From our man in the trenches, A. Mitchell, comes a link to be reckoned with: The Worst Book Titles of the Year. I feel that I am not infrequently treated to truly strange books, but Cheese Problems Solved has got to far weirder than anything I am likely to see on a syllabus anytime soon.
Fortunately for us, democracy is not dead in superlative-book awards. You can help decide which book sports the absolute worst title. But as always, "worst" should be written "best slash worst slash best again," since we are looking for the best worst-title, which in itself is a mark of excellence.
I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen
How to Write a How to Write Book
Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues
Cheese Problems Solved
If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs
People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood
Horace Bent, The Bookseller diarist and custodian of the Diagram Prize, said: "I confess: I have been anxious that as publishing becomes ever more corporate, the trade’s quirky charms are being squeezed out. Lists are pruned, targets are set, authors are culled. But happily my fears have been proved unfounded: oddity lives on. Your submissions for the 2007 Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year were as rich and varied as ever. Drawing up the six-strong shortlist was a fraught and wildly controversial process.
"I must pay homage to those books that narrowly missed out on a shortlist place. These were, in no particular order: Drawing and Painting the Undead; Stafford Pageant: The Exciting Innovative Years 1901–1952; and Tiles of the Unexpected: A Study of Six Miles of Geometric Tile Patterns on the London Underground. All sound like they are positively thrilling reads, and I do hope that the authors will try again next year. Honourable mention should also go to two titles that were ruled out because they were published too long ago: an unlikely-sounding HR manual called Squid Recruitment Dynamics, and the fascinating anthropological tome Glory Remembered: Wooden Headgear of Alaska Sea Hunters.