Arts, Books


Favourite art title

Ally Fowler 

Joseph Beuys’ ‘I Like America and America Likes Me’, is a title imbued with tongue-in-cheek confidence and cynicism. The German artist flew to New York and entered a room containing a coyote for three days. Initially, it tried to attack him, but by the end of the three days, it had become relatively friendly. The title reflects fabricated amiability towards foreigners in its naïve simplicity, but it later presents a mutual acceptance, just as Beuys experienced with the coyote.

Favourite art title 

Lewis Oxley

When it comes to the title of a piece of work, the most simple ones often prove most effective and apt for what is being depicted, rather than the use of grand titles that alluded to philosophical oblique themes of previous centuries. One such example of this is L.S Lowry’s ‘Going to the Match’ (1928). It simply reflects what it depicts: the joys of attending a football match in the football capital of the Northwest, while reflecting the spectacle of anticipation that the event brings. The title reflects the simple pleasures of working classes at play. It doesn’t pretend to be a title with a hidden meaning, but a sign of the ordinariness of life.

Best blurb

Nerisse Appleby

My favourite blurb is the one belonging to ‘The Book Thief’. It’s written in a peculiar and unique way: as a message to the reader, starting with ‘here is a small fact – you are going to die.’ For a novel narrated by death itself, this is the perfect way to entice people to pick up the book, which promises us much action surrounding a girl, fantastical Germans and a lot of thievery. The blurb stays true to the story and encapsulates the tone perfectly. After all: ‘Death will visit the Book Thief three times.’ Intriguing.

Favourite book title 

Lewis Oxley 

As the title of one of the greatest depictions of consciousness in European literature, Dostoyevsky’s ‘Notes from Underground’ gave me great intrigue in the effects of bitterness and isolation within our stream of consciousness. Implying that there was something hidden Underground, for me, it became something of an enigma. The title, ‘Notes from Underground’ is an apt description of the philosophical enquiry that the narrator takes on: nihilism in the form of  the Underground man. 

Favourite book title

Fin Little

‘Do Androids dream of electric sheep?’

Who titles their books with a question? Especially an answerless question. It tells a reader “this will all come together after you’ve read the book” and “You’ll be one of the few readers to understand.” But when it comes to Philip K Dicks sci-fi novel, the question just keeps flying around my mind. Like the book, it could be answered with philosophy, civil rights, technology, spirituality but at the same time it can’t be answered at all. Do we focus on androids or dreams or electric sheep? 

Favourite book title

Molly Philips 

Is Frankenstein or his creature the monster? The title ‘Frankenstein’, explicitly excludes the fact that the creature exists at all; forgotten entirely behind the scientist’s ego. But it also makes Victor the titular hero. Conversely, the book’s subtitle, ‘The Modern Prometheus’ makes him a giver of fire and life, punished by the gods for a rebellious act: a Romantic hero. While Frankenstein gets two names, his creature is left with none. The genius title of Mary Shelley’s novel contributes to, and epitomises some of the book’s biggest questions.

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January 2022
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