Never judge a book by its title, because more often than not, the title is a lie. You won’t know what you’re getting into until you’re elbows-deep in a story you didn’t sign up for and it’s too late to turn back. Maybe this doesn’t ring true for you. Maybe you trust no one and take nothing at face value. But for the rest of us dewy-eyed newborns, these books should probably come with a warning printed on the cover:
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
DISCLAIMER: This book is not about magicians. No one pulls a rabbit out of a hat. No one makes anyone disappear. No one gets even a little bit sawed in half. If you are slogging through this 600-page whopper of a novel hoping for magic and fun times, the Dickens estate is not responsible for your inevitable disappointment.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
DISCLAIMER: This story does not contain Howlers.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
DISCLAIMER: Mostly about men. If there were a version of the Bechdel test for mice, this book would not pass it. If you are a mouse concerned with the lack of mice representation in the media, consider reading the Redwall series instead.
Watership Down by Richard Adams
DISCLAIMER: This is not about the Titanic. Please temper your expectations. There are, however, more than enough talking animals to make up for the lack thereof in Of Mice and Men.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
DISCLAIMER: The publishers are not responsible for any spoilers contained in the title.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
DISCLAIMER: Don’t steal this book. That is a crime.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair DISCLAIMER: The Jungle book and The Jungle Book are not the same thing. If you pick up this nightmare tome under the impression that you’ll be reading about a little boy’s adventures with his animal friends, the publisher is not responsible if you’re never able to eat a hotdog again.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë DISCLAIMER: Contains depictions of a manipulative relationship masquerading as a romance for the ages. Do not try this at home.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
DISCLAIMER: If you are actually looking for the state of Alaska, you should buy an atlas and not this book. Alaska is right where it’s always been and will likely remain there for the foreseeable future.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
DISCLAIMER: You’re not ready for this book. You have never been ready, nor will you be. You don’t have the vigor, the mental fortitude, the moxie. Handle with care. Contents may destroy you emotionally.