because the "place" is not actually supposed to be one in the actual title
Really? Is that a rule for this challenge, or your own rule?
It's my own "rule", and I thought I made clear that I wouldn't count that book myself but this won't mean anything for anyone else. Play the game as you like as long as it's within the global rules. I decided to play only a part of it (and I have reasons why I don't want to play the rest), but that shouldn't mean anything for anyone else.
Well, let me put it that way: I really like a challenge that is about place names. So I want to do a challenge that is about place names. But I don't think that the fact that a word shares a sequence of letters with some random place name somewhere in the world makes this word a place name. A carcass is neither a car nor an arc, not even an ass although it might have one.
There are so many, also so many short, place names in the world that it's probably possible to match almost every title to one of them if you try hard enough. So the challenge basically boils down to matching random letter sequences from the title to random letter sequences from a list of place names, while there is nothing in the title which is in any way connected to geography.
Well. Usually, when I see a challenge in the challenge forum, I read the rules until I see the point "embedded words are allowed", then I close the thread and never open it again. The main reason is, as explained above, that matching letter sequences to random titles is IMHO something entirely different than finding titles matching a specific theme (and I kind of dislike stuff that claims to be something different than it actually is). The other reason is that it's too much language-dependent for my taste. Languages are different in letter sequence variety, in the actual character set, and in how many short words there are. In one of the first challenges I took part years ago, which was about plant names, someone was lucky that in his language (neither english nor german) there was one two-letter plant name which, additionally to ocurring rather often within words, matched an equivalent of "the". There was a prize, but nobody else had the slightest chance of winning. Seeing these endless lists of identical matches felt like cheating to me, was both boring and frustrating, and convinced me that embedded words are not such a great idea.
However, I learned that most people here seem to like embedded words, and they have become standard for challenges. I don't like them so I usually stay out of the challenges.
I had joined this challenge many years ago, before I had made up my mind about this, and I don't want to miss it as I still like the search for place names very much. There is nothing to win anyway (for me, at least). Well, and my narrowed rules are still a subset of the official rules, so everything is fine, isn't it?