#BookBingoNW2019: One Word Titles

Stop by your library and see what one-word titles are on display — and in the stacks.

A few readers have asked if the one-word title reading challenge for Book Bingo can include a book with a subtitle. There are no hard and fast rules for Book Bingo (for any of the squares), but I’m going to weigh in with an enthusiastic and reassuring “YES! Read that book with a long subtitle!” because that opens the door for so many wonderful nonfiction books.

However, I draw the line at an article preceding the one-word title. If there’s an “a” or “the” ahead of the word, it doesn’t count — at least not by my rules. But you should play by your own rules.

Back to the challenge at hand. This is one of the easiest categories for rediscovering the joy of browsing in the stacks. Those one-word titles are easy to spot, and serendipity can lead you to a new author or perspective. You can also start at the Peak Picks collection at your favorite branch, where you’ll find these nonfiction titles:

Upheaval by Jared Diamond (subtitle is “Turning Points for Nations in Crisis”): Looks at how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes–a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises.


Maid by Stephanie Land (subtitle is: “Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive”): A journalist’s look back at her time living in a shelter with her daughter and trying to scrape by cleaning for wealthy people.

Horizon by Barry Lopez: Part memoir and part travelogue: Lopez (who won the National Book Award for Arctic Dreams) writes about his encounters — human, animal, and natural — around the world.

Underland by Robert Macfarlane (subtitle: “A Deep Time Journey”): Explores the Earth’s underworlds in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.

Becoming by Michelle Obama: It’s still on the bestseller list, but as of the day this post was written, it was checked in at three locations.

Range by David J. Epstein (subtitle is: “Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World”): Epstein looks at successful artists, musicians, scientists, and athletes.

Peak Picks has some one-word gems in the fiction arena, too, including Exhalation by Ted Chiang,  Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn, and Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi.

Want more fiction ideas? For general fiction consider Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Room by Emma Donoghue, LaRose by Louise Erdrich,  Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Gnomon by Nick Harkaway, Circe by Madeline Miller, Beloved by Toni Morrison,  1Q84 by Haruki Murakami,  Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell,  and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. Stephen King comes through with page-turners and one-word titles: It, Carrie, Cujo, Elevation, Misery, and Institute.

Revisit (or visit for the first time) books like Passing by Nella Larsen, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, Dracula by Bram Stoker, or Dubliners by James Joyce.

Your best bet for one-word title? Browse the stacks!

For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2019 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2019 on social media. Need a Book Bingo card? Print one out here or pick one up at your Library. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.

~ Posted by Linda J. 

3 thoughts on “#BookBingoNW2019: One Word Titles”

  1. I have book recommendation – One Word Title.


    It’s a Novel by Helene Gabel Ryan (1918 – 2009) She’s was a local author. You can read more about her on the Wallyhood Blog:

    I don’t see it on the libraries bookshelf, but it SHOULD BE. It’s similar to “On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”, but with a slightly different twist. It was published in 2007

    1. I’m not sure if the library owned it at one point in time – things do get well loved in a public setting. Unfortunately, it is out of print so while we can’t purchase it we could do an interlibrary loan if someone was interested in reading it.

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