“The This and The That” — All Time Greatest Metaphorical Book Titles

Here is a list of books which have a title that consists of two or more nouns, whereby those nouns are not the actual subject of the book, but rather some kind of very interesting metaphor.  Some of the titles are more emblematic than metaphorical per se, but they all talk about something other than what the title literally says.

Why is this interesting to me?  Well, for one thing I think it’s funny, in an arbitrary classification (or “branding”) of books sort of way.  Also, these books tend to have a similar flavor of lateral thinking, where the authors often make wide-ranging commentary on life, the universe and everything… or a very specific thing. Either way, it’s a pretty good set of books to add to one’s reading list:


“Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond

“The Lexus and the Olive Tree” by Thomas Friedman

“The Cathedral and the Bazaar” by Eric S. Raymond   (not a book, actually an essay… but sweeping enough in both the metaphor and its implications to make this list)

“The Alphabet Versus the Goddess” by Leonard Shlain

“The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul” by Rudy Rucker

“Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes” by Stephen Jay Gould

“The Clock and the Mirror” by Nancy G. Siraisi

“Proust and the Squid” by Maryanne Wolf

“The Monk and the Book” by Megan Hale Williams

“The Dragon and the Foreign Devils : China and the world, 1100 B.C. to the present” by Harry G. Gelber.

more to come…

(got any other gems?  post them in the comment below!)

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