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Monday, 22 September 2008

Eye-catching book titles

Browsing in Waterstones the other day (I really shouldn't do that), my eye was caught by "How To Avoid Huge Ships, And Other Implausibly Titled Books". This is obviously intended for the Christmas market and not a bad entry in the field since it doesn't involve putting rude words on the front cover or attempting a lame parody of Harry Potter / Lord of the Rings / [fill in the blank].

The book is based on the Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year. (See also the Guardian article The Must Reads.) Sadly, opportunist schoolboy smut seems to play a significant part here too but there are some gems to be found such as the following (many of which are available via Amazon):
  • Highlights in the History of Concrete (winner 1994)
  • The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification (winner 2007)
  • Tattoed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan (shortlisted 2006)
  • How Green Were the Nazis? (shortlisted 2006)
  • The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History, and Its Role in the World Today (winner 1984)
I feel that the last one should be available on the breakfast table in the staff dining room at Wonersh where the question of marmalade can, at times, trump discussion of the merits of the theology of Paschasius Radabertus. It would be good to have an authoritative source to consult on the matter.
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