Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mind Games

Gawker has a story up about games the D.C. Metro has dreamed up to entertain commuters and/or distract them from suicidal thoughts. My longstanding subway game is less complicated: I pretend I'm an extra in a movie scene, and I have to pick out the one other person on the platform or in the car or who is the star of the film, and decide what the movie is about. It's quite diverting.

I also have a new game inspired by my allergic reaction to the title of Jerry Spinelli's latest book, Smiles to Go. It got me wondering why children's book titles seem to tolerate more sugar than do books for adults, and that got me thinking about what adult books with children's-book titles would be like. For example, Tuck Everlasting is surely a Jan Karon novel, last in a series, about the picturesque town of Tuck, itself tucked away in the timeless foothills of the Piedmont. And The Chocolate War is by John Le Carre and involves Colombian narco-terrorism. Charlotte's Web? Linda Fairstein thriller about an internet-adept serial killer in stilettos. If you're as easily amused as I, add yours in the comments.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll grab an easy one before it's gone:

Dr. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stones -- Curmudgeonly Head of Urology finally develops an optimistic world view after a series of revealing dialogues with his latest patient, an existentialist drunk.

Anonymous said...

Where the Wild Things Are
by John Rechy

Brian said...

AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by Nicholas Sparks wherein a young man has dated 21 women named Katherine, all of whom died tragically following their first kiss.

Anonymous said...

The Higher Power of Lucky
by Elmore Leonard

A small time crook from Chicago makes it big as a gunrunner in Las Vegas.

thommy said...

How about:

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Bill Moyers
This searing investigation of the SARS outbreak in NYC's Chinatown, which traces "chicken zero" to a Hoboken poultry processing plant, explores the socio-economic repercussions of the spread of the infection, whose victims were among the city's poorest and most vulnerable.

The Penderwicks by Daphne du Maurier
When Lorna Hewitt is widowed, six months after her marriage to the secretive Mr. Montbreak, she travels to The Penderwicks, his family's estate in Plymouth, County Devon. There she encounters imperious matriarch Lydia Montbreak, who has lost four sons to the sea, or so she claims...

Guess How Much I Love You by John Gray, PhD
In his best-selling follow up to Men Are from Mars, Women Are From Venus, couples guru John Gray, PhD, extolls his newest relationship principle, wherein individuals keep private their affections for one another, to protect their feelings of fondness and attachment from misinterpretive scrutiny.

Darice said...

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Kit is unhappy about having to return to Blackbird Pond to care for her dying grandfather. She'd given up the rules and restrictions of small-town life years ago to follow her bliss in Barbados. But the town she returns to has changed; there's a coven meeting out in the marsh meadows, and their message of womanly empowerment is causing ripples throughout the formerly rule-bound community. Kit isn't sure whether she should stay true to her upbringing, throw caution to the winds and join the Wiccans... or just find a way to finally be true to herself.

Rachael said...

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe: a vicious tell-all about the marriage of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Roger Sutton said...

Holes by Alain Robbe-Grillet, tr. from the French Trous but even in English nobody knows what it's about.

Roger Sutton said...

And, Darice, there's a Nora Roberts novel totally like that.

Elizabeth said...

MADELINE'S RESCUE by Terry McMillan. A roman-a-clef about a middle-aged writer who gets over her marriage to a gay man through a combination of pilates, A.A. and the Author's Guild.


THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICTINE SOCIETY. Calvin Trillin's memoir of his years at Yale.


FRINDLE by Vladimir Nabokov. A man obsessed with words develops an erotic relationship with a lexicographer...or does he?

Anonymous said...

I'LL GET THERE, IT BETTER BE WORTH THE TRIP. Ralph Nader's latest is an expose of the airline industry.

Oh God, you're right, this is addictive.

Roger Sutton said...

You can also play this backwards, as in The Love Machine by Gordon Korman.

Debby G. said...

LOVE YOU FOREVER. A necrophiliac serial killer keeps the corpses of his victims in his basement so he can keep having his way with them.

Eww. Sorry. Sort of.

Nina said...

GOOD MASTERS! SWEET LADIES!
Uh, I'd rather not say...

Darice said...

Roger -- I believe it. And here I was trying to hew fairly close to the original plot!

Time to try a new tack:

Is Your Mama a Llama?
Wacky hijinx ensue when a young businessman takes his demanding, pampered mother on the llama trek vacation she says she's always wanted.

Edward Vielmetti said...

The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins -

Fast-paced spy thriller featuring Bart Collins, master of disguise.

beth said...

my co-workers and i are always trying for the funniest ones.

Ella Enchanted by Rihanna
A Fine White Dust by Amy Winehouse
Out of the Dust by Russell Brand
Nothing But the Truth by Marc Dann
A Crinkle in Time by Frito-Lay

Frog and Toad Together: how Karl Rove and Dick Cheney became friends
and
Day of Tears: a National Geographic coffee table book with photos of peoples faces as the 2004election results became final.

Monica Edinger said...

Nina, why not? GOOD MASTERS! SWEET LADIES! Twins Emily and Sarah Sweet, in town for their first season, meet the far more worldly Masters triplets. Complications of love and life ensue in this romp of a Regency romance.

Monica Edinger said...

I think Nina and I together could come up with a hell of a screenplay, don't you all think? I see John Waters as director and Miley Cyrus and Blake Lively as the Sweet twins.

Roger Sutton said...

Dear Mr. Henshaw, another Regency. And Dean Koontz's latest, Maniac Magee

Naomi said...

How about "The Phantom Tollbooth," a tale of horror on the Pennsylvania Turnpike? (Soon to be made into a movie by George Romero.)

Laura said...

The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit, the unauthorized biography of John Updike, revealing the dark secrets behind the work of a great American writer.

Naomi said...

"Anastasia Again," by Robert K. Massie; about the woman known as Anna Anderson who kept insisting that she was really the youngest daughter of the last Tsar of Russia.

janeyolen said...

"The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm" by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, confessions of a tv medical expert.

"Punk Farm" by Courtney Love, a memoir a la James Frey.

"Running with Scissors," a new and absolutely dynamic translation of Strewelpeter.

Yes, it IS addictive.

Jane

J Larios said...

The Astonishing Tale of Octavian Nothing by Samuel Beckett, in which someone named Octavian waits on a stage for something to happen, but nothing ever does. In French.

JLarios said...

Millions by James Frey. In which he forgets about all those little pieces and talks about how lucrative it is to make up your life story.

Kate Fall said...

You're all cracking me up.

The Giving Tree by Tom Wolfe. The fictional memoir of Hendrix Cooperson coming of age on a commune growing organic fruit.

Jenny said...

Coraline by Jacques Costeau

The Last Guru by Deepak Chopra

CLM said...

I played a different subway game years ago in NY in which I counted readers reading Grisham on my car as I headed downtown. I had decided if I got to 20 that meant I got the day off. One day I ran into the president of Penguin (where I worked) at 59th Street, and he noticed my counting and asked why. When I shared the rules, he entered into it enthusiastically (although pointed out that since we were then the publishers of Stephen King, it would be more advantageous to count his readers) and we were both disappointed when we only got as high as 17 before we reached the stop near Hudson Street.

Charlotte said...

The Four Story Mistake, by Peter Mayle. Mr. Mayle sells his house in Provence and bites off more than he can chew as he trys to restore an old farm in upstate NY.