While sometimes, the title of a book can be a stylistic flourish or representative of overarching themes, other times, it can be something wholly simpler.
Previously, we've run through the occasions when movie characters mention the title in a line of, often smugly delivered, dialogue. But when it happens in books it's often less obvious and sometimes rather beautiful.
Here are 30 prime examples. Let us know at the bottom if you have any others.
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind."
Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami
"Once the plane was on the ground, soft music began to flow from the ceiling speakers: a sweet orchestral cover version of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood". The melody never failed to send a shudder through me, but this time it hit me harder than ever."
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë
"Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff’s dwelling. ‘Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather"
Breakfast At Tiffany's - Truman Capote
"I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Tiffany's."
All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque
“He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. "
The Tempest - William Shakespeare
"Hast thou, spirit,
Perform'd to point the tempest that I bade thee?"
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
"I sank back in the gray, plush seat and closed my eyes. The air of the bell jar wadded round me and I couldn't stir."
The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett
"Well, Wilmer, I'm sorry indeed to lose you, and I want you to know that I couldn't be any fonder of you if you were my own son; but--well, by Gad!--if you lose a son it's possible to get another--and there's only one Maltese falcon."
I Am Legend - Richard Matheson
"[I am] a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend."
The Lord of the Flies - William Golding
"The Lord of the Flies spoke with the voice of a school master"
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
"He started the engine and drove carefully away, down to the turn at the base of Revolutionary Hill and on up the winding blacktop grade of Revolutionary Road"
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
“...and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
The Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris
"Additional mounds beneath the covers may or may not be Noble Pilcher, it is impossible to determine in the ambient light. But the face on the pillow, rosy in the firelight, is certainly that of Clarice Starling, and she sleeps deeply, sweetly, in the silence of the lambs."
The Time Machine - HG Wells
"‘Would you like to see the Time Machine itself?’ asked the Time Traveller"
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
"The brown current ran swiftly out of the heart of darkness, bearing us down towards the sea with twice the speed of our upward progress; and Kurtz's life was running swiftly, too, ebbing, ebbing out of his heart into the sea of inexorable time."
The Green Mile - Stephen King
"The wide corridor up the center of E Block was floored with linoleum the color of tired old limes, and so what was called the Last Mile at other prisons was called the Green Mile at Cold Mountain"
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
"I didn't used to listen properly to the words; I just waited for that bit that went: 'Baby, baby, never let me go. . . .' And what I'd imagined was a woman who'd been told she couldn't have babies, who'd really, really wanted them all her life."
Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak
"Where are the comrade’s work papers? Ah, here are your documents. May I just have a glance ... Zhivago ... Zhivago ... Doctor Zhivago ... Moscow ... How about going to my place for a moment?"
The Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens
"The Pickwick papers are our New River Head; and we may be compared to the New River Company. The labours of others have raised for us an immense reservoir of important facts."
Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
"It is impossible to conceive of a human creature more wholly desolate and forlorn than Eliza, when she turned her footsteps from Uncle Tom's cabin."
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
"The nurses gave us meds to alleviate our tingling skins. And more meds to soothe our burning brains. We were body searched twice weekly for any sharp objects, and sat in groups together purging ourselves, theoretically, of anger and self-hatred."
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
"He didn't want any conversation at this point. What he needed to do was review all he had learned over the years, because the alchemist would certainly put him to the test."
The Quiet American - Graham Greene
"Fowler notes that Pyle wants to reform and redeem "the entire universe" if he could. Yet he is a "quiet American," not the obnoxious pushy kind of person that is often the stereotype of Americans in foreign countries."
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
"His voice faltered. “O brave new world,” he began, then-suddenly interrupted himself; the blood had left his cheeks; he was as pale as paper."
Brighton Rock - Graham Greene
"With immense labour and immense patience they extricated from the long day the grain of pleasure: this sun; this
music, the rattle of the miniature cars, the ghost train diving between the grinning skeletons under the Aquarium
promenade, the sticks of Brighton rock, the paper sailors’ caps."
Brokeback Mountain - Annie Proulx
"The summer range lay above the tree line on Forest Service land on Brokeback Mountain. It would be Jack Twist’s second summer on the mountain, Ennis’s ﬁrst. Neither of them was twenty."
Atonement - Ian McEwan
"Together, the note to her parents and the formal statement would take no time at all. Then she would be free for the rest of the day. She knew what was required of her. Not simply a letter, but a new draft, an atonement, and she was ready to begin."
An Ideal Husband - Oscar Wilde
"And if you don’t make this young lady an ideal husband, I’ll cut you off with a shilling."
Thunderball - Ian Fleming
"Every intelligence man all over the world who's on our side is being put on to this operation---Operation Thunderball they're calling it."