Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Novel. Really?

What's one step up from a pet peeve? That's what I've got. I'm not too worked up about it. Really it's a question. Why do many authors, or is it the publisher, insist on putting "A Novel" after the title of a book? How often are readers confused as to what they are holding in a bookstore?
My unscientific research shows a little less than half of all novels choose to specify that they are, indeed, a novel. My usual response to seeing that on a book cover is, "Well, duh!" It's not quite as offensive to me as when they junk up a film title with "Walt Disney's (insert animated film here)" or the worst ever: "Precious: based on the novel PUSH by Sapphire" Where do I start on that gangly mess? Your movie is called Precious. Period. If you didn't want people to be confused you should have called your movie Push. Sunday night at the Oscars some poor sucker is going to have to say that entire tongue twister of a title every time they read it off a teleprompter. And really? Sapphire? That's the best pen name you could come up with?
Anyway, back to "A Novel". Now, I don't mind "A novel by" nearly as much. It's when it comes after the title. "Brilliant Crime Bestseller: A novel" just doesn't do it for me. I guess they just don't want people thinking it is a nonfiction book. I don't read them but do Vampire novels and stuff do this too? Is it like being a doctor? The salutation acknowledges all the hard work?
I just don't get it. Can anyone enlighten me?

1 comment:

Cormac Brown said...

Maybe they didn't want people thinking it was this Push, or the one. At least they didn't try to title after a hit song that had absolutely nothing to do with the film, like the mid 80's and early 90's.