Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Are Questions

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

Oh my… this is a tricky topic!

Book titles that are complete sentences? No problem. Book titles that are questions… there are not many that spring to mind. And those which do begin with the typical words – who, what, where, when, how… – tend to use them as relative pronouns rather than as questions such as Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans, How the One Armed Sister Cleans her House by Cherie Jones or Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. If only those verbs were switched to When Were We Orphans? or How Does The One-Armed Sister Clean Her House? or Why Am I No Longer Talking to White People About Race?


When Will There Be Good News? Kate Atkinson

This is a great one!

Jackson Brodie, an irascible private detective. Reggie, a gutsy and determined teenager. DCI Louise Monroe – returning from her previous encounter with Brodie. Devastating train accidents. Trauma. And dark – bitterly dark – comical coincidences.

The Jackson Brodie series are among my favourite literary (and they are so literary!) detective series!

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.



Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

My, it has been a long time since I read this! Back when I was studying A-levels!

I recall awkwardness, a claustrophobic intensity, breakdown and toxicity… all the things that would normally appeal to me in a drama!

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.

Who Let The Gods Out? Maz Evans

I’ve not read this one – although I was interested enough to buy a copy.

A silly and comic version of Percy Jackson? Greek Gods being silly? Sounds like it might be sheer fun!

When Elliot wishes upon a star, he doesn’t expect a constellation to crash into a dungheap on his family farm.

The star is Virgo. She thinks she’s perfect. Elliot doesn’t. And together they release Thanatos, evil Daemon of Death … epic fail.

They need the King of the Gods and his noble steed. Instead, they get a chubby Zeus and his high horse Pegasus.

Are the Gods really ready to save the world? And is the world really ready for the Gods?

Also, I fear it might irk me. Which is probably why I haven’t read it yet.


Why Read the Classics? Italo Calvino

Essays and books.

By an intelligent and witty writer and reader… Who could ask for more?

Why Read the Classics? is an elegant defence of the value of great literature by one of the finest authors of the last century. Beginning with an essay on the attributes that define a classic (number one – classics are those books that people always say they are ‘rereading’, not ‘reading’), this is an absorbing collection of Italo Calvino’s witty and passionate criticism.

Why Can’t Potatoes Walk? Lars-Åke Janzon

When it comes to animals and nature, there is no end to our curiosity. Around ten thousand questions a year land on Lars-Åke Janzon’s desk at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. In this sequel to the successful book How Long Can a Fly Fly?, Janzon responds to nutty questions, freak happenings, and odd observations with interesting facts and explanations. Learn about snake sex, animals’ brightly colored warning signals, and why a vulture was arrested in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of being an Israeli spy. Find out the facts behind the headlines about Thailand’s poisonous jellyfish and the “killer sharks” of Sharm el-Sheikh.

For over ten years, Janzon has been researching the answers to questions like:

• What color will a chameleon turn if it lies on a chessboard?
• Why are flounders flat?
• How do sea urchins make love?
• How did wolves become big and bad?
• Why do animals migrate across Africa?
• Which animal has the longest tongue?
• Do fish spit?


How Much of These Hills is Gold? C. Pam Zhang

This is a gorgeous novel!

But the title bothers me: grammatically it is a question; but it has no question mark! Some part of me prickles at that! But the novel itself is sublime.

America. In the twilight of the Gold Rush, two siblings cross a landscape with a gun in their hands and the body of their father on their backs

Ba dies in the night, Ma is already gone. Lucy and Sam, twelve and eleven, are suddenly alone and on the run. With their father’s body on their backs, they roam an unforgiving landscape dotted with giant buffalo bones and tiger paw prints, searching for a place to give him a proper burial.


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Phillip K Dick

The book that gave us Blade Runner.

World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn’t ‘retiring’ them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal – the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life.

Do Butlers Burgle Banks? P. G. Wodehouse

Nope, I’ve not read this one either but it sounded supremely silly and, well, Wodehousean!

Do Butlers Burgle Banks? (1968) features Mike Bond, the hitherto fortunate owner of Bond’s Bank, who finds himself in a spot of trouble so serious that he wants someone to burgle the bank before the trustees inspect it. Fortunately for him, Horace Appleby, currently posing as his butler, is on hand to oblige. For Horace is, in fact, not a butler at all but the best sort of American gangster, prudently concealing himself in an English country house while hiding from his rivals. Looking for peace and safety, Horace is to discover before long that the hot-spots of New York are a whole lot more restful than the English countryside. 


Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Judy Blume

I was advised to read this as my daughter approached her adolescence. It is fair to say it is not really my style of book and I think I found it a little… dated?

Life isn’t easy for Margaret. She’s moved away from her childhood home, she’s starting a new school, finding new friends – and she’s convinced she’s not normal. For a start she hasn’t got a clue whether she wants to be Jewish like her father or Christian like her mother. Everyone else seems really sure of who they are. And, worst of all, she’s a ‘late developer’. She just knows that all her friends are going to need a bra before she does. It’s too embarrassing to talk to her parents about these things. So she talks to God instead – and waits for an answer . . .

N or M? Agatha Christie

Well, this one messes up my plan to divide my list into whos, whats, whys etc!

And again it is a book I am aware of but have never actually read…

It is World War II, and while the RAF struggles to keep the Luftwaffe at bay, Britain faces an even more sinister threat from ‘the enemy within’ – Nazis posing as ordinary citizens.

With pressure mounting, the Intelligence service appoints two unlikely spies, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. Their mission: to seek out a man and a woman from among the colourful guests at Sans Souci, a seaside hotel. But this assignment is no stroll along the promenade. After all, N and M have just murdered Britain’s finest agent…

I suppose we might also have a go at answering the questions posed by these titles which might be…

  • When you least expect it.
  • Elliot, according to the blurb.
  • Because they are great!
  • Because they have no legs, d’uh!
  • Me.
  • Not that much, in all honesty.
  • No. They are not conscious. Or are they? Are you?
  • Never! It is unseemly. But they may get the gardener to do it.
  • Yes.
  • N.

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes

  • July 20: Books I Read In One Sitting (or would have if I had the time)
  • July 27: Books I’d Want With Me While Stranded On a Deserted Island
  • August 3: Titles or Covers That Made Want to Read/Buy the Book
  • August 10: Secondary/Minor Characters Who Deserve More Love
  • August 17: Favourite Places to Read
  • August 24: Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time
  • August 31: Fictional Crushes

22 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Are Questions”

  1. Great list! We have Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in common this week, but I’ve heard of a few others on your list too.
    My TTT


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.