Dearest Better Book Titlers,
We’re nearing the release of How Not to Read (September 4th) and I want to see what others come up with as a better book title for the Better Book Titles book.
All you have to do is write an e-mail to email@example.com with a new funny title and I’ll announce the winner next Friday (8/24) and post my favorite ones here. The people who submit the best re-titles will receive a FREE ADVANCE COPY of How Not to Read!
The book includes my favorite covers, tips on avoiding terrible books and the terrible people who read them, and summing up whole genres of literature in a single sentence. Examples of my favorite re-titles include: Abridged Too Far, The Secret (but with More Jokes about Drugs and Poop), and Daniel Deronda with Fewer Jews.
#lit #literature #humor #funny #lol #contest #Better Book Titles #how not to read #dan wilbur #tumblr #books
This Tuesday 9/4 at Housing Works Bookstore.
Free beer and wine and comedy! Copies of “How Not to Read” will be available!
Co-sponsored by Tumblr, Community Bookstore, and Perigee. Flyer by Anya Garrett.
#lit #literature #humor #tumblr #funny #books #better book titles #stand up #comedy #free #show #lol #housing works #dan wilbur #how not to read
Every bookstore should look like Community Bookstore today.
Thanks, everyone! Here’s where you can get the book.
#Better Book Titles #blog #book #bookstore #dan wilbur #funny #how not to read #humor #lit #literature #lol #reading #tumblr #community bookstore
What do these books have in common? They are all on Vanity Fair’s list of the Best Books of 2012!
In other news: January 1st is the last day to order a copy of How Not to Read with a custom cover made by me. Details here.
You can also buy the book at any of these places.
#lit #literature #humor #funny #Better Book Titles #lol #best books of 2012 #dan wilbur #vanity fair #cover #how not to read #books #tumblr
Better Book Titles turned 3 years old today.
Here are some favorites from the first few months of making fake titles. Thanks to everyone who shared these or submitted his or her own. Special thanks to the Tumblr staff for featuring it early on and making it easy for people to share the site.
There are over 500 fake covers for you to browse in the archive!
#lit #literature #humor #books #reading #tumblr #how not to read #funny #lol #Better Book Titles #dan wilbur #amreading #writing #skimming #favorite #dumb
#lit #literature #humor #lol #blog #twitter #tumblr #funny #odysseus #dumb #better book titles #dan Wilbur
I don't understand how someone who knows so much about books and can read right through them, why would you want to promote a literature free life. This world is already full of people who rely on their technologies and are continuously dumbing themselves down and NOT reading. And here you are PROMOTING idiots to stay idiots. I get comedic purposes but I feel this is another way to make people lazy.
My long answer: I frankly disagree. I think posting any joke/funny image/reference/bad review/good review all help literacy in general. And I know for a fact that many people who follow this blog have felt inspired to read and enjoy specific books because of its funny retitle. There was a nice little debate about bad reviews helping or hurting writers in the NY Times book review this week. They both mention that talking about books, even while actively saying you hate certain titles, is good for the craft.
The main aim of a blog promoting inside jokes that only readers understand is to make reading feel even cooler than it already is. I actively try, however, to not ONLY post jokes that go over some people’s heads. No one wants to feel excluded, but that alone is sometimes an incentive to dive into a community. And for those people who suffered through certain loathsome texts during school, I find that this website helps them feel less alone in their literary grief. Furthermore, when I post an obscure summation of a book like Olesha’s Envy, I’m not doing it to make people feel like they now don’t have to read it or they’re dumb if they haven’t already. I’m doing it so I feel less alone when I see how many people comment on the post saying they’ve already read it or, now want to read that book. Every time I post (especially about newer fiction) I find that people feel encouraged to get their hands on books like The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. or A Visit From The Goon Squad. I am, jokes aside, trying to get people to pick up those books.
For the most part I mock books I enjoy. If you ever see a fake title where the subtext is “Dan hates this book” I think it’s safe to assume I felt angry that an author wasted my time with drivel, and I’m seeking to help others not waste their time either. Although some titles might seem mean-spirited or really do come off as if I’m saying “Don’t read this!” it is because there are just too many books and too little time to have to sit through hours, days, months of tiresome garbage. I won’t name any specific titles, but… I bet you can guess which ones.
Are bad reviews and glib summations of books good for literacy? I’d say working in a bookstore taught me this: the perfect hand-sell for any book is what’s known in the business as “an elevator pitch.” If you can’t describe your favorite book in two sentences, you’re a shitty salesperson. You’re also probably a shitty writer. Do five-star ratings on Goodreads with no extra information help promote a book? Of course! But wouldn’t you rather hear that Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut is a about a possible wife-murderer being investigated by other fictional or dead wife-murderers? Don’t you wish instead of naming it Skippy Dies (a book that has its own spoiler and Better Book Title already) the author had given you an inkling of how many drugs, sexual encounters, and Hogwarts references were in that magical novel? I would. I would have gotten to those books faster.
So, no. I don’t feel like people are idiots or that I’m promoting idiocy. I think people are busy. I think people are tired. I think if you go to a real job for nine hours a day, and you’re above the age of 20, reading is one of the harder habits to keep. So if a super-simple humor website dedicates itself to telling you what books are really about so you can follow your interests faster, I think it’s a good thing. I’m promoting literacy! Not idiocy!
My short answer: It’s a JOKE.
I know this is the opposite of "How Not to Read," but I took your recommendation for Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, and now I'm halfway through it and it's so fucking good. Do you have any other suggestions for books that are great?
I’m so glad you like it! Unfortunately, there’s nothing quite as ambitious nor as funny as Skippy Dies.
I wrote about my favorite books for the past few years here and here. A few I’ve been recommending recently are: Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?
If we’re talking all-time favorites that I yell about in bars and wish more people would read??
Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita
Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy:
This is who submitted The Goldfinch re-title. Her website is great. Follow it!
The new version of the Better Book Titles podcast is here!
Two-Book Minimum (the podcast):
Each week I’ll sit down with an author to have an intelligent conversation about books but ruin it by also inviting my semi-literate comedian-friends to share their thoughts. Produced by Cave Comedy Radio.
The first episode features Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore. We discuss biology, incest, writing schools, and Nabokov while Adam Newman (Letterman, Comedy Central) asks us if we’ve seen Congo or the movie Powder. It’s great fun. I hope you enjoy the new version of the show!