7 Curious Books That Start with Question Words (And Their Covers)

Books that Start with Question Words

Here at Books on the Wall, it’s pretty clear that we love us some good alliteration.

In case you missed it, we publish a Words Wednesday every few weekshey, there’s some more alliteration!with a quote graphic featuring the poignant, pithy, or polished prose of our favorite authors. (Okay, okay, we’re done now.) We’ve got Words Wednesdays galore: William Shakespeare, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Leo Tolstoy…and more.

Love of alliteration aside, we’re excited to bring our newest series of posts to the Books on the Wall blog: Novel Knowledge. (The fact that N + K  = alliteration demonstrates what we all already know and love: that the English language is, well, strange.)

In this new blog series, we’ll be be writing about a completely random but interesting variety of novel-related, author-related, and sometimes just writing-related topics: facts, bits of trivia, lists of books, and general thoughts. Without further digression, our first Novel Knowledge post gives a simple list of books that begin with question words. Why this topic, you ask?

Well, why not?

A List of Books that Start with Question Words

Here’s the who, what, when, where, why, and how.

  1. Who

    Who Do You Think You Are? By Alice Munro

    Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro

    Published in 1978, Who Do You Think You Are? is a collection of short stories by perhaps the most acclaimed living writer of the genre: Canadian author Alice Munro. This short story collection has also been published under the title The Beggar Maid, and all of its stories, though distinct, revolve around a young woman named Rose.

    Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013.

    Read an excellent review of Munro’s short story collection written by another contemporary literary master, Joyce Carol Oates.

  2. What

    What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell

    What Belongs To You by Garth Greenwell

    Garth Greenwell’s debut novel, What Belongs To You, has already achieved widespread critical acclaim despite being published for only a few months. The novel is a poignant story of shame, lust, and desire in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia.

    Read The New York Times‘ full review of What Belongs To You, or better yet, hear from Greenwell in his own words through his interview with the Paris Review.

  3. When

    When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

    When We Were Orphans: A Novel by Kazuo Ishiguro

    A detective novel set in early-1900s China, When We Were Orphans is Kazuo Ishiguro’s fifth novel. The story follows an English detective named Christopher Banks as he investigates his parents’ disappearance. The novel was shortlisted for the 2000 Man Booker Prize.

    Although critics pretty universally agree that When We Were Orphans is not Ishiguro’s most successful novel, it’s still worth the read for the story itself.

  4. Where

    Where I Was From by Joan Didion

    Where I Was From by Joan Didion

    A collection of non-fiction and semi-autobiographical essays by Joan Didion, Where I Was From is an exploration of the state of California: how it exists in the real-world and the space it occupies in our collective imagining. As Pat Morrison of the LA Times says, the work primarily addresses two questions: “What is California supposed to be? And, being of it, what am I supposed to be?”

    Where I Was From is the perfect embodiment of Joan Didion’s unique manner of blending of fiction and non-fiction throughout her writing.

  5. Why

    Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma

    Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma

    A recent addition to the ever-growing bank of NYC-based novels, Why We Came to the City examines the lives of a group of young friends who move to the city to pursue their post-college dreams. Though New York City itself plays a significant role, ultimately, the story is an exploration of friendships forged in the fires of ambition, passion, hope, and love.”

    Check out NPR’s review of Why We Came to the City, or read Electric Literature’s interview with Kristopher Jansma.

  6. How

    How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

    How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

    Written by Dominican-American author Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents has become a staple in many high school and college classrooms around the United States. The story follows a unique, reverse-chronological structure to tell the story of four sisters, from their adulthoods in the US to their childhoods in the Dominican Republic. The novel is a classic coming-of-age tale that especially examines the ideas of identity, heritage, and memory.

    Alvarez is also well known for her historical novel In the Time of the Butterflies. Read Julia Alvarez’s reflections, 25 years later, on How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.

  7. Do…?

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick

    This one’s a bonus because it doesn’t actually start with a question word. Published in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is set in the post-apocalyptic United States, a world in which the rich own real animals and the poor own electric look-alikes. The story follows the main character Rick Deckard as he attempts to destroy rogue androids.

    Here’s another question: Did you know that Dick’s book served as the basis for the 1980s movie Blade Runner?

    If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, here’s an awesome explanation of the differences between them. Of course, spoiler alert! If you do want to read the book or watch the movie, don’t watch the video below. At least not yet.

  8. What books did we miss? Which titles appear on your list of books that begin with a question word?

    And if you have an topic you’d like to see in a Novel Knowledge post, shoot us a message and let us know! We love collaborating and researching anything and everything to do with writing and reading.

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