Well, the best of those I see around me on the bookshelves in my study, anyway. And by “best” I don’t mean “most profound” or “most helpful in conveying the book’s contents.” I mean “funniest.” But I don’t mean funniest among the titles of books that are themselves intended to be funny. I mean funniest among the titles of “serious” books. The list is surprisingly short. Serious writers, it seems, just don’t give funny names to serious books. Go figure.
The first three aren’t really all that funny, but they’re clever enough -- for philosophy books, anyway:
Gregory McCulloch, The Game of the Name: Introducing Logic, Language, and Mind
Peter Ludlow, Yujin Nagasawa, and Daniel Stoljar, eds., There’s Something About Mary: Essays on Phenomenal Consciousness and Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument
G. A. Cohen, If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich?
More amusing, in my view, are:
Paul Feyerabend, Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend
Richard Peddicord, O.P., The Sacred Monster of Thomism: The Life and Legacy of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
Robert Martin, There Are Two Errors in The The Title of This Book
If sheer bizarreness counts for something (and I think it does) then we cannot overlook:
And if mild vulgarity can be excused (and I think it can be) then we mustn’t forget Harlan Ellison. The title of his book of essays on television criticism, The Glass Teat (which I have here on the shelf) isn’t all that funny. But the title of the follow-up volume (which, alas, I don’t have) is funny: The Other Glass Teat. (Now you know why they call it the boob tube.)
While we’re on the subject of science-fiction, let’s not forget:
But for first place in the Best Book Title Ever competition, we’ve got a tie. Because together they say it all:
Leszek Kolakowski, My Correct Views on Everything [Bonus comedy points for this one given that in the picture on the cover, Kolakowksi appears -- inadvertently, I assume -- to be flipping us the bird.]
Frank Close, Nothing: A Very Short Introduction