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Posts Tagged ‘book titles

“Judging books by their covers is seriously underrated”*…

 

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How to Poo on a Date has won the 36th annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.

The book, by Mats & Enzo, published by Prion Press, topped a public vote to find the oddest title, in one of the closest contests in prize history. In the end, How to Poo on a Date: The Lovers’ Guide to Toilet Etiquette, took home the title with 30% of the vote, beating into second place Are Trout South African? by Duncan Brown (Pan South Africa) andThe Origin of Feces by David Waltner-Toews (ECW Press), which both captured 23% of voters.

The rest of the shortlist [pictured above] was made up of early frontrunner Working Class Cats: The Bodega Cats of New York City by Chris Balsiger ands Erin Canning (One Peace Books), with 14%; Pie-ography: Where Pie Meets Biography by Jo Packham (Quarry) with 6%; and How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God by Ian Punnett (Harmony Books), with 4% of the votes…

Previous titles from Mats & Enzo, How to Poo on HolidayHow to Poo at Work and How to Bonk at Work, were all previously nominated for the prize. Tom Tivnan, features and  insight editor at The Bookseller, and Diagram Prize administrator, said: “The two were in danger of becoming perpetual Diagram bridesmaids, like Beryl Bainbridge and the Booker.”

He added: “In recent years, Diagram Prize voters have showed their catholic tastes by selecting rarefied food science titles (The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, 2008), zoological studies (Bombproof Your Horse, 2004), and highbrow experimental literature (The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories, 2003). Yet after Mats and Enzo’s win this year, with The Origin of Feces on the shortlist, and Saiyuud Diwong’s Cooking with Poo taking the crown in 2011, an all too-clear trend emerges. Diagram devotees have spoken, and spoken in no uncertain terms: poo wins prizes.”

No prize other than the honour of the win is traditionally given to the winner of the Diagram, which was founded as a way of relieving boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair by Diagram Group co-founders Trevor Boundford and Bruce Robertson in 1978.

Readers can read the full release at The Bookseller, and can follow (Roughy) Daily’s coverage of earlier year’s competitions here and here.

* Amy Smith, All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane

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As we load up our Kindles, we might send fabulous birthday greetings to Hans Christian Andersen; he was born on this date in 1805.  A prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, he is best remembered for his (often curiously-titled) fairy tales.  Those tales– which include “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “Thumbelina,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes”– have inspired plays, ballets, and both live-action and animated films.

In Andersen’s honor this date– his birthday– is celebrated as International Children’s Book Day.

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Judging books by their covers, Part Two…

From our old friends at Abe Books, “The Weird Book Room,” where readers will find the title above, and such volumes as…

More incredible incunabulae in “The Weird Book Room.”  [Part One is here.]

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As we refold our fly leaves, we might send sympathetic birthday wishes to John Clare; he was born on this date in 1793.  Clare’s first volume of poetry, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820) brought him overnight fame. But his later collections were never as popular, and financial problems ruined his health. He spent the final 23 years of his life in an asylum, writing poetry that has led modern critics to regard him as one of the most important 19th-century English poets.

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Written by LW

July 13, 2012 at 1:01 am

“First Impressions”…

… was the tentative title with which Jane Austen worked before she settled on Pride and Prejudice.

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George Orwell’s publisher convinced him that “The Last Man in Europe” simply wasn’t going to send copies flying off booksellers’ shelves, convincing Orwell to switch to his back-up title, 1984.

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Discover more literary “might-have-beens,” featuring F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Heller, Bram Stoker, and others– at Mentalfloss.

As we think again about our vanity plate orders, we might recall that it was on this date in 1943 that then-26-year-old poet Robert Lowell, scion of an old Boston family that had included a President of Harvard, an ambassador to the Court of St. James, and the ecclesiastic who founded St. Marks School, was sentenced to jail for a year for evading the draft.  An ardent pacifist, Lowell refused his service in objection to saturation bombing in Europe.  He served his time in New York’s West Street jail.

Lowell (left) in 1941, with (his then wife) novelist Jean Stafford, and their friend, novelist and short-story writer Peter Taylor, at Kenyon College, where they studied with John Crowe Ranson (source)

 

 

What we have here is a failure to communicate…

Summer’s ending, and with it, the Summer Reading Season…  So, as readers shift back into gear, and think back over the books that occupied their breaks, Dan Wilbur offers Better Book Titles, where one will find such clarifying emendations as:

AKA, Guns, Germs, and Steel: Jared Diamond

AKA, The Symposium: Plato

AKA, The DaVinci Code: Dan Brown

AKA, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo: Stieg Larsson

One can find many, many more– and submit one’s own– here.

As we vacuum the sand from our volumes, we might wish a happy birthday to author Jacqueline Susann; she was born on this date in 1921.  Having been disappointed by her luck as an actress and a model, Ms. Susann turned to the typewriter.  Her first novel, Every Night, Josephine (or as Better Book Titles might have it, My Poodle and Me), was a best-seller.  Her second, Valley of the Dolls (or, a la BBT, Booze, Babes, and Pills) was the best-seller:  it topped the chart for 22 weeks, and by the time of Susann’s death in 1974, had sold over 17 million copies, making it the best-selling novel of all time.  According to The Internet Public Library, it’s still Number One, with current cumulative sales of 30 million (two million copies ahead of runner-up Gone With the Wind).

Jacqueline Susann (source)

The Annals of Judgment, Vol 69: Books, Covers, and All That…

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Further to the recent post on weird books, hot news from the Guardian, via Flavorwire:

From Bacon: A Love Story to An Intellectual History of Cannibalism; from Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich to The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin, Bookseller magazine has announced the longest ever longlist for its annual Diagram prize for the oddest book title of the year.

A strong leaning towards the scatological characterises many of the 49 longlisted books, with Peek-a-poo: What’s in Your Diaper?, Father Christmas Needs a Wee, Is the Rectum a Grave? and The Origin of Faeces all vying for a place on the shortlist.

The prize was created in 1978 “during a particularly dull day at the Frankfurt Book Fair.”   Past Winners have included:  American Bottom Archaeology, Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality, How to Avoid Large Ships, and Living with Crazy Buttocks.  Last year’s winner– The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais— was controversial in that it was written by a computer.

The shortlist will be announced, , and voting will commence, on February 19– one can check in on contest founder Horace Bent’s Blog (on the Bookseller site)… or if that’s just not up-to-the-minute enough, one can follow the amusing Mr. Bent on Twitter.

As we head for the library, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that BBC Television produced and aired the world’s first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of Czech playwright  Karel Capek’s  R.U.R., in which Capek had coined the term “robot” (as in “Rossum’s Universal Robots”).

Scene from the BBC production

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