Annals of Japery and Notable Articles

Read Me! Please!: Book Titles Rewritten to Get More Clicks

By posted at 6:00 am on January 21, 2014 78

As Upworthy-style headlines sweep the internet, aiming to snag as many clicks as possible by pandering to as many whims and obsessions as possible, the dignified mystery of the great book title stands in stark contrast. The Upworthy headline had been widely satirized on other websites and social media, including some folks applying them to book titles, so my Millions colleague Nick Moran and I were inspired to muse as well — what if books were whorishly titled, optimizing our search engines rather than our imaginations, rather than leaving us to discover who Oliver Twist was or who was proud and who was prejudiced?

Leave your own optimized book titles in the comments or on twitter with the hashtag #litworthy.

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78 Responses to “Read Me! Please!: Book Titles Rewritten to Get More Clicks”

  1. James
    at 6:53 am on January 21, 2014

    You’ll Never Believe What This Child Did When He Joined The Space Military

  2. FunnyFaceKing
    at 10:17 am on January 21, 2014

    One Man Goes to Extraordinary Lengths to Catch the Biggest Fish Ever, You’ll Never Believe His Age

  3. Simon Collinson
    at 10:19 am on January 21, 2014

    This Kid With A Tin Drum And A Loud Voice Gives Nazis The Biggest Headache.

  4. Karen
    at 12:21 pm on January 21, 2014

    You’ll Be Moved To Tears When You See This Teenage Boy Find Out That Other People Watch Sunsets Too!

  5. DBR
    at 12:53 pm on January 21, 2014

    Watch What This Young Shortstop Prodigy Can Do for a Small College’s Baseball Team, All Under the Watchful Eye of a College President Who Has Quite a Secret!

  6. talulahula
    at 1:26 pm on January 21, 2014

    If any of these appeared online, the comments would all be TL:DR.

  7. P.M. Russell
    at 1:51 pm on January 21, 2014

    Its amazing how a recreational cocaine user with an obsessive personality can solve even the toughest crimes.

  8. ninerninerniner
    at 5:28 pm on January 21, 2014

    Some of these new “titles” worked on me, actually :) Added a couple of books to my reading list, at least.

    at 1:01 am on January 22, 2014

    The explanation is actually on page 4,305 and a half…

  10. Adam Mordecai
    at 1:53 am on January 22, 2014

    You’d Probably Turn Into A Cockroach And Die Too If You Had This Family
    It Was A Great Year For John Hughes Movies. Also, Really Awesome For Controlling Everything You Say And Think.
    A Pig And A Spider Get In Cahoots. You’ve Probably Already Heard What Happens Next.
    The Government Tossed Her Into An Arena To Die. Then They Forgot To Take Her Wits And Arrows. Woops.

  11. Amy L.
    at 1:58 am on January 22, 2014

    Victim of overzealous surgeon is vilified by villagers

  12. Peter
    at 6:39 am on January 22, 2014

    YES Shakespeare, YES Death,YES Eating, Shakespeare and more Sex YES: One Day in Dublin . . .

  13. Rick Jones
    at 8:44 am on January 22, 2014

    Be mindful of your cat when you add that interior wall.

  14. Sheila
    at 9:29 am on January 22, 2014

    Doctor Plays God And Digs Up Corpses to Make His Own Man.

  15. Covase
    at 9:47 am on January 22, 2014

    One Sheriff’s Investigation Into A Man On The Run From An Unstoppable Killer

  16. Jonah the Whale
    at 11:13 am on January 22, 2014

    This Kid Really thought he Loved the South. That’s until somebody Burned Down this Other Guy’s Mansion.

  17. LG
    at 11:20 am on January 22, 2014

    This Guy Literally Turned Into a Bug. Not Metaphorically. Literally. Dude.

  18. Hannelore Dean
    at 11:37 pm on January 22, 2014

    They can’t drive, speak English, or even cross the street, but somehow they’re supposed to make it to the promised land. Oh, did we mention they’re rabbits? Yeah.

  19. Katherine
    at 11:21 am on January 23, 2014

    Man opens his front door on Christmas Eve and gets haunted out of his personality.

  20. Kevin
    at 12:46 pm on January 23, 2014

    In the beginning there was THE WORD. One week later, everything changed.

