Monday, 8 March 2010

A shortlist of book titles

Many thanks for all the humorous, insightful and occasionally insane suggestions for a book title. I've come up with a rough list of my favourites, but I'm still having trouble deciding. I also appreciated the comments regarding the subtitle, so I'm wondering now whether "fragments" or "intersection" might be a better metaphor than "improvisation", especially if the latter sounds awkward and pretentious. Anyway, here's the shortlist (a mix of proposed titles and subtitles) – which do you like best?

  • Transpositions: Improvising Theology and Culture
  • Drawing in the Dust: Sketches in Theology and Culture
  • Improvised Fragments: Explorations in Theology and Culture
  • Loopaper: Theological Reflections on Culture You Can Recycle (not sure how this would sell, but it's a damn good title)
  • Post It: Notes on Theology and Culture
  • On the Stage of the Everyday: Improvisations in Theology and Culture
  • Texts at the Intersection: Fragments in Theology and Culture (with a cover photo of someone texting at a busy intersection)
  • Secular Parables: Fragments in Theology and Culture
  • I also liked the subtitle "Intersecting Theology and Culture"

53 Comments:

Mike Wilson said...

Quite like the second one: 'Drawing in the Dust: Sketches in Theology and Culture'.

I would buy that book. I think the imagery of the dust links the subject matter with the everyday of culture.

Anonymous said...

I second 'Drawing in the Dust: Sketches in Theology and Culture' quite simply because it sounds best!

arthurandtamie said...

Anything that doesn't sound highfalutin! :)

I'm voting for
- Drawing in the Dust
- Loopaper
- Post It

Other things on the same tack could be 'snippets', 'bits and pieces', 'odds and ends'...

Cheers

Arthur

Myk Habets said...

I like the second one too actually - Drawing in the Dust...

Robert Minto said...

I like "Transpositions." I would buy that book.

Anonymous said...

LOOPAPER!

It will definately sell.

TJ

Patrik said...

I like drawing in the dust.

Post it is a trademark isn't it?

Terry Wright said...

Any of the top four, with #2 and #4 my favourites.

Jonathan said...

*Anything* with the word "texts" in it sounds pretentious.

But since I quite like the slightly awkward "Improvised Fragments: Explorations in Theology and Culture" what do I know? :)

The "loopaper" option reworded to my liking:

"Loopaper: Recyclable Theological Reflections on Culture"

or, using my preferred slang:

"Bogroll: Recyclable Theological Reflections on Culture"

Ben Myers said...

Yeah Patrik, my wife just pointed out the same thing: "Post-It" is a trademark, so that one's definitely off the list.

Kampen said...

Drawing in the Dust sounds like your ripping off Rowan William's book Writings in the Dust.
"Drawing in the Sand"? Jesus drew in the sand.

I like "Post It: Notes on Theology & Culture" too.

wsvanderlugt said...

I think the keeping 'improvisation' or 'improvising' in the subtitle is quite effective.

'Transpositions' fits nicely into that metaphor because it implies a back and forth improvisatory conversation between theology and culture.

Anonymous said...

Bogroll is a nice pun on blogroll. But I don't know how it will sell.

I like drawing in the dust.

byron smith said...

I'm with Kampen, Drawing in the Dust is too close to Williams. While Loopaper is fun, remember that kind of title will stay on your CV and be endlessly recycled when you least expect it...

Ben Myers said...

If Drawing in the Dust is too close to Williams, would either of these work? (They don't really have the same effectiveness though.)

Writing in the Sand: Sketches in Theology and Culture
Drawing in the Sand: Sketches in Theology and Culture

Steve said...

Looks like we've lost the alliteration. How about:

Outlines in the Sand: Sketches in Theology and Culture
Plans Inscribed in Dust: Sketches in Theology and Culture
Designs in the Dust: Sketches in Theology and Culture

myleswerntz said...

I'm voting for the Barthian allusion: Secular Parables.

Although, I still think "Between Glitter and Doom" was pretty nice...

Tyler Wittman said...

Scribbling in the sand

drawing in the sand

writing in the sand

I like all of those, sounds appropriate to the nature of cultural interaction.

cynthia r. nielsen said...

#3--a title with Fragments and Improvising is very sexy.

Justin Ireland said...

I like:

Texts at the Intersection of Theology and Culture

(with a cover photo of someone texting at a busy intersection)

Justin

Brad said...

I vote for "Texts at the Intersection," but NOT with someone texting at an intersection. The metaphor seems fuller and less cheaply direct than that.

Halden said...

As the one who will likely be copyediting this volume, I just suggest avoiding anything involving "improvisation" or "transposition." I think these terms are just over-used in certain theological circles.

Fragments is ok, but that one's pretty popular as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm liking the ...in the sand/dust campaign. Anyone suggested Graffiti?

myleswerntz said...

I'm with Halden: improvisation is overused in titles.

R.O. Flyer said...

I like Secular Parables, but I guess I wonder if it would actually make any sense considering what the book's about (which I haven't read!). I like "sketches" and "fragments" better than intersections and improvisation.

