Why so many titles of books address the reader as “you”? That is the opening question of an interesting article appeared in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica on 01-03-2013.
Indeed, a lot of titles of top Italian books of the month use the pronoun “you”, but also other Italian international famous books: Non ti muovere (Don’t move) by Mazzantini, Ti prendo e ti porto via (I’ll Seal you Away) by Ammaniti, Tu, mio (Me, you) by Erri de Luca …
In reading the article, I was thinking that this topic may sound different in other languages. I mean, in neo-Latin languages like Italian and Spanish there are two distinct forms: one for the second person singular pronoun (Italian: tu/ Spanish: tú) and another for the second person plural pronoun (Italian: Voi/ Spanish: Vosotros), but in English there is a single form for both: you. I wondered how it may be perceived by English speaking people an English translation from these neoLatin languages.
Anyway, the use of “you” is an intentional approach and suggests a direct call we can’t but accept, it’s like an “automatism to accept”. “You” is also ,above all others, the confidential and emotional form to be addressed to someone we feel close to us, as explained by Valeria Parrella in La Repubblica:
(…) è il tu di I want you, chiamata diretta, perentoria, alla quale bisogna decidere di sfuggire ma è un automatismo aderire; ed è la forma confidenziale affettiva per eccellenza: si dà del “tu” a chi si elegge vicino a sé.
It seems to me that the presence of “you” in the titles of a book is already a sign of involvement between the reader and the writer, and sometimes it sounds as a peremptory invitation to sharing a story.
What about you? Do the books addressing as “you “in the title attract more your attention in a bookshop?