Britain 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!