This week’s topic is actually a really tricky one and I wracked my brain for ages to try and come up with suitable examples. I’m not 100% sure these fit exactly, but it’s the best I can do so you get what you get haha!
Most of these choices are books I read when I was much younger but remain solid favourites to this day despite their titles not exactly reliably suiting their subjects i.e. they don’t describe the book much at all…
1. Watership Down by Richard Adams
This book does rather sound like it should be about actual ships and those ships sinking instead of being about bunnies! Actually, that is an oversimplification because this book has many themes and people have analysed and critiqued it for years as being more of an allegory for communism and Christianity (though the family of the author maintains it is just a novel about rabbits!) It’s a great book nonetheless, even though the title is rather misleading. The film is also great (but bloody terrifying!)
2. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
This book quite obviously sounds like it is a book without an ending. Spoiler warning: it actually does in fact have a distinct ending! Shocking, I know! I actually first became aware of this book due to the film of the same name and sought it out after watching it as a child. I remember it being a great story even though it promises something in the title it actually cannot deliver.
3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
A novel about bird-watching, perchance? Nah, not quite. This book couldn’t be further from that given it’s a story about a group of people in a mental institution and what happens to them when someone comes in who upsets the status quo. It has a lot of heavy themes which belies the almost whimsical-sounding title. The film is incredibly hard-hitting too.
4. Animal Farm by George Orwell
This sounds like it should be a book about farmyard animals; a children’s book perhaps. Instead, it’s a allegorical book about communism and is considered an important treatise on the subject. Heavy stuff for a book about animals, eh? The fact that there is an animated film also probably accounts for a lot of the misapprehension that this book is a simple children’s story (even though it is a propaganda film – not remotely aimed at children).
5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Nope, this isn’t a guide to hunting those pesky mockingbirds, even though you could be forgiven for thinking so (though I wouldn’t think there are many people who don’t know about To Kill A Mockingbird, only one of the most famous novels of the twentieth century). Instead it is a book about racism and small-town life in America. It is a classic for a good reason and the movie only made it even more beloved (Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch – be still, my heart). Hmm, just realised all of my choices also have movie adaptations… 🤔