Friday, May 29, 2009

Easily Confused Books 2

How many cities can you visit merely by scanning the spines of books? Let's see...

In Cassandra Clare's "Mortal Instruments" series, there are City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass. There is another City of Glass, a graphic novel by Paul Auster & co. Also, there is another City of Bones by mystery writer Michael Connelly. But wait: I'm not done with young adult fantasy yet. In Mary Hoffman's "Stravaganza" series, there are City of Masks, City of Stars, City of Flowers, City of Secrets. Jeanne DuPrau has given us The City of Ember. Isabel Allende has given us City of the Beasts. D. J. MacHale has given us The Lost City of Faar. There's a Tenth City by Patrick Carman. And of course, L. Frank Baum has bequeathed to us The Emerald City of Oz.

Sci-fi is no slouch, either. The City and the Stars and the Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clarke. The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card. Adult fantasy also takes its turn In the City of Dreams by Tony Abbott. And horror visits Frankenstein: City of Night by Dean Koontz and Ed Gorman. In other genres, the roll of impressive-sounding cities goes on. There is City of Thieves by David Benioff. The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin. City of the Sun by David Levien. City of Refuge by Tom Piazza. City of the Dead by Brian Keene. Another City of the Dead by Rosemary Jones. City of Pearl by Karen Traviss. City of God, City of Glory and City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling. City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre. City by Numbers by Stephen T. Johnson. City of Light by Lauren Belfer. The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers. In the City of Shy Hunters by Tom Spanbauer. City of Fire by Thomas Fitzsimmons. The City of Gold and Lead by John Christopher. City of Night by John Rechy. City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff Vandermeer.

Some nonfiction books have rather evocative names. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles by Mike Davis. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir by Nick Flynn. City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America by Donald L. Miller. The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens and Rome by Peter Connolly and Hazel Dodge. Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota by Chuck Klosterman. City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860 by Christine Stansell. The Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham. Michael Wolf: The Transparent City by Natasha Egan et al. Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir by Eddie Muller. Survival City: Adventures Among the Ruins of Atomic America by Tom Vanderbilt. Strip City: A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America by Lily Burana. Imprisoned in the Golden City: Adoniram and Ann Judson by Dave, Neta, and Julian Jackson. The City Game: Basketball from the Garden to the Playgrounds by Pete Axthelm and Rick Telander. Edge City: Life on the New Frontier by Joel Garreau. Cities of the Dead by Prof. Joseph Roach.

Some books are quite clear about what city they mean. Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes. Empire City: New York through the Centuries by Kenneth T. Jackson and David S. Dunbar. Palenque: Eternal City of the Maya by David & George Stuart. Cairo: The City Victorious by Max Rodenbeck. Istanbul: The Imperial City by John Freely. Pompeii: The Living City by Alex Butterworth and Ray Laurence. City of Darkness: Life In Kowloon City by Ian Lambot and Greg Girard.

Then there are titles that assume you know what city they are about. The Country and the City by Raymond Williams. The City & the City by China Mieville. The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. In a Strange City by Laura Lippman. Little People in the City by Slinkachu and Will Self. Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon. A Prayer for the City by Buzz Bissinger. Twilight in the Forbidden City by Reginald Fleming Johnston. Bad City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. A Walker in the City by Alfred Kazin. Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones. After the City by Lars Lerup. The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal.

Certain titles seem to describe cities we know. The Endless City by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic. Windy City by Scott Simon. Sin City, a graphic novel series by Frank Miller. Drop City by T. C. Boyle. Calumet City by Charlie Newton. Operation Storm City by Joshua Mowll & co. The whole Astro City series by Kurt Busiek et al. Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson. Dead City by Joe McKinney. Radio City by Bruce Eaton. Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason and Bernard Scudder. Wicked City by Ace Atkins. The Etched City by K. J. Bishop. Permutation City by Greg Egan. Fat City by Leonard Gardner. Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem. Mud City by Deborah Ellis. Lost City by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos.

Some titles conjure up multiple cities. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. Cities of Salt by Abdelrahman Munif. And ultimately, Book of Cities by Piero Ventura. Other titles focus on people or places within a city, such as Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg. City Boy by Herman Wouk. The Girl Who Owned a City by O. T. Nelson. Vamps and the City by Kerrelyn Sparks (a tribute to Sex and the City?). Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot. City Wolf by Tressie Lockwood. Super in the City by Daphne Uviller. And, of course, where would we be without The City of God by Augustine of Hippo? Related to that is Cities of God: The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conquered Rome by Rodney Stark.

I could go on at much, much greater length. These titles represent only the first 25 of over 90,000 pages of search results on Amazon; and I have already skipped over some of the less interesting titles. For more on "Easily Confused Books," click here.

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