Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

This week’s topic was submitted by Jessica @ A Cocoon of Books and it is a stoker – and so difficult!! A full and complete sentence – containing a main finite verb, yes I am a grammar nerd! – is rarely used as a title. They are too long perhaps. They lack the pithiness of single word titles. They do not propel a character to the forefront like an eponymous title. This took a trawl of my Calibre library and – as usual – I am limiting myself to books I have actually read or are on my TBR. This is what I came up with.

Declarative Sentences

Mrs Death Misses Death, Salena Godden

Okay. I confess.

The pun – puns – in the title were absolutely the reason I picked this one up off the shelves in Waterstones.

However, the contents sound great too:

Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen.

No One Is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood

This is on my TBR because of its place in The Women’s Prize Long- and Shortlist.

A woman known for her viral social media posts travels the world speaking to her adoring fans, her entire existence overwhelmed by the internet – or what she terms ‘the portal’. Are we in hell? the people of the portal ask themselves. Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?

Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: ‘Something has gone wrong,’ and ‘How soon can you get here?’ As real life and its stakes collide with the increasing absurdity of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary.

Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, Tishani Doshi

And a little bit of poetry – I do like to slip in some poetry from time to time, even though I rarely know how to review them…

Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods is Tishani Doshi’s third book of poems, following two earlier, highly praised collections, Everything Begins Elsewhere, published by Bloodaxe in 2012, and her debut, Countries of the Body, winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Tishani Doshi has been shortisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods and for her accompanying dance performance of the title poem.

Death Can’t Take a Joke, Anya Lipska

When masked men brutally stab one of his closest friends to death, Janusz Kiszka – fixer to East London’s Poles – must dig deep into London’s criminal underbelly to track down the killers and deliver justice.

Shadowing a beautiful Ukrainian girl he believes could solve the mystery, Kiszka soon finds himself skating dangerously close to her ruthless ‘businessman’ boyfriend. Meanwhile, his old nemesis, rookie police detective Natalie Kershaw is struggling to identify a mystery suicide, a Pole who jumped off the top of Canary Wharf Tower. But all is not what it seems…

Water Shall Refuse Them, Lucie McKnight Hardy

A colleague has raved about this book for so long! The only thing keeping it on the TBR list rather than in my hands is that she has also raved about some real duds!!!

The heatwave of 1976.

Following the accidental drowning of her sister, sixteen-year-old Nif and her family move to a small village on the Welsh borders to escape their grief. But rural seclusion doesnt bring any relief. As her family unravels, Nif begins to put together her own form of witchcraft collecting talismans from the sun-starved land. That is, until she meets Mally, a teen boy who takes a keen interest in her, and has his own secret rites to divulge. 

A Girl Is A Body of Water, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

In her twelfth year, Kirabo, a young Ugandan girl, confronts a piercing question that has haunted her childhood: who is my mother? Kirabo has been raised by women in the small village of Nattetta – her grandmother, her best friend, and her many aunts – but the absence of her mother follows her like a shadow. Complicating these feelings of abandonment, as Kirabo comes of age she feels the emergence of a mysterious second self, a headstrong and confusing force inside her at odds with her sweet and obedient nature.

White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi

Finally! An entry I have read and reviewed! A link I can make! And, also a wonderful gothic novel with a genuinely creepy house!

High on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the loss of Lily, mother of twins Eliot and Miranda, and beloved wife of Luc. Miranda misses her with particular intensity. Their mazy, capricious house belonged to her mother’s ancestors, and to Miranda, newly attuned to spirits, newly hungry for chalk, it seems they have never left. Forcing apples to grow in winter, revealing and concealing secret floors, the house is fiercely possessive of young Miranda . . .

Here Is the Beehive, Sarah Crossan

This has such a striking cover, it has appeared on a number of my TTTs, and nearly came onto last week’s with the Nature. But it is also a title which is a sentence!

And another verse novel from Crossan.

For three years, Ana has been consumed by an affair with Connor, a client at her law firm. Their love has been consigned to hotel rooms and dark corners of pubs, keeping their relationship hidden from the world.

So the morning that Ana’s company receives a call to say that Connor is dead, her secret grief has nowhere to go. Desperate for an outlet, Ana seeks out the shadowy figure who has always stood just beyond her reach – Connor’s wife Rebecca.

Cinderella is Dead, Kalynn Bayron

This is one I really must get around to reading…

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

He Started It, Samantha Downing

This is one of those books I forgot I bought… until it pops up on one of these themes! Dark and twisty thriller… sounds great!

No-one knows you better than your family.

They know the little things that make you smile.

They know your darkest secrets.

Sure, you haven’t always been best friends. But if it seemed as though someone was after you, that you might be in danger, then you’d be on each other’s side . . .


The Mountains Sing, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Ha Noi, 1972. As war breaks out in Viet Nam, twelve-year-old Hương clings to her grandmother in an improvised shelter as American bombs fall around them. For her grandmother, the experience is horribly familiar. This is a woman who knows what it takes to hold a family together as a country crumbles. And now, coming of age in a nation rocked by conflict, Hương must do the same.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I mean, just look at that title – and that cover. Why have I not ot around to reading this yet?

