Super Vague Book Titles

After the first day of school each August, I can remember my students’ first names.   I teach 80-plus students annually;  twentyish in each block, rotated to a different teacher after 75 minutes. While students play an icebreaker the last 20 minutes on day one, I match their names to their faces–one minute per student to master his/her name.  

Why can I remember their names after one day and not the title of the book I’m reading?  

Possible reasons include:   

  • Books, books, books.
  • I’m getting older.
  • Fibro fog.  
  • Mommy brain.
  • Eleven years worth of student names.
  • Song lyrics.
  • Matching said song lyrics to student literature for future thematic, symbolic, or imagery lessons.  
  • Passwords containing random capitalized letters and symbols–switched every three months for online security.  
  • Reading via my Kindle,  making the casual front cover flip, necessary for a perfunctory title and artwork visual connection, obsolete.    
  • Super vague book title (SVBT) popularity.

The last bullet slays my overwhelmed brain.  I’ve read these SVBTs since November:   

I Let You Go

What She Knew

It Was Me All Along

Here’s to Us

This Is How It Always Is


It Ends With Us

Where. Are. The. Nouns? Why are there so many tiny words right next to one another that all sound the same (see what I did there)?  If you can’t throw me a noun, could you toss me a verb my students wouldn’t confuse with a preposition or a conjunction?  

My two favorites from the list are It Was Me All Along and This Is How It Always Is, but if I wanted to recommend them to friends or colleagues,  their names would elude me. Even after typing both titles, I jumble the two names in my mind:  This Is How It Was All Along Always.  

One, a memoir, chronicles a young woman’s steady weight gain, her subsequent weight loss, and the emotional and physical aftermath.  The second narrates the story of a family who leaves their life in Wisconsin and moves to Washington, hoping to give their transgendered youngest child a fresh start in, what they hope is, a more tolerant environment.   The two books cover different topics, so why are their titles interchangeable?  

I would never confuse The Handmaid’s Tale with Running with Scissors.  Middlesex with Eat, Pray, Love.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with I am Malala.

This title purist fancies conventional book naming methods, the memorable kind, to this fashionable trend.   


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