I’d planned to do a roundup of books with identical titles, just to show you that copyright law doesn’t protect a title. (Some titles are protected by trademark, though. Consider the For Dummies and Chicken Soup for the Soul series.) I had Word by Word by Kory Stamper (2018) and Word by Word by Anne Lamott (2004); Great Expectations (1980) by Landon Y. Jones—popularizer of “Baby Boom”—and Great Expectations by that British guy (1861). The contemporary American author Elif Batuman has built her publishing career on titles intentionally borrowed from Dostoevsky: The Idiot, The Possessed
Next on my list was Last Call, the title of a true-crime book by Elon Green, published in March 2021, about a serial killer who preyed on gay men in 1990s New York.
And also the title of Daniel Okrent’s 2010 history of Prohibition.
But that turned out not to be the last word on books titled Last Call. Far from it.
Here’s what I discovered.