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When they meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the two loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special kind of friendship–the kind of friendship that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through their friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves–and about the kind of people they want to be.

Elizabeth is Missing, Emma Healey

Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable – or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.

But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.

Interrogatory Sentences

When Will There Be Good News? Kate Atkinson

I will always look for opportunities to tout Kate Atkinson’s novels, and I love her Jackson Brodie series. And this novel – number three – is the best of them, possibly because of Reggie.

In a quiet corner of rural Devon, a six-year-old girl witnesses an appalling crime. Thirty years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison.

In Edinburgh, sixteen-year-old Reggie, wise beyond her years, works as a nanny for a G.P. But her employer has disappeared with her baby, and Reggie seems to be the only person who is worried. Across town, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is also looking for a missing person, unaware that hurtling towards her is a former acquaintance – Jackson Brodie – himself on a journey that becomes fatally interrupted.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Phillip K. Dick

A quick inevitable cult classic – I mean, this is the novel that became Blade Runner!

It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill.
Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard’s assignment–find them and then…”retire” them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn’t want to be found!

I hadn’t remembered that it was set in 2021… which now dates it terrible!

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? Edward Albee

And another classic… I remember a school production of this with warm feelings that have little to do with the quality of the acting (poor) or production (pedestrian)!

When middle-aged Martha and her husband George are joined by the younger Nick and Honey for late-night drinks after a party, the stage is set for a night of drunken recriminations and revelations. Battle-lines are drawn as Martha and George drag their guests into their own private hell of a marriage.

Imperative Sentences

Run, Rebel, Manjeet Mann

This one is on the Carnegie Medal shortlist, and friends who have read it are praising it highly! Next on my list perhaps.

When Amber runs, it’s the only time she feels completely free – far away from her claustrophobic home life. Her father wants her to be a dutiful daughter, waiting for an arranged marriage like her sister Ruby.

Running is a quiet rebellion. But Amber wants so much more – and she’s ready to fight for it.

It’s time for a revolution.

Detransition, Baby, Torrey Peters

This title is more of a pun, to be honest, than a genuine instruction to anyone to detransition, but it still sort of fits the criteria – it at least is capable of fitting the criteria – grammatically.

I am finding it a challenging read though and keep putting it to one side…

Reese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn’t hate. She’d scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child. Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued. After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina. Now Katrina’s pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family – and raise the baby together?

Take Nothing With You, Patrick Gale

Another gorgeous cover and, whilst I remember loving Patrick Gale’s other books, this remains on that TBR list… despite having spent some time in Weston-Super-Mare adn being a child of the 1970s myself.

1970s Weston-Super-Mare and ten-year-old oddball Eustace, an only child, has life transformed by his mother’s quixotic decision to sign him up for cello lessons. Music-making brings release for a boy who is discovering he is an emotional volcano. He laps up lessons from his young teacher, not noticing how her brand of glamour is casting a damaging spell over his frustrated and controlling mother.

When he is enrolled in holiday courses in the Scottish borders, lessons in love, rejection and humility are added to daily practice.

Bring Up The Bodies, Hilary Mantel

Like kate Atkinson, I will always champion Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy so it is on this one that I shall bring the list to an end – the cry given to summon the prisoners from the Tower of London to be executed…

By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith’s son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church.

In Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn. This new novel is an audacious vision of Tudor England that sheds its light on the modern world.

So, a few more than the required ten have found it here, representing a range of genres and topics! Please do drop me a comment if you drop by and let me know if you have read any of these, and what your recommendations are!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Topics

  • May 25: Book Quotes that Fit X Theme (Pick any theme you want, i.e., motivational quotes, romantic dialogues, hunger-inducing quotes, quotes that fill you with hope, quotes on defeating adversity, quotes that present strong emotions, healing, etc. and then select quotes from books that fit that theme.)
  • June 1: Freebie (choose any past topic, or come up with you own)
  • June 8: Books I Loved that Made Me Want More Books Like Them (The wording is weird here, so if you have a better way to say this please let me know! What I’m thinking is… you read a book and immediately wanted more just like it, perhaps in the same genre, about the same topic or theme, by the same author, etc. For example, I once read a medical romance and then went to find more because it was so good. The same thing happened to me with pirate historical romances and romantic suspense.)
  • June 15: Books On My Summer 2021 TBR (or winter, if you live in the southern hemisphere)
  • June 22: Bookish Wishes (My birthday is today, so celebrate with me by granting the wishes of your friends! This is a popular thing to do on Twitter, but today we’re blog hopping. List the top 10 books you’d love to own and include a link to a wishlist so that people can grant your wish. Make sure you link your wishlist to your mailing address [here’s how to do it on Amazon] or include the email address associated with your ereader so people know how to get the book to you. After you post, jump around the Linky and grant a wish or two if you’d like. Don’t feel obligated!)
  • June 29: Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2021
  • July 6: Reasons Why I Love Reading

25 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences”

  1. Great list! I have The Mountains Sing on my list too and I previously added No One is Talking About This to my TBR based on the title alone!

    Here’s my TTT post in which I couldn’t help going into grammar nerd mode to talk about sentence structure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your picks! White is for Witching and Elizabeth is Missing sound good and Cinderella is Dead and He Started It are on my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

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