Jan 18th 2011 By Danny Gallagher
Any avid reader (both of us) will tell you that books are long. Sometimes you get all the way to the end of one only to realize you didn't even like it! Wouldn't it be great if you could tell from the title if a book is worth the effort?
Comedian, writer and reader Dan Wilbur
first got that feeling when he heard about Caleb Carr's "The Alienist," which follows NYC police commissioner and future president Theodore Roosevelt as he tracks a transsexual-prostitute-murdering serial killer
"I hated it for no other reason than the title annoyed me," he said in an online chat. "I would have read it the day this girl told me about it, had she told me anything about the plot."
The bizarre crime novel inspired him to rewrite the title of the book for his popular literary humor site "Better Book Titles,"
which takes popular novels and books and gives them titles that can save you time by letting you know upfront what you're in for.
The site quickly went viral and now Wilbur finds himself fielding submissions for everything from great works like Fyodor Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"
(renamed "Rent Is Too Damn High") and Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis"
(renamed "A Bug's Life") to less highbrow fare like Chuck Klosterman's "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs"
(renamed "Everyone Is a F**king D*ck Except Me") and Glenn Beck's "Broke"
(renamed "$32 Million Isn't Nearly Enough for Me to Stop the Socialists! Please Send More!").
Wilbur said no book is unworthy of being satirized, even his personal favorites that he's yet to get to, like Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day."
Some might see the abbreviated suggestions as potential spoilers for people who haven't read the book, but Wilbur said he hopes that getting a laugh from giving shortened titles will actually make people want to read more books whether they are titled "The Grapes of Wrath" or "F**k tha Police."
(You'll have to read it to figure out what it's so hilarious.)
"If there's anything I'd like to see more of," Wilbur said, "it's people reading as much as possible." Check out a few of our favorites from the site below.
Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn":
Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States":
Strunk and White's "Elements of Style":
Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are":