Monday, March 03, 2008

the oddest prize

in the UK, around 100,000 books are published each year, and a similar number of prizes is conferred on them. Think of the weirdest award you can imagine, and it probably exists already. While some of them are plain depressing, the

diagram prize for the oddest book title of the year

always cheers me up. I remember some titles that were shortlisted many years ago, such as:

"Procrastination and task avoidance: a practical guide"

which goes to show, it's better to have an odd title than a boring one, at least it will be memorable.
This year, my favourite title on the shortlist is:

"How to write a how to write book"

You can vote for the award on the website of the booksellers magazine.
By the way, the titles are all meant to be genuine, i.e. without any irony or being odd on purpose. I am told the people who pick the shortlist are very careful to exclude all titles which they suspect of having been oddified on purpose, with an eye on the extra publicity the diagram prize can bring.

While the prize doesn't appear to have a proper website of its own, the Wikipedia entry has a list of all the winners from the last 30 years.

PS it's all a question of perspective, of course. I am sure that the authors of books like "Greek Rural Postmen and their Cancellation Numbers" will find my book titles obscure and theirs perfectly normal ...

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