The British publishing industry mag The Bookseller has been running its Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year competition for 31 years now, and the 2008 shortlist has just been announced. The nominees are:
- I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen
- How to Write a How to Write Book
- Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues
- Cheese Problems Solved
- If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs
- People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood
On The Bookseller website, Horace Bent, the custodian of the Diagram Prize, talks a bit about the selection process:
I confess: I have been anxious that as publishing becomes ever more corporate, the trade’s quirky charms are being squeezed out. Lists are pruned, targets are set, authors are culled. But happily my fears have been proved unfounded: oddity lives on. Your submissions for the 2007 Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year were as rich and varied as ever. Drawing up the six-strong shortlist was a fraught and wildly controversial process.
For our money, though, none of the selected titles is as merrily bizarro as last year’s winner, The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Except, maybe, for one title that The Bookseller ruled out for missing the publication cut-off date: Squid Recruitment Dynamics, by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.