  21. Kathleen Conway
    at 11:30 am on January 24, 2014

    TATTOO TWO! SHE wears the letter on her left breast! HE carves the letter onto his left breast! WHAT will this fleshpot couple do next?

  22. Sonja Schardt
    at 11:44 am on January 24, 2014

    The gypsy boy who falls passionately in love with his adoptive sister and destroys everyone who´s standing in his way.

  23. Steve Marshall
    at 2:42 pm on January 24, 2014

    Slaveowners HATE them. Black man, white kid steal raft and head downriver. You won’t believe what happens on page 177.

  24. Owen Hartnett
    at 3:50 pm on January 24, 2014

    Eastern European nobleman seeks to expand his livelihood into England. Madness, death, shorthand, crucifixes and garlic are all at stake in a story that will suck your blood dry.

  25. Bob Finn
    at 4:02 pm on January 24, 2014

    “22 Catches and How to Avoid Them”

  26. Kurt Carlson
    at 4:03 pm on January 24, 2014

    Crazy old lady died yesterday. You won’t BELIEVE what the cops found in her bedroom! #itsadeadguy

  27. Bob Finn
    at 4:09 pm on January 24, 2014

    “Teen Tennis Pros Go Wild!” (Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace)

  28. David Ropeik
    at 4:59 pm on January 24, 2014

    A lot of people kill each other for a while, then they don’t.

  29. Blade
    at 10:11 pm on January 24, 2014

    Destitute Lass Asked Out by Dreamy Hunk Just Home from the War. Doesn’t Have a Thing to Wear.

    And then…

    She Sees it in the Window.

  30. Andrew Petersen
    at 11:00 pm on January 24, 2014

    Some of these are the most hilarious interpritations of book titles I’ve ever seen, though with a few in comments sections I wish there was a list of original titles, as the quotes are hilarious, but I have no idea to what book they belong. I would love to see either a followup article or a new one with more of these titles from the staff, and I had to do a double take on Moby Dick to make sure there wasn’t a pun in the form of litteraly, not literary. Thanks for the laughs, they made my day.

  31. dorothy
    at 11:56 pm on January 24, 2014

    This guy sleeps with a prostitute, desecrates a mummy, blinds himself, and dies in a ditch. It’s the most inspirational story in years.

    (Wiseblood, Flannery O’Connor)

  32. Meshal
    at 1:54 am on January 25, 2014

    Flu escapes lab kills whole world, and then things really get weird

    The Stand

    Thru Hell, Heaven and inbetween. One mans journey

    The Divine Comedy

    KIds kill local clown, have creepy sex, then Reunite years later


    Matchmaker makes mess in search of the One


    Creepy shut in teaches Girl to destroy the boy she loves

    Great Expectations

    Drug fuelled orgies and test tube babies

    Brave New World

    Racism, Murder and the Craziest man in town

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Man save country to have wife run of with best friend

    Le Morte D’arthur

  33. FOARP
    at 2:46 am on January 25, 2014

    This man went all the way up the Congo and what he found there will make you cry.

  34. Bob
    at 7:25 am on January 25, 2014

    Clergy implicated in scheme that forces woman to make a fashion choice
    advertising a poor decision.

  35. Ena Lynne
    at 2:54 pm on January 25, 2014

    So, this totally hot dude rips the arm off a gnarly monster, then later kills the monster *and* the monster’s mother. It’s all cool until a dragon enters the picture.


  36. Hannelore Dean
    at 3:03 pm on January 25, 2014

    What discolored these eggs? Did that ham come from a factory farm? And why won’t this Texas senator stop talking about it?

    Green Eggs and Ham
    Dr. Seuss

  37. Cynthia
    at 9:32 pm on January 25, 2014

    Actually, Catcher in the Rye should really be: “He Paid for a Prostitute But the Pimp Punched Him Anyway #whataphony.”

  38. Hannelore Dean
    at 8:59 pm on January 26, 2014

    Strangers lured this boy from home while his parents slept, and he went willingly. Would your child do any better?

    The Polar Express
    Chris Van Allsburg

  39. Koneko
    at 1:37 pm on January 27, 2014

    How this man atoned for a lifetime because of a minor theft will break your heart

    (Les Miserables)

  40. Trickster
    at 7:42 pm on January 27, 2014

    This nice family up North had a peaceful life, but everything changed when the King came to visit; also a lot of sex and murder. Find out who are mystery boy’s real parents… just kidding, it’s still not revealed.

