That time of year again for my favourite literary event: The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title.

In 2009, the field was particularly strong. But at last, the results are in. Click on each book if you want to invest in these epic tomes:

  1. Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes  –  42%
  2. What Kind of Bean is This Chihuahua?  –  30%
  3. Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich  –  11%
  4. Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter
  5. Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots
  6. The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Each, in its own way, is a work of incomparable genius. More info at the Bookseller, from which this is quoted:

Horace Bent, The Bookseller magazine’s legendary diarist and custodian of the prize, said: “Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes proved to be the initial front runner. It defended its poll-topping position despite strong support for the spoon-carrying Third Reich, once again attempting to muscle in on someone else’s territory.

“But the public proclivity towards non-Euclidian needlework proved too great for the Third Reich to overcome. If only someone had let the Poles know in ’39.”

Bent added: “I confess that when the credit crunch began to bite British publishing, I feared for the future of this most prestigious of literary awards. Surely oddly-titled books would suffer in a climate that was prompting publishers to focus on more bankable works—like frankly lamentable biographies of Z-list ‘celebrities’ and those depressing white books with doleful children on the cover.

“But I am delighted that I was being overly pessimistic and that oddly-titled books proved recession-resistant. I believe Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes is a worthy champion to stand alongside the likes of Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers and Living with Crazy Buttocks as winners of this distinguished award.”

In case you’re interested, I’ve blogged the awards in previous years here:


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Martin

    This is sterling work you’re doing here, Mark. I would have attempted something like it myself had it not already been so nicely done here.

    By the way, do you happen to know the closing date for the 2010 Prize?

  2. quaesitor

    thanks for the encouragement! I’ve hunted around for details the Diagram pages at The Bookseller but in vain – but it seems the best way is to send a nomination is to tweet Horace Bent, the adjudicator… and if 2010 is anything like 2009’s prize, then the closing date is probably around Feb 2011…

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