For Book Lovers, an Amusing Game

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 1 2012 1:45 PM

For Book Lovers, an Amusing Game

154605103
On Twitter, a few clever hashtags

Photo by FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

In New York Times headlines, a trend. For grammarians who yearn for varied sentence structure, a headache. And now, for book lovers—and really anyone with a sense of humor—a funny hashtag.

Robinson Meyer (@yayitsrob) and Nick Castele (@NickCastele) were surely not the first to notice that the Gray Lady loves to open its headlines with a preposition. But their twitter account, @NYTPrepositions, leverages that observation into viral hilarity, rounding up examples like “In This Corner, A Much Needed Distraction” and “Under One Picasso, Another.”

Advertisement

This morning, the feed spawned a hashtag, #nytbooks, that sends famous titles through the NYT syntacto-meter. In place of The Cat in the Hat, meet In a Hat, a Cat. Looking for a Southern picaresque novel about a guy who lives with his parents? We recommend Of Dunces, a Confederacy. A few other gems include:

Not all the (many, many) entries have fit the criteria perfectly, of course—some just rearrange a title’s word order in an amusing way (prompting Jess Zimmerman to complain, “The #nytbooks jokes…that confuse NYT with Yoda are weirdly irksome” ). But we were gratified to see some self-help selections (For Dummies, Windows) along with the literary classics (From Atlas, A Shrug) and children’s fare (At the End of This Book, A Monster). We also enjoyed the hashtag’s inevitable offshoot, #nypostbooks, which features treasures like AHAB NABBED IN WHALE FAIL and GODOT NO-SHOW.  

But will the madness end here, or will authors start to take note? Should we tell Hanna Rosin to re-release her book as Of Men, the End?* Or can we just summarize this craze by saying, “Before election, bookworms blow off steam?”

*On November 1, 2012, a correction: This post originally misspelled the first name of Hanna Rosin. 

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 8:32 AM Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy—and a Mess. Can the Movies Fix It?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.