Weird Reading: The Diagram Prize is back…

Yes, my annual excuse to giggle at silly book titles has returned. The Diagram Prize is my favourite literary award for that very reason – it’s not about the usual up-their-own-backsides critics pontificating over the actual writing; this is voted for by the public and it’s all about the book titles, the odder the better. 2016 marks the 38th year of the prize, which is run, as ever, by The Bookseller.

Here are this year’s decidedly odd nominees:

Behind the Binoculars: Interviews with Acclaimed Birdwatchers by Mark Avery and Keith Betton (Pelagic Publishing)

Paper Folding with Children by Alice Hornecke and translated by Anna Cardwell (Floris Books)

Reading from Behind: A Cultural History of the Anus by Jonathan Allan (Zed Books)

Reading the Liver: Papyrological Texts on Ancient Greek Extispicy by William Furley and Victor Gysembergh (Mohr Siebeck)

Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig (Fuel)

Too Naked for the Nazis by Alan Stafford (Fantom Films)

Transvestite Vampire Biker Nuns from Outer Space: A Consideration of Cult Film by Mark Kirwan-Hayhoe (MKH Imprint)

For more information on each title (I’m rather fascinated by the mere idea of a book on Soviet bus stops, although I bet the winner will be something about bottoms!) visit The Bookseller‘s website here – and you can vote for your favourite here.

You’ve got until 23.59 on 15th March 2016 to vote for your choice of the oddest book title of the year, and I’ll update this post as soon as the results are announced.

UPDATE 18/03/16: And the winner is…. Too Naked For The Nazis! More on the result here.

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The Return of the Diagram Prize…

It’s that time of the year again – the Diagram Prize is back. For readers unfamiliar with my slight obsession over this rather strange literary award, it is an annual prize given, rather wonderfully, to the book with the oddest title of the year. It began in 1978 when Trevor Bounford and Bruce Robertson of The Diagram Group were bored at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and has run ever since (apart from 1987 and 1991, when odd book titles were sadly thin on the ground).

Now administered by The Bookseller, previous seriously odd winners have included Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice (1978), Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop (2012) and the utterly fabulous Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories (2003) (I still want to know if that’s a big book of horse stories for lesbians, or a big book of stories about lesbian horses). Can this year’s shortlist better those?

Here are this year’s odd contenders:

Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People That Used to Love Them by Diana Rajchel
Nature’s Nether Regions by Menno Schilthuizen
The Ugly Wife is Treasured at Home by Melissa Margaret Schneider
Strangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte
Where do Camels Belong? by Ken Thompson
Advanced Pavement Research: Selected, Peer Reviewed Papers from the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Pavements Design, Construction, and Rehabilitation, December 2-3, 2013, Shanghai, China edited by Bo Tian
The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones by Sandra Tsing-Loh

To find out more about each of these very odd titles, visit We Love This Book.

If you’d like to take part and vote for your favourite, you can make your choice here.

You’ve got until 00:01 on Saturday 21st March to decide which of these titles is the oddest of them all – the winner will be announced on Friday 27th March. I’ll update you with details of the winning entry as soon as I can!

UPDATE 31/03/15: And the winner is… Strangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte. Not the title I expected to win, but there you go! Lots more info here.

UPDATE: The 2014 Diagram Prize

At the end of last month, I wrote my annual post about the Diagram Prize – which is probably the oddest, and certainly my favourite, literary prize of the year. The winner of the 2014 Prize was announced yesterday after a public vote, with top spot going to the very weirdly-titled (and possibly a little pointless?) How To Poo On A Date: The Lovers’ Guide To Toilet Etiquette by Mats & Enzo.

In a statement, the publishers of How To Poo On A Date drily commented:

We are very happy and honoured that the public thought our book worthy of first place in this much sought-after prize; we’d have been disappointed to be number two.

Oh dear

The 2014 Diagram Prize: More Odd Books

Well folks, we’ve reached that time in the literary calendar again. The nominations have been announced for the 2014 Diagram Prize, which is awarded annually to the book with the oddest title of the year – and just so happens to be my favourite book award for that very reason (you can read about previous Diagram Prizes here).

