A Chapter’s Name

As a lifelong reader, I have loved it when an author has decided to give each chapter in a book its own title. Over time, I’ve come to see chapter titles almost as names. They can characterize the tone of a chapter. They can create expectations (which feel wonderful if met). They can, almost like a poetic line, convey a perspective or an emotion the author wants a reader to have. They’re the “children” who populate the “family” of a book. Maybe all of that’s placing too much significance on chapter titles (and sometimes they have little more significance than providing the next numeric designation), but when a chapter title is thoughtful, purposeful, and well-written, it adds another facet to the story. The names of chapters–once a book is put down for a long time before it is read again–have struck me as being like the names of old friends. In a few words, or in one word, they carry fond memories of time once-spent, and a journey once-taken, in another place and sometimes in another world. I hope all of my chapter “names” will eventually do that, too.

Here’s the name of Chapter 8 in A Murder of Crows…

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