More Rejected Book Titles—My Favorite Columns to Write!

The secret to having good ideas is having a lot of ideas and discarding the bad ones. Titles have always been difficult for me. Whether for songs (“Out-of-Town Tuna Fish”), albums (Songs from the Zen Baptist Tradition), poems (“Drowning in the Fountain of Eternal Life”), stories (“Let Me Begin Again”) or novels (What Trouble Looks Like), I’ve always agonized over titles. Believe it or not, the above are what was left after I’d thrown out the bad ones.

I’m currently writing a memoir, a thriller and a love story, so I need three good titles.

Here are a hundred-and-one I’ve rejected so far:

1. A Smuggler’s Guide to Body Orifices

2. Changing Your Eye Color with Bleach: A Doctor Speaks Out

3. Whatever Doesn’t Kill You Can Still Leave You Paralyzed

4. Asparagus and Urine: A Scratch-N-Sniff Book

5. The Dummy’s Guide to Counting

6. Change Your Fingerprints and Change Your Plea

7. Cleaning with Fire

8. Dental Problems You Can Cure with Pliers

9. A Child’s Guide to Surgery

10. Calendar Colander: Straining Spaghetti through April and May

11. Christmas Gifts for Your Secret Family

12. Tax Strategies for the Indigent

13. 31 Ways to Attract People

14. 32 Ways to Make People Leave You Alone

15. Ankles: How Many Do You Really Need?

16. A Kid’s Guide to Adultery

17. An Adult’s Guide to Kidnapping

18. Choosing the Right Peanut Butter: A Hollywood Insider’s Guide

19. Your Dreams Determine Your Dreams

20. Diarrhea Diorama: Art Projects Using ALL Your Senses

21. Why All Scorpios are Big Meanies

22. Learn to Read in 31 Days

23. This Hurts Me More Than It’s Hurting You: Suing Your Victim

24. Ex-Boyfriends and Castration: A State-by-State Guide to the Law

25. The Little Golden Book of Arson

26. The Bobbsey Twins and the Lindbergh Baby

27. An Agnostic View of Fish

28. A Book of Common Slayers: Obscure Murderers

29. Toaster Recipes for a Crowd

30. No Little People: How to Stop the Coming Midget Apocalypse

31. Cold Feet: A Guide to Warm Socks and Wedding Wear

32. 101 Euphemisms for Passing Gas

33. Jokes about Foreigners in Their Own Language

34. Ash Trays and Ass Trays: Where to Put Your Butts

35. How Your Imaginary Friends are Out to Get You

36. Where to Go When You Need an Alibi

37. Recipes for Things That Are Not Food

38. Friendship Shouldn’t Hurt: Home Anesthesia

39. Why Just 26?—The Lost Letters of the Alphabet

40. How to Grow Taller Using Just the Items in Your Wife’s Digestive System

41. A Man Walks into a Bar: A Choose Your Own Punchline Book

42. Reading Your Own Entrails

43. Nancy Drew and the Mystery of Life

44. The Dog-Shaped Rug: Let that “Sleeping” Dog Lie!

45. Napster Made Me Do It: 137,671 Songs I’ll Never Listen To

46. The Hardy Boys and The Andrews Sisters: Va-Va-Va-Voom!

47. Downsizing? These 25 Books Will Show You How!

48. Lose Weight through Not Eating

49. Toast Sweat: A Christian Explanation

50. What If Shakespeare Had Been Left-Handed: A Lengthy Thought Experiment

51. Why Does Daddy Cry?

52. What Happened to My Old New Daddy?: Parenthood in an Age of Serial Monogamy

53. Change Your Lightbulbs and Change the World!

54. Tiny House Living on $350,000 a Year: It CAN Be Done

55. Virgin Martini Recipe: How to Make Ice

56. Queen Victoria Never Ate Pasta: The Case Against Globalization

57. It Was Just a Tap: An Emergency Guide to Hiding Bruises

58. Claim Your Last Meal Now!

59. The Idiot’s Guide to Primary Colors

60. No Atheists in Foxholes: Killing the Nonbeliever Combatant

61. Fried Clams Were Not Served at the Last Supper

62. Things to Do When You’re Trapped in a Hole

63. Jesus and Vegas: A Believer’s Guide to Card Counting

64. Don’t Be So Sensitive: A Conservative Guide to Race Relations

65. YIKES: 27 Things to Be Afraid of

66. A History of Flashlights

67. Ali Baba Alibi: If 40 Thieves Got Away, You Can Too!

68. The Snickers without a Toothbrush Diet: Lose Weight Through Losing Your Teeth!

69. What Do You and Daddy Do at Night?—A Pop-Up Book

70. An Illiterates Guide to Tarot Reading

71. Don’t You Want Me Baby: Songs You Only Know the Chorus To

72. If I’d Only Known: Partial Prophecies and Predictions

73. You’ve Got to Understand: A Liberal’s Guide to Recovering from a Mugging

74. I Want Your Used Q-Tips!

75. Some Things to Hide in Your Socks

76. Kissing Your Sister: Stop at First Base!

77. Time Travel Tips for Ghosts

78. Unsolvable: Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of Bugs Meany’s Disappearance

79. Rabbit’s Feet are Only the Beginning: Talismans Made from Pets!

80. Butt Pimples or Messages from Beyond? A Connect the Dots Book

81. Satan and Satin: Trading Your Soul for Comfortable Sheets

82. Songs That Can’t Be Hummed

83. Cake Decorating and the First Amendment: Is Your Baker Liable for Libel?

84. Drink Your Way to Sobriety!

85. Things You Can Accomplish without Leaving Your Chair

86. A People’s History of People’s Histories

87. Things to Make You Feel Old

88. Feeling Bad? Buy This Book!

89. Untraceable Wedding Day Pranks

90. Feeling Good? Buy This Book!

91. Fighting Fliers with Fliers: Combat on Your Laundromat Bulletin Board

92. Feeling Meh? Buy This Book!

93. How to Tell if Your Dog is a Democrat

94. Ampucoffee: How to Get off Caffeine for Good

95. Our Bodies, Our Shelves: Home Decorating with Surgical Waste

96. Home Tongue Repair

97. Acid Flashbacks as a Legal Defense: Walls Melt and So Do Jailhouse Bars

98. “In My Day” and Other Phrases to Repel Teenagers

99. It’s Not Murder if He Survives: Home ICU Construction

100. Plot Summaries of Famous Paintings

101.Battle of the Elmers, Volume 1: Fudd vs. Gantry

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