Anyone who knows me knows that I take my job as a book reviewer very seriously – sometimes a little too seriously. I don’t just read a book – I do a literary autopsy on it, looking for subtle symbolism, hints of foreshadowing, allegorical elements, etc. I even run characters’ names through anagram generators to see if the author is hiding some kind of profound revelation there.
Yeah, I know. I have issues.
But the anagram thing is a lot of fun for me. I wrote a blog last year where I took the names of a few dozen authors and ran them through an anagram generator – with some remarkable results, some profound and some hilarious. Henry David Thoreau was A Very Hidden Author, William Shakespeare was I'll Make a Wise Phrase, Patrick Rothfuss turned out to be A Pitchfork Rusts, and Bryan Thomas Schmidt was Madman Bitchy Shorts, to name just a few.
Well, I have a new list; this one includes a bunch of historically significant and bestselling paranormal fantasy novels – and the results of my endeavor were, well, very interesting to say the least.
(I though this was fascinating because Kim Harrison is a pseudonym for Dawn Cook and when Dead Witch Walking was released, she almost immediately became one of the hottest paranormal fantasy writers in the game.)
• Lavish Tyrant Alone = Hotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
• Super, Agile, Lusty = Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
(This anagram made me chuckle – Anita Blake is certainly super, agile, and lusty!)
• Reeking Bath = The Breaking by Marcus Pelegrimas
• Top Elf, Bad Core = A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison
(Wow. Doesn't this fittingly describe Trent Kalamack in the earlier novels?)
(Quite an interesting anagram for unarguably the hottest paranormal romance that I've ever read!)
• Catacombs A Clinking = Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison
• She Dates Kid = Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton
(This was another funny one, considering the "controversy" surrounding the 30-something Anita Blake in a relationship with an 18-year old shapeshifter!)
• Hormone Battle = The Mortal Bone by Marjorie Liu
• Loin Hotbed = In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix
(Can you say "Dante Baptiste?")
• Livid Bandages = Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey
• Unarmored Years = Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
• Fey Tests Rump = Tempest's Fury by Nicole Peeler
• Alert Oyster = Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
• Red Tick = Tricked by Kevin Hearne
• Old Bald Version = Blood and Silver by James R. Tuck
• Ever Damp = ReVamped by J. F. Lewis
• Imminent Thong Hugs = Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett
My conclusion after all of this? The majority of authors are not trying to convey a subliminal message to us in the transposing of letters in a novel’s title – except for the brilliantly devious Nicole Peeler, who I am positive will not only feature but "test" someone’s rump in the next Jane True novel.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.