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The Label
by [?]

And this is why a French title is always such a mistake. Authors must remember that their readers have not only to order the book, in many cases, verbally, but also to recommend it to their friends. So I think Mr. Oliver Onions made a mistake when he called his collection of short stories Pot au Feu. It is a good title, but it is the sort of title to which the person to whom you are recommending the book always answers, “What?” And when people say “What?” in reply to your best Parisian accent, the only thing possible for you is to change the subject altogether. But it is quite time that we came to some sort of decision as to what makes the perfect title. Kapak will attract buyers, as I have said, though to some it may not seem quite fair. Excellent from a commercial point of view, it does not satisfy the conditions we laid down at first. The title, we agreed, must reflect the spirit of the book. In one sense Five Gallons of Gasolene does this, but of course nobody could ask for that in a book-shop.

Well, then, here is a perfect title, Their High Adventure. That explains itself just sufficiently. When a Man’s Married, For Henri and Navarre, and The King Over the Water are a little more obvious, but they are still good. The Love Story of a Mormon makes no attempt to deceive the purchaser, but it can hardly be called a beautiful title. Melody in Silver, on the other hand, is beautiful, but for this reason makes one afraid to buy it, lest there should be disappointment within. In fact, as I look down the index, I am beginning to feel glad that there are so many hundreds of novels which I haven’t read. In most of them there would be disappointment. And really one only reads books nowadays so as to be able to say to one’s neighbour on one’s rare appearances in society, “HAVE you read The Forged Coupon, and WHAT do you think of The Muck Rake?” And for this an index is quite enough.