"Iconic" book titles

What are some book titles that became expressions, or commonly used figures of speech, onto themselves?

I can think of a few, but surely there are more. Probably lots. Here’s some to start:

Brave New World

  • how many times have people introduced various articles, presentations, etc., on modern genetics, or cloning, and so forth, with something along the lines of: “Today, I visited the genetics lab of cloning expert, Dr. Gene Anrand. Let me tell you, it’s a brave new world . . .”


  • use of this one is so hackneyed, that’s it’s truly now in the realm of cliche: “The latest government measures should convince even the most sanguine among us that 1984 is no longer 26 years ago, or even the future as seen from 1948. It’s today.”

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

  • not quite as bad the other two, John LeCarre’s classic is now thrown around to include anyone returning to anything: “Reggies Mays decided to abandon his salary protest and has come in from the cold just in time to rejoin the team for their home opener”.

Who’s next?

I know that’s not really how you should use the word “iconic”, but, hey, we’re among friends.

And, apologies if this has been done before (I did a search and found nothing).


The Stepford Wives

Sort of different from the ones above since its more about the physical book then the text inside it, but War and Peace is basically a stand in for any really long book.


to describe any precociously young female

“Brave new world” is a quotation from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Huxley took it from there.

Wow! Those are all outstanding.

I guess Uncle Tom used to be, but not so much anymore.

ETA: I had no idea njtt (but that was pretty obvious, wasn’t it?)

Babbitt – for a particular type of businessman.

The Time Machine – generic for a mechanical time travel device.

It Can’t Happen Here – a phrase used to mean that a particular type of political philosophy could not occur in the US, though it was meant ironically.

Oooh, I’ve got another one:

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • self explanatory

The Wizard of __________

And “Stepford” became an adjective. Levin also gave us "Rosemary’s Baby.

*All’s Well That Ends Well

Much Ado About Nothing

Comedy Of Errors*

The Right Stuff

Follow The Money

Moneyball, by Michael Lewis about bringing stat’s to Baseball vs. just “trusting your gut” - used constantly now in the sports world…

Menlo Park?

No, Wall Street!

The Ugly American

Peyton Place

Don Quixote. Occasionally you’ll hear someone called a Don Quixote, and it’s also given us the adjective quixotic.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Thompson’s follow-up books and essays gave us the phrase “fear and loathing.”

The Three Musketeers

The Rise and Fall of ___

(Generically) Bible, Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Catalog - each used metaphorically as much as to describe a specific book