Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Rambling: Shared Titles

The title is one of the ways your eye is drawn to a book - along with the cover art, (and of course, don't forget the author's name) with the intent of getting you to pick up the book and see what it's about (by reading at least the blurb, or preferably, the whole book). So, a unique title at least will be a great help in that goal.

Of course, with a limited number of words in any language, the inevitable will happen every now and again and a title will be duplicated. The example of that which sticks in my head the most is the one shown here: Once A Hero by Elizabeth Moon, a science fiction novel set in the world of the Serrano family and also a fantasy novel by Michael A. Stackpole of the same title, which is set in a very interesting and unique world. I've read and enjoyed both books a few times now (and writing this out is making me want to re-read the Michael A. Stackpole book). But they're not alone. Amazon.com comes up with about 80 results with the search term "Once A Hero".

And then there's the Rosemary Sutcliffe book titled The Eagle which I've seen in my local bookstore. I know it's a re-titling too, and done to tie in with the movie called The Eagle (which I'd like to see), though I'm honestly not a hundred percent sure of the original title. There's also a Jack Whyte novel, also about the Roman period in Britain, which is of the same title.

Sometimes even books with similar titles can get confusing too: for example Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion books: Oath of Gold (the third book in the Deed of Paksenarrion) and Oath of Fealty, the most recent book she's published. Every now and then, I get the two confused in my head for a minute. Or the Blood series by Tanya Huff. Except for the last book, Blood Debt, I have no clue as to the reading order without actually looking at any of the books, nor can I remember which events are tied to which books.

Most of the time it doesn't bother me, because I know which book I'm referring to, but now and again, it gets confusing when I'm talking to others. What's your take on books with shared titles?
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