As far as the "drawing in the dust" thing goes--yeah, it sounds like Williams' title, but who really cares? After all, I assume you'll be riffing on Williams in the book anyway!

Exiled Preacher said...

"Etched in the Sand: Explorations in Theology and Culture"

J said...

Walkin' in the Sand--
with JC's Hand in hand

Kampen said...

You can't really etch something in sand...etching suggests permanence, as much as I like the word etching and that it reminds me of the "etch-a-sketch" (unfortunately also a trademark)days. Anyway, I'm updating my vote to:

Drawing in the Sand: Inquiries in Theology and Culture

or

Drawing in the Sand: Sketches in Theology and Culture

Fat said...

Like Sand through the Hourglass...

oh that's been done too.


How about:

Standing on the Corner: Observations at the Intersection of Theology and Culture.

roger flyer said...

I suggest waiting for the muse. I don't think the title is there yet. Ask your editor, too.

Ben Myers said...

Yeah Roger, at the moment I'm only feeling more uncertain! "Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?" I loved Drawing in the Dust, but I don't want it to sound like a rip-off. So these two are probably my current favourites:

Drawing in the Sand: Sketches in Theology and Culture
Secular Parables: Sketches in Theology and Culture

Anonymous said...

Improvised Fragments
or
Secular Parables

I like the word "Fragments" because it reminds me of the various Kierkegaardian titles.

roger flyer said...

Mmmmm...Ben maybe you stumbled round an idea.
The Wasteland

Myk Habets said...

Don't worry if it is close to Rowan's title - it isn't a rip-off and it has a really nice biblical allusion to it which works well with the sub-title. My vote is go with Drawing in the Dust - Rowan wouldn't mind.

Kampen said...

You could write to Rowan Williams and see what he thinks.

Is it important for you that your title is generated within your blogging community?

Ben Myers said...

Hi Kampen — I don't think I've attached a special significance to letting other people generate the title. It's just that I'll never be able to think of a good one myself! But maybe Myk is right — maybe I could still get away with "Drawing in the Dust".

Of course, anyone who knows Rowan Wms's book will know that the metaphor of "dust" is completely different in his case, i.e., the dust in NYC after the Twin Towers fell. Would that kind of specificity be an argument for the dissimilarity of "Drawing in the Dust"...?

Anonymous said...

Drawing in the Sand reminds me of that 'footprints in the sand' story, which gives it a mawkish overlay. If you want to keep the alliteration, which helps with the catchiness, here are some options:

Drawing in the Dirt
Drawing in the Dross
Drawing in the Dark

etc...

-kshaw

Kampen said...

Ben, I really like the title "Drawing in the Dust: Sketches in Theology and Culture" and Rowan certainly wouldn't mind. The question is, what will the majority of your (potential) readers think? Will the connection to Rowan's book be common? and will that be a positive or a negative or neutral thing? (And does that matter to you?)

in said...

Have a lend of yourself - Sketches by Skippy or Unity through Schism or if you want to attract our new age relatives - It's all bollocks, but why?

Peter said...

Who are you trying to get to buy the book? Where will it be marketed? Lots of cool ideas but your potential audience makes a huge difference. Is it an attempt to break into the so called popular Christian market with something a bit more meaty. Is it trying to get into the general populous, the public square? The title should grab your potential readers attention...

J said...

Maybe somethin' real, like "Life with the Theo-Mafia", with some hardboiled adventures, solicitations, priestly kix down-under, etc. Hot Canberra nites, brutthrrs

:).

Fat said...

Up Pericope: Rippling the surface of Theology and Culture

Tyler Wittman said...

Peeing in the Snow: Marking out Theology's Territory in Culture

saint Egregious said...

Ether Ore: Theology Mining Culture in the Internet Age

tortoise said...

Hoarse Men of the Apocalypse: Doing Theology and Culture Before It's Too Late.

joel mason said...

I personally vote for "Secular Parables." would there be secular parables in the book?

I also quite liked "Drawing in the Dark"

joel

Anonymous said...

can't resist this one for the 'sexy' title you requested: 'Sex at the Intertextion'

Anonymous said...

I vote for Fat's two suggestions: he has some sense of humour. And a witty book title is better than boring!

T. Webb said...

I suggest dropping the colon and just giving the book one name. Recent scholarly books are almost pretentious in refusing to give a book a single name, in my opinion. Just call it "Improvising Theology & Culture".

Mon said...

Hi Ben,
I don't know much about book titles and copyright, but there already is a novel called simply "Drawing in the Dust" - http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Dust-Zoe-Klein/dp/1416599126

Mon said...

How about - Depictions in the Dust: Sketches in Theology and Culture.

tortoise said...

There's also the option of dropping the definite article. "Drawing in Dust" works *almost* as well.

Or Doodling/Doodles instead of Drawing? Maybe not.

roger flyer said...

Dust to Dust: Where theology and culture merge. ;)

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