what a book title means isn’t exactly how the author interpreted it. Here are some book titles, what I think they should be about, and what they’re actually about.

If any of you also decide to borrow this theme for a future freebie post, I’ll add a link to your post here if you let me know about it.

1. Animal Farm by George Orwell

What It Should Be About: A cozy children’s picture book about a farm for abandoned pets and livestock.

What It’s Actually About: A satirical fable about corruption, greed, and Stalinist Russia.


2. There Is No Darkness by Joe Haldeman

What It Should Be About: The 80+ days of uninterrupted daylight in Alaska (or other northern places) during the summer and how people enjoy (or don’t enjoy) them.

What It’s Actually About: A military science fiction novel about a poor kid who joins the military to explore other planets and earn some much-needed cash.


3. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

What It Should Be About: A mermaid who grew up believing humans were a myth only to suddenly discover a few in a shipwreck after a massive storm. Maybe the cerulean sea could be a mermaid term for the Pacific Ocean, and the people they rescued were oceanographers?

What It’s Actually About: A group home for dangerous magical children and the man who was hired to determine whether they’d bring about the end of days for humanity.


4. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

What It Should Be About: The first group of people to tame wolves and how they slowly changed an apex predator into man’s best friend over many generations of selective breeding.

What It’s Actually About: A beautiful friendship that began soon after one of the main characters lost her uncle and plunged into terrible grief.


5. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

What It Should Be About: After cheating a witch out of her rightfully-earned wages, Jacob de Zoet is cursed to live a thousand years. He finds the inability to die a blessing a first, but soon changes his tune when he realizes just how long a thousand years actually is and how unforgiving witches are when you cross them.

What It’s Actually About: A clerk who moves to Japan for five years in order to earn the money he needs to marry his sweetheart. While working there, however, he falls in love with the daughter of a powerful magistrate and must decide who to give his heart to.


6. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

What It Should Be About: A mischevious pet shrew who is intelligent enough to learn tricks but refuses to cooperate even with copious amounts of treats.

What It’s Actually About: Two young men who meet two sisters. The older sister must be married off before the younger one can be, and one of the young men decides to marry her against her will in order to gain access to her large dowry.


7. To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2) by Connie Willis

What It Should Be About: A romance novel about a couple who meet at a speed dating event. One of them has a dog who appears once in an early scene and then never mentioned again. (The dog is not harmed, just conveniently missing from all other scenes).

What It’s Actually About: A time travel romance set in the 1800s. The main character doesn’t know as much about that era as they think they do, and hijinks commence.


8. The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

What It Should Be About: Someone who has the uncanny knack of always picking overripe, sour, never ripened, mouldy, or otherwise inedible produce at the grocery store. They soon meet an opinionated chef who can always pick out perfect produce but often buys expired box and canned goods because they don’t check for expiration dates. Neither of them trusts the other one’s opinions or can admit when they’re wrong, yet they decide to date anyways.

What It’s Actually About: A young American woman who moves to Paris in the late 1950s and has all sorts of romantic and comedic adventures.


Filed under Blog Hops

74 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: What Books Should Actually Be About Based on Their Titles

  1. How fun is this! What a great idea for a blog post! I’ve enjoyed a few of these books and I like your take on what they should be about based on their titles. 🙂

  2. I love this idea! I think it is one that I need to examine in the future.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

  3. This is such a creative idea! Though I must admit I’m glad the House in the Cerulean Sea wasn’t about mermaids haha.

    My TTT:

  4. Oh wow, I had a copy of Jacob de Zoet gifted to me by a friend and I would not have guessed that’s what it was about even just by looking at the cover! Your version does sound more fun actually… Haha! This is such a fun and clever topic. Great pick! 😃

  5. This made me laugh! My brother had the same confusion over Animal Farm, it’s an easy mistake to make! XD

  6. Oh my gosh! I love this topic! It’s so cool. You should really recommend it to TTT.

  7. This is such a great idea! It would work perfectly for that “book with a misleading title” prompt in this year’s Popsugar Reading Challenge.

    My TTT:

  8. Oh this is a great idea! I might do a post like this!

  9. Love this topic! That Animal Farm would be very, very different, haha.

  10. Line @First Line Reader

    This is amazing! 😂 I’m so glad someone else decided to do this because I just love what you came up with. I think your version of There is No Darkness would be a great book and I laughed so hard at the one for The Taming of the Shrew 😂

  11. This is such a fun idea! I love your interpretation of the titles, they sound like great reads too!

  12. I like most of your ideas better! Cerulean especially and Autumn.

  13. Damn – this is CLEVER! I agree with Greg, Cerulean Sea & Autumn are so smart. If I were this clever, I’d do the same thing. I’ll jot it down somewhere in case I find myself with some time (lots of time) to pull this together. So fun – it made me smile.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  14. So clever! I’d love to put something like this together but likely it’d fall flat because, creatively, I probably couldn’t be witty enough. 😉 Thanks so much for visiting my website today! Appreciate this.

  15. This is clever! Love this idea, thanks for sharing.

  16. I love this! And your opinions on what the book should be about are brilliant!

    Have a great week!

  17. I love this! What a great approach (and your descriptions really made me laugh!) For Animal Farm, I agree — it should be more like Big Red Barn (a children’s book I read endlessly with each of my kids).

  18. I love this idea! I definitely laughed at Animal Farm, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Dud Avocado especially!
    Here’s my list:

  19. Very cool! You did great work here!

  20. Great idea for this week! Now I’m going to think about some of the titles I read and apply this idea. 🙂

  21. I love this topic!! It’s so much fun.

  22. I love this! What a creative idea and a vivid imagination!

  23. This is hilarious. I love your descriptions, especially the one for Animal Farm because I read that myself. Well done.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT about Christmas Reads this week.

  24. What a hoot, I love this Lydia. This is so creative and fun. I may use it sometime down the road.

  25. I love this topic! I can’t tell you how many times the title of a book caught my attention only to lose it at the blurb. 😀

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

  26. Haha, these are fun. Sometimes I get the wrong idea about a book because of its cover. Then I’m shocked when I actually read it.

  27. I like your versions better! LOL. What a fun prompt to play with 🙂

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


  28. vidya

    Love this! And definitely saving this for a future freebie!!

  29. Wow, what a great idea! I’m glad you decided to do a version of the post, it’s very creative and funny 😀 Have a great week x

  30. This is such a creative way to talk about books. Thanks for sharing. I also like that you included a brief blurb of what the book is actually about.

  31. I like how you went about this. There are so many titles that are so confusing when compared to what the book is about haha.

  32. This is fab – great idea and very entertaining post!

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