Top Ten Tuesday 3/3 – One-Word Wonders

After a fairly long time away from the blog (thanks, law school stress and other things), I’m glad to be getting back to you all with more bookish content! Today’s Tuesday, and you know what that means: time for a Top Ten Tuesday post! TTT is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and it always provides some fun listicle content. This week’s prompt is “Books with Single-Word Titles.” In a world where the whole [Blank] of [Blank] and [Blank] title format is painfully overused, there is something very refreshing about titles that pack a one-word punch. Here are a few of my favorites (and some big disappointments):

1. Dubliners

As you all may know, I am a huge fan of James Joyce. This short-story collection, painting a variety of characters and scenes in Ireland, is a good introduction to his work.

2. Warbreaker

I couldn’t make this list without a Brandon Sanderson title; he has so many good books, and many of them have single-word titles. This one is unique in that it is a standalone (though he said he may return to the world with a sequel of sorts at some point), and it is GLORIOUS. You can check out my review of it here.

3. Beloved

When Toni Morrison passed away, the world lost a remarkable literary talent. This is one of her best-known novels, a work of magical realism with commentary on slavery, racism, and the persistence of guilt and memory. I first read it for an English course during my second year of college, and I loved it. (Side note: it was my second Morrison book, but I didn’t love the first one I read, Song of Solomon, back when I was in high school.)

4. Foundryside

A book that truly doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. A thief in over her head, a really cool magic system (which some people have actually compared to computer programming, making this book vaguely cyberpunk despite the high fantasy vibe?), hints of a queer romance, a literal talking key who is crazy sarcastic and amazing, a crotchety old wizard, a guard out for justice…what’s not to love? Bonus: this is one of those titles that is technically adult but has major YA crossover appeal, for those of you who prefer stories that skew younger. Bonus 2: the sequel comes out in April!

5. Vicious

I just finished this one a couple weeks ago and am reading the sequel now, and WOW. Talk about a masterclass in character development and exploration of moral ambiguity. A dark take on the conventional superhero story, this is one of those books that will stick with you for a long time. Currently reading the sequel, Vengeful, and I like it even better so far. Bonus: the main character, Victor Vale, is canonically ace.

6. Stepsister

I listened to this as an audiobook last summer, and while the narrator’s voice occasionally annoyed me, the story as a whole was great! It’s a fun, feminist take on what happened to the “ugly stepsister” after Cinderella married the prince, starting with the gruesome original Grimm’s ending where the sisters cut off parts of their feet.

6. Becoming

There are a lot of one-word titles for memoirs out there, but Michelle Obama’s story really blew me away. Her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her husband, but they are no less impressive (perhaps even…dare I say…more impressive?), and she is so freaking classy, I can’t get over it. I also loved that this is truly her story, not “The Barack Obama Story As Told by Michelle.”

7. madness

This collection of poetry by sam sax chronicles a life lived with mental illness and the struggles inherent therein. Well worth a read for fans of contemporary poetry, spoken word, and work about mental health.

8. Caraval

Now, we get into the ones I liked less. Each book in this series is a one-word title. As a story about a magical carnival and two sisters who get caught up in its spell, it is pretty cool. However, I did feel like the conclusion of the series kind of spoiled the magic of the first two. Check out my mini-reviews for the audiobooks here.

9. Vox

This is another example of a cool premise with lackluster execution: a world where women are only allowed to speak a hundred words every day. Some very weird plot directions, including a disappointing ending, made it less enjoyable for me.

10. Reverie

Weird that all three of my “bummer” reads on this list were ones I liked the premise of. This book was so unabashedly queer and took a very unique storyline about people entering other people’s daydreams. Unfortunately, it was a little too ambitious and ended up coming out rather messy in execution. You can find my whole review of it here.

So, that’s it for me! Have you read any of these? Like any of them? Got any favorite one-word titles of your own, or links to your own TTT? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Kathryn (“K-Specks”)

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