  41. pedicab
    at 9:14 am on January 28, 2014

    “An admirer send his beloved a dirty note. You’ll never believe what he’s accused of when her little sister intercedes!”

  42. Shelley
    at 11:32 am on January 28, 2014

    Books don’t care if you read them. Only their authors do.

  43. Alison
    at 1:04 pm on January 29, 2014

    The constant conflict between free will and imposed goodness as told in the near-unintelligible rhyming slang of an amoral thug with a Beethoven fetish.

    (A Clockwork Orange)

  44. Stephen E. Monday
    at 1:37 pm on January 29, 2014

    A book was written to; “shake the heavens and the earth, and turn the world upside down.”

    It has…and still does. It has been republished more than any other book on the face of the earth. Even today, it still outsells them all.

    KJV Authorized Version; “The Holy Bible”

  45. Faith
    at 7:24 pm on January 29, 2014

    These siblings allowed a stranger into their home on a rainy day. What he did next will both amaze and shock you!

    (The Cat in the Hat)

  46. Sarah
    at 2:03 pm on February 1, 2014

    McSweeney’s did a killer version of this a few years ago:

  47. Sadie
    at 12:31 am on February 2, 2014

    You think it’s going to be a cute little story about kitty cats living in the woods…THEN EVERYONE YOU LOVE DIES!
    (The Warrior Cats Series: Erin Hunter)

  48. Lily
    at 12:34 am on February 2, 2014

    Four siblings survive as hobos for a while, then their rich grandfather adopts them and they solve mysteries: the Boxcar Children (Only the first book has anything to do with a Boxcar)

  49. Derek
    at 1:24 pm on February 3, 2014

    Top things to do in Dresden and on Tralfamadore before you die.

  50. Arthur
    at 10:57 am on February 4, 2014

    “If you read this, you will die!” by William Shakespeare. (Macbeth)

  51. Jamie
    at 2:31 pm on February 5, 2014

    You’ll never believe what happens when this emo kid thinks his sleeping wife is dead. He totally shoulda checked his sources.

  52. Cristina
    at 10:43 pm on February 6, 2014

    Two bored men waiting for someone who won’t ever come.

  53. Best of the Web | Lights All Around
    at 1:02 am on February 7, 2014

    […] The Millions posted a list of books hilariously re-titled to get more clicks. […]

  54. KC
    at 5:57 pm on February 9, 2014

    Guess which kid is going to die. Trust us, it’s not who you think. (The Fault in Our Stars)

  55. Jill
    at 7:35 pm on February 12, 2014

    A Victorian army vet moves in with a possibly mad genuis detective and writes about it. Warning: May make you want to avoid waterfalls.

  56. Megan
    at 7:57 am on February 19, 2014

    A Little Girl And Her Spirit Animal Set Out On The Wackiest Polar Rescue Mission Ever.

    (The Golden Compass – Phillip Pullman)

  57. Rissa
    at 8:00 am on February 19, 2014

    Old man kind of sucks at fishing.

  58. Rissa
    at 8:05 am on February 19, 2014

    A new mom takes redecorating her bedroom into her own hands.

  59. Celine
    at 7:16 pm on February 19, 2014

    Utopian society isn’t so utopic when a special man cares about a special boy enough to get him out of there.

    Why are we living underground starving while our mayor gets fat and there’s life above ground? #Idon’tknow #I just wanted to be a mail woman #then my grandma died

    Sentient mouse changes the opinion of an entire society through a chain reaction of social outcasts

  60. Velma
    at 8:55 pm on March 9, 2014

    SleuthSayers built upon your great theme. Thank you!

  61. Hamlet
    at 9:07 pm on May 25, 2014

    “My Dead Dad Told Me To Kill My Uncle/New Dad But I Accidentally Killed My Ex-Girlfriend’s Dad Instead And Now I’ll Never Get To Rule Denmark So I Might As Well Let Norway Take Over And Let Everybody Die But My Kinda-Gay Best Friend”

  62. Hershl Hartman
    at 5:44 pm on June 7, 2014

    How the universe began and all the stuff that happened later, by an author whom you’d better not question.

