Scene: My local Indian-food joint, 9:30 PM on a Saturday night. I have a habit of going there for a late supper and feeling like the modern-day equivalent of Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks." I am eating Mutter Paneer and reading Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild, thoughtfully sent to me by my mother last week.
SERVER: You know he dies in the end, right?
ME: (assuming this is the standard joke my server makes whenever he sees someone reading a book in the restaurant) Ha ha...
(Then it occurs to me that my server might actually be a literature-lover who has fallen prey to the dread Title Confusion.)
ME: You know, this isn't actually the book where he dies in the end.
ME: That one is Into the Wild -- about the kid who goes to the Alaskan wilderness and dies there. This one is just Wild. It's a memoir, by a woman, about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail -- so you see she couldn't die in the end, or there wouldn't be any book!
SERVER: Oh gosh! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean -- I wasn't even thinking about that other book--
ME: It's OK... I thought it was funny, how their titles are similar.
SERVER: It's just something I always say when I see people reading.