Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words In Domestic Noir or thriller Titles

Top Ten Tuesday book meme

So Top Ten Tuesday is held over at That Artsy Reader Girl, where every week bloggers list their top 10 being asked about. This week’s post is about titles that are a little too common. 

I just have two, but they irritate immensely:

How many titles with Girl have you seen recently?

How many titles have you seen where the woman is defined by how she is linked to a man?

This is actually a depressing indication of how common Girl is in the title. And here’s another list where even if a man is dead, the alive woman is still defined by being his wife. Daughters get a good showing in the list too.

And ALSO, read this. Because damn right these women are actual characters around which entire books revolves, and not someone’s girl. 

It’s as depressing as seeing UK or Nordic noir titles all suddenly have the same sort of cover a while back: a stark cover, with a character wearing something in colour against this backdrop.


  • Greg says:

    That’s funny, I used “girl” in my post too, probably because it was so easy and I’m lazy ha ha but you’re right- it’s way too common and depressingly so. Your second point is a great one too, that article was REALLY interesting.

    • Verushka says:

      It’s driving me NUTS Greg! I saw one today called The Banker’s Wife and how is that supposed to attract readers? WHYYYYYYY! UGH. Why can’t the Wife be the banker and the wife?

  • Kelly says:

    Pretty much the same as the overuse of Queen, Rose, Girl, Thorns, Fire. Fantasy especially seem to use buzzwords in their titles from other popular series and it gets tiring, they all blend in together after a while. I can’t stand when female characters are reduced to someone’s wife or girl, as though they’re not leading revolutions or catching serial killers *rolls eyes right out of their sockets*

    • Verushka says:

      EXACTLY! You’re writing a book that is about this woman kicking ass and taking names, but the title reminds us she’s someone’s … something. Blah. The Queen, Rose, Girl and Crown too think is totally overdone too. WHYYYYYYY Kelly, WHY. It’s like they don’t trust readers enough to pick up a gorgeous cover to read the books.

  • Angela says:

    I totally agree that “girl” is way overused in book titles. And it’s obnoxious to me when the book is actually about a grown woman! “Wife” is another one I see a lot, especially in thrillers.

  • I enjoyed these articles and yes, “girl” is really overused. I could easily become “Boycott Girl.” I think it lost its appeal to me with Gone Girl – that book. It’s almost as bad as “Little Heaven” for how much I despised it. I need more UNIQUE titles! Great post.

  • Jen Mullen says:

    And how about the girl/woman in a red dress/coat in some kind of imminent danger on book covers! And the Bechtel test for films: 1. The movie has to have at least two women it it, 2. who talk to each other, 3. about something other than a man.

  • Cholla says:

    I totally agree with you on both! And the covers, too. Ugh. But hey… as long as the books stay good, I can deal. 😀

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thanks!

  • SE White says:

    I don’t read a lot of thrillers but I’m going to start paying attention to the titles now, just to watch for what you mention! I mostly read romance. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I’m going to go through and start checking how many of them base the title on the MCs relationship to a guy. It might be depressingly common, or surprisingly uncommon, it will be interesting to see which.

  • Totally with you on the girl thing!

  • I’m so bothered by the girl thing. Honestly. It’s okay when it’s actually a girl, like Girl with all the Gifts…but it’s usually used with books where the protagonist is a grown woman, thank you very much. So, yes it’s been bugging me a lot! Glad someone else spotted it.

  • I guess I never really thought about how many time “girls” is in the titles of thrillers. Now, I’m gonna be on the lookout for it. Lol…

  • LOL! Okay, so I wrote my entire post about the word Girl and how often it appears in titles from this genre. All of the ‘Wife’ and ‘Daughter’ books drive me crazy too.

    • Verushka says:

      While you were over here, I was over on your blog going YES YES YES. Man, Suzanne, it’s driving me nuts just thinking about it.

  • Sam@WLABB says:

    I can think of a bunch of adult books I read with girl in the title – The Girl on the Train, The Luckiest Girl in the World, Gone Girl, Twenties Girl, Forever My Girl, Good Girl, The Girl in Seat 24B. I just filtered my GR “read” shelf and found 5 pages of books with girl in the title. XD

  • Girl is a very very popular word this week for sure.

  • I either read a book or don’t, and don’t really sit and think about the titles!

  • Annemieke says:

    Yup girl is used a disturbing amount of times in titles.

  • Oh gosh, this is the third post I’ve seen about the word ‘girl’ lol. But yeah, that is pretty sad that the women in so many books are being defined by their relation to men since that pretty much summarizes a lot of our problems in real life, doesn’t it? :-/

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