Very odd indeed!

space-hopper-oddballs-boxBritain is famous for being a country of eccentrics, of oddballs, if you like. (I imagine that you’ve already guessed this from reading my blog.)

For the past thirty years, the Bookseller has awarded the Diagram Prize to the book with the oddest title. Online voters chose a cheesy title: The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-miligram Containers of Fromage Frais. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? The Fromage Frais book has been crowned Oddest Book Title of 2008. Actually, it seems to be a fairly topical book as it looks at the use of dairy packaging – which, after all, is not very environmentally-friendly. Still, it would be rather difficult to sell fromage frais in paper bags, I imagine.

The runner-up was the mystifyingly titled book: Baboon Metaphysics. Which just goes to show that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys – or, at least, baboons.

So, how did it all start? Well, Bruce Robertson of the Diagram Group was really bored at the Frankfurt Book Fair back in 1978, so he started looking for weird and wonderful book titles as a way of passing the time enjoyably. The very first book to win the prize was called Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice. (I never realized that mice wore clothes, so this was quite an eye-opener!)

Not content with finding oddball titles every year, the Bookseller also set out to find the oddest title of the past thirty years! Not an easy task with so many to choose from. The Nude Mice book was a hot contender, but then People who Don’t Know They’re Dead led the polls for a full three weeks. Those naked mice were shredding their clothes in anger – well, they would have if they had had any.

Just as the voting was closing, a dark horse popped out from the woodwork (I do love mixing my metaphors!) and won the crown as the Oddest Book Title in the past thirty years. The winning title? Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers! Apparently, it’s a comprehensive look at a sector of Greece’s postal routes. Might be worth investing in if you have insomnia, for example…


The winner of this Diagram of Diagrams also faced stiff opposition from Living with Crazy Buttocks (don’t we all?) and the 2007 winner, If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs.

The fact that Greek Rural Postmen won just goes to show that mail deliveries are far more important than mice, the dead and soft porn.

Well, as I said before, Britain is a nation of eccentrics!

23 thoughts on “Very odd indeed!

  1. ok, I had to crack up at each and every title because I could imagine my own story that would go with each!!!

    But my fave is If you want closure in your relationship…. too funny!


  2. Your blog is so interesting- I always find myself learning something when I read your blog- although I kinda knew from before that Englishmen were a bit “different” if you will, these titles on these odd books I’ve never heard of but find them hillarious, especially the last two, the crazy buttocks and closure of a relationship starts with closing your legs!!!! HAHAHAHA!! And the photo of the monkey’s arse…uff..not a pretty morning sight but I’m gonna forgive you for that one…;-))
    Have a super day Lady Fi!!!


  3. Excellent post! The little man has a particularly fondness for taking photographs of baboons bottoms every time we visit the zoo – as it reminds him of a certain person’s bottom – and its not mine thankfully!! He thoroughly enjoyed that photo this morning!

    – little man’s Mum


  4. Funny! That was some interesting trivia. I’d never heard of this award or these book titles. I wonder if some people are picking names for their books just to win this award!


  5. Boy, this would be a hard job.

    I think they should embellish the titles. For instance, “People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead, But We All Do,” could be written as a party-goers guide on how to avoid the fatally pompous.

    I have to say my favorite one, though, would have to be the book on relationships. The advice couldn’t take a more common sense, straightforward approach. And if one just followed the advice, you could even skip the purchase of the book! 🙂


  6. Love the titles and love eccentrics too. Mysister and her husband and children are returning to Oz in August after iving in Britain for 11 years. Cant wait but theri son is staying to go to uni there. I have visted many times and lived in Scotland for some years. Yes Britain does have its eccentrics – makes it more interesting.
    I loved this title – If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs.


  7. I would’ve voted for Living with Crazy Buttocks. I am going to laugh every time I think of that for days. 😀 What the???

    This list of titles makes me wonder why people say it’s hard to get a book published. *~* LOL


  8. People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead?! Is this Sylvia Browne stuff or perhaps Hollywood people who don’t yet know that their careers are over?!
    Funny post, as usual! 🙂


  9. Well, it looks like I’ve certainly been frequenting the wrong book stores!
    I L’dMAO on all of these… but I wouldn’t mind a copy of the
    “Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers” for my recently retired Old Guy. (postman for 41 years) I think it would be right up his alley!!


  10. Crazy buttocks — this is my favorite :0 I love your blog. Every time I come here I never know what you’ll have for me. This one was brilliant.


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