The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (and other great titles)

So, in my neighborhood, there’s a train track and a road that both curve in such a way that they cross each other twice. Here, I’ll draw a picture of it to show you what I mean (that’s the track on top, the road on the bottom):

Now, I ask you to consider, for a moment, the implications of this. Imagine: you’re driving peacefully southeast along the road, la la la. As you approach the train tracks, lights start flashing and bells start ringing, the gate comes down, and you stop your car. A VERY SLOW AND VERY LONG train crosses the road from right to left. Fifteen minutes later, the caboose finally makes its appearance, the lights stop flashing, the bells stop ringing, the gate comes up, and you continue along on your merry way… and then, a few minutes later, what happens? You guessed it. Lights start flashing, bells start ringing, the gate comes down, and THE VERY SAME, VERY SLOW AND VERY LONG TRAIN crosses your road AGAIN. And this time, not only is it stupid, it’s surreal, because the train is crossing your road from left to right, the opposite direction from before.

Who planned this?

I happen to love train crossings (and drawbridges and all such things), and I love this stupid, illogical train crossing most of all, because it’s silly and nutty and makes me laugh. Kind of like the title of the Alexander McCall Smith mystery, The Unbearable Lightness of Scones.

(Okay, that was not an award-winning segue, but give me a break, I’m preparing for a move in 1.5 weeks and my center is barely holding. Things fall apart and nothing is illuminated and one day I’ll be dead and I am always, always late and packing is heartbreaking work of staggering discouragement and I think I may be being stalked by a moonshadow.)

So. This was meant to be a post about some of my favorite book (and play and movie) titles.

Some favorite titles of books/plays I’ve read (and/or plays/movies I’ve seen):

  • John Patrick Norman McHennessy: The Boy Who Was Always Late. (A [fabulous] picturebook by John Burningham.)
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. (A book of short stories by Sherman Alexie, some of which evolved into the movie Smoke Signals, screenplay by Sherman Alexie and directed by Chris Eyre.)
  • Proof. (A play by David Auburn and, later, a movie directed by John Madden.)
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. (A play by Tom Stoppard and, later, a movie directed by Tom Stoppard.)
  • Things Fall Apart. (A book by Chinua Achebe.)
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being. (A book by Milan Kundera and, later, a movie directed by Philip Kaufman.)

And here are some of my favorites among books/movies I have not read or seen (yet):

  • The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. (A book by Elyn R. Saks.)
  • Everything Is Illuminated. (A novel by Jonathan Safran Foer and, later, a movie directed by Liev Schreiber.)
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. (A book by Dave Eggers.)
  • I’m Being Stalked by a Moonshadow. (A book by Doug MacLeod.)
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. (A book by Anne Fadiman.)
  • The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead. (A book by David Shields.)
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Scones. (A book by Alexander McCall Smith.)

Hmm. Apparently I like long titles, especially titles that are entire sentences.

What do you think of my titles? What are some of your favorites?