Bad Titles

The reason why I avoided Jhumpa Lahiri for years are the titles of her books. I minored in the English literature of the subcontinent in college, so now I jump on every book with an Indian name on the cover.

Lahiri’s titles were too off-putting, though. Unaccustomed Earth sounds hippy-dippy. I could imagine leafing through it while waiting for the new products section of the Goop website to load. Interpreter of Maladies sounds like some magical realism crap. And I’ve had to read enough of that garbage in Spanish. This is a case of the text and the titles speaking to completely different audiences.

4 thoughts on “Bad Titles

  1. I’ve read Interpreter of Maladies, but don’t remember much about it– it was years ago. But I remember not liking it. Maybe I should give it another go…

    Just an aside, though: pray for New Orleans if you get a chance. They’re expecting a monster hurricane today, and as usual the local authorities botched the warnings and evacuations. They have told everyone to shelter in place. Personally, I think everyone involved in those decisions needs to be padlocked inside a one-story house in the ninth ward, for the duration (maybe with an axe in the attic, in case of emergency). Since they told everybody the levees will be fiiiine (because they waited too late to issue evac orders).

    We’re well out of the way, but fully expect to lose power later today, so I won’t be able to keep up with the news. Right now, it is like seeing a train wreck about to happen.

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  2. I never give much importance to titles while choosing the books — I rarely get the deep ones until after I read the book, and the unimaginative ones are… well… obvious and not indicative of the creativity and depth of the prose (in good books) anyway.

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