Monday, June 13, 2011

Things All Books Should Have


Do you know what I miss? 

Remember all those old books that had chapter headings? I miss those. They were like tiny little teasers at the beginning of each chapter. Sometimes they were more interesting than the chapters themselves.


Chapter Seven. In which Tarquin and Felicity embark on a motoring holiday to Caerphilly, Lydia snags her stocking, and Hugh Fortherington-Fotherington makes a startling discovery in the woodshed.




I want to bring those back.

What would you bring back if you could? Or introduce into books? 

26 comments:

  1. This might sound strange, but I enjoy a few illustrations in books. I have an illustrated copy of LOTR and it's beautiful. Sometimes the cover art isn't enough.

    I also like chapter headings. And a creative chapter title that makes me curious to read on is good too. :)

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  2. I like chapter titles as well. It is always a pleasure when I pick up a new book and there are chapter titles. Atwood's Blind Assasin comes to mind.

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  3. I'm right there with ya on chapter headings! In fact, I've been adding them to my story :)

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  4. That was my favorite part about some of Dianna Wynne Jones books, instead of chapter titles they were headings.

    I miss ribbons being included with hardbound novels. Built in bookmarks are so nifty.

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  5. Oh and btw one of my favorite chapter titles books is the Percy Jackson series. So funny!

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  6. Those were my favorite! (I still do those in my own work)

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  7. I'm with LG: I liked a few illustrations in my book. I quite enjoy those in Leviathan.

    Also, I disagree with you on these chapters teaser. I've hated them ever since I was revealed very important spoilers by them, more than once. It felt like something from the book was stolen from me because of these few lines.

    I realise it was the author who messed up, not the chapter lines themselves that were a problem, but since that day I hold an irrational aversion. Sue me. ;)

    Oh, and I agree with Steph: built-in bookmarks for the win!

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  8. Agreed LG! Illustrations are great...except when they don't mesh with the pictures I already had in my head. Then they just distract me!

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  9. I'm so glad so many of you live chapter headings as well. I think they're great, when they're well done. It's like the equivalent of those storytellers on Children's TV: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then let's begin."

    @ Rebecca. Ahem. I haben't read Blind Assassin. Does it count that it's sitting on my bedside table? It's been there for some time now...Yes, I am ashamed.

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  10. Barbara and Brit -- I have been adding them as well, because they're so much fun to write!

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  11. Steph, I absolutely agree with the ribbon! Kindles are great and paperbacks are cheap, but nothing will ever beat a good hardcover book with a built-in bookmark! It's like opening a present every time!

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  12. Claudie, I'm so sad you don't like chapter headings! Good chapter headings should be teasers, not spoilers! I can't imagine anything worse than having a book spoiled by chapter headings.

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  13. This is slightly off topic, but I would like libarians not to put the date stamp sheet over any writing. I know it's just the blurb or author bio, but it's annoying.

    mood
    Moody Writing
    @mooderino

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  14. I want illustrations back too! I love Leviathan's illustrations, and I've seen a few others cropping up in YA. Books are better with illustrations.

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  15. I wish I could draw! I would illustrate my own stories then. Sadly, not much call for stick figures.

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  16. And Mood, absolutely spot on! That's like sacrilege and librarians should know better.

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  17. A lot of books don't even have chapter titles now--just numbers. I like those headers. They were fun and prepared the reader for what was coming up. Illustrations are nice as well.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  18. They were fun, Arlee. It was like taking a peek before you dived in!

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  19. Hey! I just got finished reading a Diane Wynne Jones books that had brief chapter headings. Good times! What's great about them is they may say what happens, but they in no way encompass what actually happens.

    When I look back that at the chapter heading when I've already read the book I chuckle because it's accurate and yet so inadequate, like "Howl Goes to a Strange Country" is so much more than what is sounds like (also one of my favorite chapters in that book).

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  20. I remember those, and yeah, they could add so much. Like Jules Verne, in "80 Days Around the World," seemed to having fun when he gave these tantalizing headers.

    Chapter VIII
    IN WHICH PASSEPARTOUT TALKS RATHER MORE, PERHAPS, THAN IS PRUDENT

    Chapter X
    IN WHICH PASSEPARTOUT IS ONLY TOO GLAD TO GET OFF WITH THE LOSS OF HIS SHOES

    Chapter XXVII
    IN WHICH PASSEPARTOUT UNDERGOES, AT A SPEED OF TWENTY MILES AN HOUR, A COURSE OF MORMON HISTORY

    Chapter XXVIII
    IN WHICH PASSEPARTOUT DOES NOT SUCCEED IN MAKING ANYBODY LISTEN TO REASON

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  21. Cacy, it has been way too long since I read Howl's Moving Castle. Amazon, here I come!

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  22. Steve, those are great, funny examples!

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  23. I don't know if i've read a book with those. they sound fun. I really like books with quotes in the beginning of each chapter though. That's always fun.

    Oh, and still want an ARC of Shatter Me? I saw you bidded a lot on Write Hope:

    http://tlcauctions.blogspot.com/2011/06/auction-16-arc-of-shatter-me-b-y.html

    -Lauren

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  24. I love chapter headings, especially funny ones, which you do still see now and then in children's books. Funnily enough I was just thinking of having them in my new WIP.

    Girl Friday

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  25. Hi Shooting Stars, thanks for commenting!

    And I actually did get my hands on an ARC of shatter me, thanks to some help from the awesome Steve!

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  26. Hi Girl Friday!

    Chapter headings, when done right, are great fun.
    What's with the Anonymous comments? Are you having Blogger issues, or am I?

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