So, as usual, here are this year’s prestigious nominees (and yes, these are all real, published books)…

Working Class Cats: The Bodega Cats of New York City by Chris Balsiger and Erin Canning

Are Trout South African? by Duncan Brown

How to Poo on a Date by Mats & Enzo

Pie-ography: Where Pie Meets Biography by Jo Packham

How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God by Ian Punnett

The Origin of Faeces by David Walter-Toews

I’m not sure what my choice would be yet, but I’m currently leaning towards the South African fish for some reason. If you’d like to cast your vote for this year’s prizewinner, visit We Love This Book here. The results will be announced on March 21st and I’ll be reporting back on the title of the victorious volume…

The Diagram Prize 2013: UPDATE

Back in early March, I posted about The Diagram Prize, a literary award which exists to celebrate the oddest book title of the year.  After a public vote, the 2013 winner was announced a week ago, with the prize going to Reginald Bakely’s Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop.

Horace Bent of The Bookseller magazine (which runs the annual prize) obviously approved of this year’s winner, commenting:

In Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop the public have chosen a hugely important work regarding the best way to protect one’s fowl from the fairy realm’s most bothersome creatures.

The award was accepted on behalf of Mr Bakely by the book’s US editor Clint Marsh, who was clearly delighted at the prize:

Reginald and I take this as a clear sign that people have had enough of goblins in their chicken coops. Our campaign against the fairy kingdom continues.

Consider yourselves warned, fairy creatures all….

The Diagram Prize 2013: The oddest book award of the year

It’s that time of the year again. Forget the Oscars, bypass the BAFTAs, and just ignore the Grammys and the Brits, because the Diagram Prize has returned once more for its annual celebration of all that is literary and odd. Yes, the quirkiest literary prize of the awards season is back and celebrating its 35th birthday…

Awarded by The Bookseller magazine since 1978, the Diagram Prize exists to honour not the book of the year, nor even the oddest book of the year. Instead, the prize goes to the oddest book title of the year; a concept that greatly appeals to me (as you can probably see from my posts on previous Diagram Prize nominees here and here).

So, without further ado, here’s the nominations for this year’s oddest book title:

Was Hitler Ill? – Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle (Polity Press)

Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts – Jerry Gagne (Foy’s Pet Supplies)

God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis – Tom Hickman (Square Peg)

Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop – Reginald Bakeley (Conari)

How Tea Cosies Changed the World – Loani Prior (Murdoch)

How to Sharpen Pencils – David Rees (Melville House)

I’m still debating my choice of favourite title, although I’m wondering how you goblinproof anything – and I’m singularly curious to know how a whole book can be written about sharpening pencils…

If any of these bizarre titles have piqued your curiosity too, you can vote for your favourite here – the winner will be announced on 22nd March.

The Diagram Prize: More literary oddness

I’m not a great fan of this time of year. OK, the days are visibly lengthening (which is good), but it is still cold and dark and grey in London, with a generous side-order of rain just to make things that much cheerier. I really can’t be doing with this lack of sunshine, it leaves me distinctly grumpy.

But there is one annual event which happens every February that never fails to make me smile, and that is the announcement of the Diagram Prize shortlist. For those who have never encountered the joys of the Diagram, it’s an unusual literary prize – awarded annually by The Bookseller magazine since 1978, it rather wonderfully celebrates the book with the oddest title of the year.

As I blogged about the Diagram in great detail last year, I’ll just leave you with the shortlist for the 2010 prize to ponder this time – and I can assure you that they are all very definitely odd indeed:

8th International Friction Stir Welding Symposium Proceedings – Various authors (TWI)

The Generosity of the Dead – Graciela Nowenstein (Ashgate)

The Italian’s One-night Love Child – Cathy Williams (Mills & Boon)

Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way – Michael R Young (Radcliffe)

Myth of the Social Volcano – Martin King Whyte (Stanford University Press)

What Color Is Your Dog? – Joel Silverman (Kennel Club)

My personal favourite? Without question, it has to be Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way of course.Can you imagine?

You can vote for your favourite odd title from the shortlist at The Bookseller’s website – the results will be announced on 25th March 2011.

The World’s Oddest Book Prize

Hooray! My favourite book prize of the year is back…

There are many literary awards in this country. Some may consider the prestigious Booker to be the pre-eminent literary prize in Britain; others may perhaps feel the same way about the Whitbread.

I don’t.

For me, there’s only one literary prize worth its while, and that is the Diagram Prize, run since 1978 by The Bookseller magazine to honour the oddest book title of the year; an idea that greatly appeals to my inner geeky bookworm. Much excitement thus ensued in my household when I learned that The Bookseller had announced their shortlist for the 2009 award last week.

Those of you who have followed Another Kind Of Mind from its old home may remember that I have blogged about the Diagram before – for someone with a mind like mine, the mere idea of a prize like this is irresistible, especially so when previous winners and nominees have included such fantastically, epically odd tomes as these; weird book titles for weird books from all over the world:

Continue reading “The World’s Oddest Book Prize”