The Diagram Prize: Vote for the weirdest book title of the year

Ryu Spaeth
The WeekFebruary 22, 2013
Book publishing, it turns out, is a very open and welcoming business.

Past winners include Cooking With Poo and How to Avoid Huge Ships

Since the late 1970s, the Diagram Prize has been awarded to the weirdest book title of the year, shining a spotlight on such oddities as Cooking With Poo, Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way, and The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories. (Just so no one is alarmed, "Poo" is a nickname for a Thai chef that also means "crab.") On Friday, the contenders for this year's prize were unveiled, and readers can vote for their favorite at We Love This Book.

The nominees are:

Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop, by Reginald Bakeley

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God's Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis, by Tom Hickman

How Tea Cosies Changed the World, by Loani Prior

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How to Sharpen Pencils, by David Rees

Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts, by Jerry Gagne

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Was Hitler Ill?, by Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle

For what it's worth, Philip Stone, the coordinator of the prize, has already weighed in. "I am particularly fond of How to Sharpen Pencils," he said. "Not only because of its oddity, but because I find something beautiful in the fact a publisher has been brave enough to publish a book concerning a centuries-old implement in hardback in the digital age. Upon my next trip to my local independent bookshop, I hope to see it alongside all the pornographic literature that appears to be keeping the entire book industry in rude health."

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How does the latest batch compare with past winners, including How to Avoid Huge Ships, Versailles: The View From Sweden, and If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs? See a full list of winners here.

(via Paris Review)

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