Over the past few months, I have been incredibly grateful for the incredible feedback and support in my hour of need:  coming up with a title for my yet unfinished book.

It’s an enormous challenge to name a book (though not as large a challenge, I’m finding, as writing it).  But some combinations of words are so good, so potent and insightful, that they simply need a book to go with them.  Purpose-driven titling doesn’t wait for the book to be written.  The book is the title’s completion, not the other way around.

Exhibit A:  Austin Farrer’s Love Almighty and Ills Unlimited. That is a deeply poetic title.  It’s the sort of title that makes significant demands on its author (and the sort of title, I think, only a great author could come up with).   If there wasn’t already a book with that title, I would feel a sense of obligation to write one, regardless of whether anyone read it.  That title needs a book to be complete.

I suspect there are other titles that fall into this category.  I’m curious to hear your suggestions:  what titles can we come up with that don’t currently have books, but should?  (If he plays, I expect great things from Jim.)  Use Amazon as the standard reference.  For our purposes, if it’s not on Amazon, it doesn’t exist.

Note also that it need not be theological titles, or even non-fiction.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. I’ve got one idea, maybe:

    “Skin and Statues: ‘Imago Dei’ in the Context of Ancient Middle Eastern Idolatry”

    I’m finding that the title of a book isn’t as important as how its cover is designed. If the cover is designed well, it can make even the most bland title look interesting. (As an example, see Driscoll’s “Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe”; it’s not catchy, but the boys at Crossway sure make it look good.)


    1. SEAN: You’re right. Book design is essential to its attractiveness. Indeed, the folks at Crossway do a nice job with design. Mark Driscoll’s Doctrine is designed with simplicity and style. See other Re:Lit examples (the publishing branch of Resurgence). I’m always drawn to books with well-chosen art or photographs on the cover. I also prefer a “less is more” aesthetic. And the choice of font is critical. Here are some book designs that get “two thumbs up.” Many of the covers below are from Harvard University Press; they rock the house in book design.

      Example 1
      Example 2
      Example 3 (click on cover to enlarge)
      Example 4 (click on cover to enlarge)
      Example 5
      Example 6
      Example 7
      Example 8
      Example 9
      Example 10
      Example 11
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      Example 15


  2. […] Anderson has written a fun blog post on titles waiting for a book. I hope all the contributors will offer their own titles. If I should […]


  3. […] Christopher’s invite, I’m also responding to Matt’s earlier post with my idea for a book title and […]


  4. Titles that deserve a book: http://bit.ly/9dKsmd #fb

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter


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