Girls, Girls, Girls! Coming to a book title near you

Girls Girls Girls sign glows in racy pink neon against dark night backgroundI made just one new year’s reading resolution this year: Read no books with the words “girl” or “wife” in the title.

A few days into 2016 and I failed with American Housewife by Helen Ellis (a pure delight to read and sure to be one of my favorite books of the year), followed shortly after by The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel (Denmark’s “Queen of Crime”). Now All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda and The Girls by Emma Cline are stacked on my nightstand. In the 12 months prior, my reading list included: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein and Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham.* So. Many. Girls.

In the fiction world, publishers are still riding high on the success of Gone Girl as the cool girl of the past five years, boosted again last year with The Girl on the Train hitting the top of the bestseller lists (and SPL hold lists, too). “Girl” in the title had an earlier push in 2008, as you most certainly recall, with the English language release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson in 2008. The success of the Millennium trilogy (a.k.a. franchise) led to this Vulture list of The Book Title with 91 imitators (all 91 starting with “The Girl Who” or “The Girl with”) during a three year period.

girl in the title

The combination of cover design, title and blurbs reeled me into each of these books.
See also this list, Where have all the girls gone?,  of 10 suggested novels.

“…there’s this sort of shorthand that if it has ‘girl’ in the title, then I know what to expect,” said Megan Abbott on NPR earlier this year (The ‘Girl’ in the Title: More Than a Marketing Trend). The titles, book concepts, hooks and pacing of a thriller with “girl” in the title seems like obvious marketing to everyone. And it can be frustrating when trying to remember the title of a book when so many sound similar. (Was that The Girls or The Girls you wanted to read?) And while you may be waiting for this girl trend to end, I’m chagrined to admit that I fall again and again for this type of title. Publishers, if you’re sending a signal to a certain type of reader — message received. But now you should back off from calling women girls for a while. Rather, forever.

                                                                                                     — posted by Linda J. 

*Brownstein’s and Dunham’s books, along with other nonfiction titles, have nothing to do with the thriller titles; but they showed up on my 2015 books-read list, and I included them to beef up my “girl” book count.
This entry was posted in BOOKS, Fiction, LISTS and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Girls, Girls, Girls! Coming to a book title near you

  1. lindajohns says:

    Reblogged this on Linda Johns and commented:
    Post I wrote for Seattle Public Library’s Shelf Talk blog …

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