Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Easily Confused Books 1

I've been noticing a number of books whose titles tend to get confused in the jumble at the back of one's brain. Starting with today's theme of "Thieves in Book Titles," I'm going to throw out a few examples of bunches of books that are increasingly hard to tell apart. The following is by no means an exhaustive list!

First, there is The Thief, pure and simple, by Megan Whalen Turner; but there is also, just as simply, Thief by Brian Winter. Then, with emphasis, comes The Real Thief by William Steig, The Second Thief by Travis Thrasher, Lady Thief by Kay Hooper, The Professional Thief by A Professional Thief, and The Holy Thief by Mark Borovitz and Alan Eisenstock. Topping them all is The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, though he may be related to The Thief Queen's Daughter by Elizabeth Haydon.

Some of these thieves make competing claims: The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti, plus The Good Thief by James Buchanan, and a book of poems titled The Good Thief by Marie Howe.

Most book-title thieves, however, are rather specialized in their larceny. Consider The Art Thief by Noah Charney, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, The Map Thief by Heather Terrell, The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, and another The Orchid Thief by Carolyn Keene.

Some thieves specialize in stealing intangibles, like The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas, The Dream Thief by Shana Abe, Storm Thief by Chris Wooding, The Tear Thief by Carol Ann Duffy, Sleep Thief by Virginia N. Wilson et al., The Water Thief by Ben Pastor, and Diary of an Oxygen Thief by Anonymous.

It seems a lot of time is being stolen these days. There is Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett, but also A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman, The Thief of Time by John Boyne, The Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer, and (for good measure) The Thief of Always by Clive Barker. Some book-title thieves seem to specialize in particular points in time, such as The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, The Thanksgiving Thief by Carolyn Keene, and Thief in the Night by William Sears (one of several authors of a book with this or a similar title).

Sometimes you can sense a progression from one thief to another. For example, there are The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, The Fire Thief by Terry Deary, The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe. Then there are The Thief of Lives by Barb and J. C. Hendee, The Thief of Souls by Ann Benson, another Thief of Souls by Neal Shusterman, The Soul Thief by Cecilia Holland, another The Soul Thief by Charles Baxter, Thief of Hearts by Teresa Medeiros, and The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice.

Some literary thieves will snatch the butter right off your bread, if you let them. Take The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland, The Honey Thief by Elizabeth Graver, Mysterious Cheese Thief by Geronimo Stilton, Grape Thief by Kristine L. Franklin, The Cupcake Thief by Ellen Jackson, and The Snack Thief by Andrea Camilleri and Stephen Sartarelli.

Other thieves seem to be carrying off people, such as The Bride Thief by Jacquie D'Alessandro, The Baby Thief by Barbara Bisantz Raymond, The Jesus Thief by J. R. Lankford, and in an obviously related category The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood.

There are even thieves, it seems, stealing hard-to-move items, such as The Barracks Thief by Tobias Wolff, The Palace Thief by Ethan Canin, and Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell. And if this isn't talent enough, consider The Thief with No Shadow by Emily Gee and Demon Thief by Darren Shan.

Some thieves work together with members of other professions. Take The Cowboy and the Thief by Mychael Black and Shayne Carmichael, The Joker and the Thief by Raymond Obstfeld, The Merchant and the Thief by Ravi K. Zacharias, The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz, Beggerman, Thief by Irwin Shaw, and The Dancer and the Thief by Antonio Skarmeta and Katherine Silver.

And some books give away the location of their titular thief, such as The Thief in the Theater by Sarah Masters Buckey and The Thief and the Beanstalk by P. W. Catanese. It's a wonder these guys aren't caught.

I'm going to pass on many, many other thief-related titles, such as The Thief Taker, It Takes a Thief, Once a Thief, The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep, I Come As a Thief, To Love a Thief, and several different books titled To Catch a Thief; plus tons of thief-related books whose titles also include the name of a character or place. This is just a taster. And it's pretty amazing, isn't it!

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