May 01, 2012

Disappointed by the Diagram Prize for Odd Titles

From The bookseller 

"Cooking with Poo, a Thai cookbook penned by Bangkok resident Saiyuud Diwong and published in Australia, has trumped its rivals to scoop The Bookseller's coveted Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year award.

"The 114-page cookbook was crowned the winner having received the majority share of the public vote at thebookseller.com and its sister consumer website welovethisbook.com. In total, 1,363 votes were cast, with the breakdown as follows:

1) Cooking with Poo by Saiyuud Diwong (Urban Neighbours of Hope) 38% 2) Mr Andoh’s Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge by Stephen Curry and Takayoshi Andoh (Royd Press) 22% 3) The Great Singapore Penis Panic and the Future of American Mass Hysteria by Scott D Mendelson (Createspace) 13% 4) Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World by Aino Praakli (Elmatar) 12% 5) The Mushroom in Christian Art by John A Rush (North Atlantic Books) 8%  6) A Taxonomy of Office Chairs by Jonathan Olivares (Phaidon) 4%  7) A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two by Peter Gosson (Amberley) 3% "
     
  Well. I for one am disappointed. I have always looked forward to finding out every year what quirky title had been added to the list of winners of the Diagram Prize, from Greek postmen and their cancellation numbers (I have a feeling a readers' poll once chose this one as the best of the best) to How to avoid large ships. I think this tendency to nominate titles which have clearly been picked by the publishers as ones which would play to the peanut gallery is betraying the distinguished origin of the prize, which was finding a way to stave off boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

In case you are saying, well, have you got something better, I do have a candidate. It's a Canadian bestseller called Slow Death by Rubber Duck, described on its website like this: "Provocative and groundbreaking, Slow Death by Rubber Duck reveals how the living of daily life creates a toxic soup inside each of us".

If I am going to be a purist, though, I should probably admit that this title could also be put in the intentionally-clever-rather-than-unintentionally-odd basket. Luckily, I have a back-up title, spotted on the library's bestseller shelves last year. Here it is:

The bonus years diet : 7 miracle foods including chocolate, red wine, and nuts that can add 6.4 years on average to your life by Ralph Felder and Carol Colman.

I love this! What kind of person writes a title like that? "6.4 years on average?" On average? Wouldn't on average be "more than six" or "six or seven", or maybe, "a handful" (five fingers on a hand!), or even "quite a few"?

I'm putting forward Steve Carell as the right person to play Ralph Felder if they ever decide to make a movie about the "dramatic studies" (I quote from the book summary) which led to the writing of this book.

In case you wanted to know, Poo means "crab" in Thai, and is the author's nickname. The library doesn't have a copy but when I searched the catalogue for it, I was offered The ladies' loos: from plumbing to plucking, a practical guide for girls as an alternative.

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 03:00
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