The Lord of the Rings-Tolkien

The Pillars of the Earth- Ken Follett

Atlas Shrugged- Ayn Rand

Where the Sidewalk Ends- Shel Silverstein

The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul- Douglas Adams

The Deep End of the Ocean- Jacquleyn Mitchard

Like Water for Chocolate- Laura Esquivel

The Mermaid Chair–Sue Monk Kidd

This one's pretty great too.

These titles are bold, potent words, evoking an emotional response. I mean, The Pillars of the Earth? What a grand sentence! Just reading these titles, several of which I haven't read, I feel something shift, and wonder, and turn to stare.

Touristy activities with professional photographers is what started all this.

I woke up at 4:oo a.m. We have guests, Bethany Hamilton‘s brother Noah and his beautiful wife Becky, and Mike took them to the top of Haleakala Crater to photograph the sunrise (yes we do these things on Maui rather often and Mike, Noah and Becky all do pro photography) so in the darkness and muffled voices, I wake up. Doors slam, cars fire up, the house is empty–but I can't get back to sleep.

I brew up an insecurity attack about my books as I lie in bed, maybe because I'm with people who are really DOING IT in their field. Things aren't really happening with the book that Irene is shopping, Blood Orchids. I got a prettily-phrased rejection from Penguin, I had a smackdown on the opening chapter of my newest book in my writer's group, my editor sent me her latest 12-page list of suggested revisions on Torch Ginger, and now I'm wondering if I have what it takes–not just to ever write a GREAT book, but even just an entertaining one which is all I'm trying to do right now.

I go turn on my computer and engage in some escape fantasies, like going to Thrillerfest in New York (as if that would help), and see Ken Follett as the main speaker, and a blurb about his opus, Pillars.  That gets me thinking about what it is that makes a truly great book–and in this day and age of instant gratification (e-books! webzines! apps !) and the bulk of people with the attention span of a gnat, a great title is the perfect start.

What are some of your favorite titles? How did they impact your choice to buy the book?

(This discussion of titles doesn't address my insecurity attack, and I'm beginning to think most writers have them on a pretty regular basis so I'm hoping to just ride it out and keep going.)

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