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

January 21, 2014 | 5 books mentioned 78 2 min read

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.

The Shiniest Guy In School Had Her at “You’re My Particular Brand of Heroin”



He Didn’t Want to Dance with Her When They First Met. Now He Really, Really Does.



Watch This Kid Burst Into Tears When He’s Refused Some More Porridge



They Told Him White Whales Were Impossible to Hunt. That’s When He Went Literally Crazy.



You Thought Millennials Were Bad? Watch These British Kids Totally Nail Chaos Theory.



Some Guy With Two First Names Proves That “Nymphet” Is The Grossest Word In English.



You’ll Never Guess Which of the Four Sisters the Hot Neighbor Kid Ends Up Married To



This Guy Didn’t Tell His New Governess About His Secret Ex-Wife In The Attic. What Happened Next Really Burned Him Up.



Watch How Complicated This Guy’s Road Trip Gets When He Lets A Group of Dwarves Plan It.



The Most Powerful Dark Wizard in the World Tried to Kill Him When He Was a Baby. On Page 4,305 You’ll Find Out Why.



We Thought We Could Beat On Against The Current Without Being Borne Back Ceaselessly Into The Past. Boy, Were We Wrong.



You Know How You’ve Been Looking for the Secret to Eternal Youth? This Guy With a Really Ugly Painting in His Attic May Have Found It.



Here’s One Weird Trick To Get Out of Paying Your Rent Forever



He Paid For A Prostitute But The Pimp Punched Him Anyway. What A Phony.

is a staff writer for The Millions. Janet is a freelance writer and semi-professional baker living in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in The Awl, The AV Club, the Chicago Reader, and Chicago Magazine. She is the co-host of YouTube's The Book Report and blogs about presidential biographies at At Times Dull. Follow her @sojanetpotter.


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

  2. 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!

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

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

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

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

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

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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)

  16. 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

  17. 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.


  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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)

  23. 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”

  24. 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)

  25. 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)

  26. 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)

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

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

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

    (The Golden Compass – Phillip Pullman)

  30. 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

  31. “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”

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

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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)

  37. 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)

  38. 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

  39. “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

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

  41. “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)

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