Quick, what’s the first thing that hooks you when you see a pile of books? What makes you pick one from dozens of titles?
Oh look, there’s the answer I was going for: the title.
While the cover art adds to a book’s “face value”, it usually doesn’t tell as much story as does a book’s title. Many a bookworm had fallen for books because of the carefully-crafted titles that are designed to flirt with the readers’ eyes. It’s pretty safe to say that bestseller books are flirts with brains and personality. Some books are great at flirting, others flop. Have you ever picked a book with great, catchy title, only to be disappointed after spending five, ten minutes with it? I know, right?
Sometimes, for some books, this flirting goes wrong, which brings me to today’s feature: the winners of the Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year.
The Bookseller is a trade publication established in 1858. In 1978, during their annual Frankfurt Book Fair, a member of the Diagram Group (a London-based graphics company, probably an exhibitor at that time) got bored and came up with the idea of searching for the oddest book title at the fair. The first ever Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year was a medical publication from the University of Tokyo entitled Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice. It got so popular among fair-goers that it soon expanded to include titles outside of the annual fair.
Here are some of the oddest titles that made it into the Bookseller/Diagram’s shortlist:
It’s worth noting that most (if not all?) of these books are non-fiction. Some of them are really serious stuff; it’s just difficult to tell with their titles. xD Want moarrr? This list has all the winners and shortlisted contenders for each year. All winners got to take home a bottle of champagne, not to mention good (?) publicity and laughs.
What’s the oddest book title you’ve personally seen? And if you were a first-time writer, will you use an odd title to get publicity for your book? If so, how odd would you go? Let’s talk about your odd titles at the comments!