Thursday, March 27, 2014

Odd book titles, redux

We've mentioned the Diagram Prize before in these pages, looking at its annual winners.  It's awarded for the oddest book titles of the year.  The latest round has just ended.

How to Poo on a Date has won the 36th annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.

The book, by Mats & Enzo, published by Prion Press, topped a public vote to find the oddest title, in one of the closest contests in prize history. In the end, How to Poo on a Date: The Lovers' Guide to Toilet Etiquette, took home the title with 30% of the vote, beating into second place Are Trout South African? by Duncan Brown (Pan South Africa) and The Origin of Feces by David Waltner-Toews (ECW Press), which both captured 23% of voters.

. . .

Horace Bent, The Bookseller’s diarist and the custodian of the prize, said: “The public have chosen wisely. Not only have they picked a title that truly captures the spirit of the prize, they have selected a manual that can help one through life’s more challenging and delicate moments.”

There's more at the link.

Frankly, I can't recall that I had any particular problems with that sort of thing during dates . . . but maybe Africa is a more understanding environment for that sort of thing!

In sadly related news, the man behind the Diagram Prize has just died.  The Telegraph reports:

Bruce Robertson , who has died aged 79, was managing director of the book design and artwork partnership Diagram and founder of the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title, an award presented annually by The Bookseller magazine.

Robertson and his business partner Trevor Bounford dreamed up the award in 1978 to avoid boredom at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair. The first award went to Proceedings Of The Second International Workshop On Nude Mice. Other winners over the years have included How to Avoid Huge Ships; Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop; and Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way.

The Diagram Prize (which earns the winner a passable bottle of claret and — possibly — a boost in sales) is unique in that spotters and judges do not actually have to read the books in question. Indeed, they are actively discouraged from doing so, in case a close knowledge of the subject leads them to conclude that the titles are less odd than they first appear.

. . .

With his shaggy beard, Union flag ties and black beret, Robertson cut a colourful figure on the book fair scene.

There's more at the link.  Thanks, Mr. Robertson, for putting a smile on many avid readers' faces, including my own.


1 comment:

CenTexTim said...

Not a title, but my favorite sentence in a book is this one:

"As it happened Houdini’s unexpected visit had interrupted Mother and Father’s coitus."