  63. RIta
    at 1:53 pm on June 26, 2014

    Even a child can see how racist Alabama is in the 1930’s

  64. Alison Barker
    at 3:08 am on July 13, 2014

    Watch what happens when a snarky, drug addicted detective meets a very unammused doctor.

  65. Riba
    at 9:13 pm on July 19, 2014

    A man is confused, then kills another man, then he’s still confused.

    A fully grown man decides to lock himself with a child in a factory full of illegal immigrants and no one finds it weird.

  66. Weekly Links & Wrap-up (Jan. 26, 2014) - Here There Be Books
    at 8:06 pm on September 13, 2014

    […] links At The Millions, classic book titles get rewritten to be more Upworthy. My […]

  67. Ken Harsch
    at 12:34 pm on November 11, 2014

    The love child of a critically injured veteran ravaged by a feminist icon searches for meaning with the help of a transgender football player. Man bites dog. Woman bites man.

  68. Covert Angel
    at 9:39 pm on November 13, 2014

    What makes these apes go wild, turn killers, then wind up, many years later, after being locked out in the dark, go zooming through a freaky light show and wind up in a classy hotel room with an old guy for no apparent reason. #Maybe the big baby knows.

    (2001: A Space Odyssey)

  69. Allison
    at 10:03 am on November 19, 2014

    A girl hides from her siblings in a closet…you’ll never believe what she found behind the fur coats! (C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia)

  70. Jesus Christ
    at 5:26 pm on November 23, 2014

    And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “Brethren, I’ve heard it said among you that I am the Son of God and was sent to die for your sins.

    Brethren, may I asketh, who among you is the lunatic who came up with this Neanderthal bullshit!!!???

    Blood sacrifice!!!!???? Brethren, have you completely lost your fucking minds!!!!????

    Surely I say to you, I’d sooner lick Judas’ ass crack than subject myself to the Stone Age insanity of human sacrifice!!!

    And the disciple whom Jesus loved the most said,

    “Well, shit man!!!! What the hell are we supposed to do now!!!!????

    Hey, is that fat bastard over there the Buddha!!?

    Tell that some’ bitch I need to have a word with him!!!

    —-The Holy Bible, if it was actually true

  71. Will
    at 6:03 pm on November 24, 2014

    “After disaster strikes, an apocryphal and wildly inaccurate guide book sends duo on a quest for universal truth.” – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    “After being dropped in a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets, then teams up with three strangers to kill again” – The Wizard of Oz

    “Innovative approach to population control proposed: Irish not amused” – A Modest Proposal

    “Vindictive millionaire plots convoluted revenge after wrongful imprisonment, but does he go too far?” – The Count of Monte Cristo

  72. Tyson
    at 5:10 am on January 5, 2015

    It rubs the lotion on its skin. You won’t believe what happens next.

  73. Lisa Grunwald
    at 10:28 am on March 7, 2015

    These are BRILLIANT! Special request: can you make them as posters? I desperately need to have your Great Gatsby cover framed on my wall!

  74. #clickbaitbooks nailed it 10 times with new book titles | East Idaho News
    at 8:19 am on May 4, 2015

    […] 5. "He Didn't Want to Dance With Her When They First Met. Now He Really, Really Does" (Pride and Prejudice) […]

  75. 11 Classic Novels Reimagined With Clickbait Titles | 101 Books
    at 8:20 am on May 12, 2015

    […] how I might rename these classic novels using clickbait: (HT to The Millions for this […]

  76. Kori Fisher
    at 4:19 pm on June 7, 2015

    They teased her for saying there was a strange world through the back of her closet. What happens next will give you chills ! (CSLewis)

  77. Wynterr
    at 12:01 am on November 2, 2015

    “Disfigured murdering singer stalks opera singer. Will they fall in love?” (Phantom of the Opera)

    “Teens kill themselves because of bad parenting and lack of communication!” Romeo and Juliette

    “Listening to your wife if she is a complete power hungry nut may not be the best idea. This is why!” (Macbeth)

    “Lots of people go to an island. No one leaves. You will never guess why!” (And Then There Were None)

  78. Cheshirecat
    at 6:43 am on August 10, 2017

    Young Boy’s First Cruise Ruined by Shocking Actions of Ship’s Crew. (Treasure Island)

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