10:37am

Thu May 12, 2011
Monkey See

'Better Book Titles': Don't Judge A Book By Its Existing Cover

Inspired really, the web site: Better Book Titles.

Conceived by Dan Wilbur, it's a wit-crit site that reconfigures book titles.

Sometimes pithy, sometimes inappropriate, Wilbur posts old book covers with new titles. The Great Gatsby he calls Drink Responsibly. And he reimagines Eric Carle's children's classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar as Eat Until You Feel Pretty.

A 24-year old stand-up comedian and writer with net credits (College Humor, The Onion), Wilbur lives in Brooklyn. "More specifically, Park Slope with all the cool new parents who leave free books on their stoops to make space in their apartments for the child that's making them less cool by the hour," Wilbur says. "Free books on the street is something I find only in Park Slope."

A former Classics student at Bard College, Wilbur says, "The only skill I took away is the ability to speak bluntly about texts others might deem esoteric. Write what you know."

And so he suggests that William Shakespeare's As You Like It should be called: Crossdressing Helps Everyone Find Love.

Wilbur also solicits reader suggestions. Some of his Readers' Top 10 are Not Safe For Work or Play; others are funny for all ages. Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are has been changed to Skipping Dinner Is Like Dropping Acid; Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is retitled Rent Was Too Damn High! and Oedipus the King by Sophocles becomes How I Met Your Mother.

Wilbur's readers can be wicked witty. So can NPR readers.

Now it's your turn. Inspired by inspiration, we are wondering what book titles — or movie titles, or TV titles, or album titles — would you improve? Remembering that this is a Family Radio Network, post your recommendations in the comments section. Maybe you think Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea should be called You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat. We'll pass the best comments on to Dan Wilbur. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.