20 Book Titles That Will Get Stuck In Your Head

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Katie McLain

Contributing Editor

Katie's parents never told her "no" when she asked for a book, which was the start of most of her problems. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Lake Forest College and is working towards a master's degree in library science at U of I. She works full time at a public library reference desk in northern IL, specializing in readers’ advisory and general book enthusiasm, and she has a deep-rooted love of all things disturbing, twisted, and terrifying. (She takes enormous pleasure in creeping out her coworkers.) When she's not spending every waking hour at the library, she's at home watching Cubs baseball with her cats and her cardigan collection, and when she's not at home, she's spending too much money on concert tickets. Her hobbies include debating the finer points of Harry Potter canon, hitting people upside the head who haven’t read The Martian, and convincing her boyfriend that she can, in fact, fit more books onto her shelves. Twitter: @kt_librarylady

Have you ever been shelving books, or browsing a crowded bookshelf, when all of a sudden a song pops into your head because you just saw a book with a song lyric in the title?  If not, congratulations, because you’ve managed to avoid one of the most randomly annoying side effects of working with books.

After spending a week with a medley of songs bouncing around in my head, it suddenly hit me how many books use song lyrics for their titles.  Is it to capitalize on the reader’s instant recognition?  A shortcut to convey theme and tone?  A way for the universe to show librarians and booksellers how much it wants to irritate them?

I’m not sure, but I’m about to start an ear worm epidemic here.  You’ve been warned.

  1. I Want it That Way – Ann Aguirre
    “I Want It That Way” – Backstreet Boys

Don’t lie, you totally started singing along.

2. Go Ask Alice – Anonymous
“White Rabbit” – Jefferson Airplane


3. Go Tell it On the Mountain – James Baldwin
Traditional gospel song

4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” – Deep Blue Something

“It’s plain to see we’re over / And I hate when things are over…”

5. The Day the Music Died – Ed Gorman
“American Pie” – Don McLean

6. Always Something There to Remind Me – Beth Harbison
“Always Something There to Remind Me” – Naked Eyes

7. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
“Never Let Me Go” – Florence + the Machine

8. Burn Baby Burn – Meg Medina
“Disco Inferno” – The Trammps

9. Black Betty – Walter Mosely
“Black Betty” – Ram Jam

Or as my boyfriend said when he saw this song on the list: “God dammit, I hate that song!”

10. Cruel Summer – Alyson Noel
“Cruel Summer” – Bananarama

11. You Must Remember This – Joyce Carol Oates
“As Time Goes By” – from Casablanca

12. Brown Eyed Girl – Mariah Stewart
“Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison

13. Linger – Maggie Stiefvater
“Linger” – The Cranberries

14. How to Save a Life – Sara Zarr
“How to Save a Life” – The Fray

My turn: “God dammit, I hate this song!”

15. All These Things I’ve Done – Gabrielle Zevin
“All These Things That I’ve Done” – The Killers


And because there are so many of them, here’s a special section for book titles that are also Beatles songs.

16. Do You Want to Know a Secret? – Mary Jane Clark
“Do You Want to Know a Secret” – The Beatles

Sadly I was not able to find the original version anywhere on YouTube.  Please enjoy this fairly decent cover.

17. Eleanor Rigby – Douglas Coupland
“Eleanor Rigby” – Douglas Coupland

18. Here Comes the Sun – Nicole Dennis-Benn
“Here Comes the Sun” – The Beatles

Pardon me while I have an emotional George Harrison moment…

19. Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” – The Beatles

Again, slim pickings with these covers…

20. Across the Universe – Beth Revis
“Across the Universe” – The Beatles

Don’t hate me…I love this version.


If I did my job correctly, you should all have a billion songs bouncing around your brains.  You can thank me later…