Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Morning Humor: The Oddest of the Odd

Along the same lines as the recent Best of the Bookers award, is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year with the "Diagram of Diagrams--a public vote to find the oddest book title of the past 30 years." You may vote for your favorite here. And the contenders are:
  • 1978: Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice
  • 1979: The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution
  • 1980: The Joy of Chickens
  • 1981: Last Chance at Love: Terminal Romances
  • 1982: Population and Other Problems
  • 1983: The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling
  • 1984: The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History and Its Role in the World Today
  • 1985: Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How to Increase the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts
  • 1986: Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality
  • 1987: No Award given in 1987
  • 1988: Versailles: The View From Sweden
  • 1989: How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art
  • 1990: Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual
  • 1991: No Award given in 1991
  • 1992: How to Avoid Huge Ships
  • 1993: American Bottom Archaeology
  • 1994: Highlights in the History of Concrete
  • 1995: Reusing Old Graves
  • 1996: Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers
  • 1997: The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition
  • 1998: Development in Dairy Cow Breeding and Management: and New Opportunities to Widen the Uses of Straw
  • 1999: Weeds in a Changing World
  • 2000: High Performance Stiffened Structures
  • 2001: Butterworths Corporate Manslaughter Service
  • 2002: Living With Crazy Buttocks
  • 2003: The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories
  • 2004: Bombproof Your Horse
  • 2005: People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It
  • 2006: The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification
  • 2007: If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs
For some reason, I'm drawn to 1992's winner: How to Avoid Huge Ships. I don't know why exactly, but I can't stop laughing about that one. This is actually a serious book for pleasure boaters about how not to get run over by larger boats.

The reviews of the book are as funny as the title. Here are a few examples:
  • This book delivered! It really helped me learn to avoid huge ships -- I hardly ever have any problems with them anymore. In fact, I'm well on my way to reliably avoiding medium-sized and smallish ships, and even the occasional boat or skiff.
  • This book lacks criteria for discerning between huge ships and merely really big ships. Some well-designed lists, charts or colorful pop-up sections would have been nice for readers who were unsure what size of ship they were avoiding.
  • Trimmer's book brings up many fine points during its unusually colorful descriptions of what I regard as, "ballast-makers", those close-calls with...huge ships. He includes the standard wave-your-flag boys attention getting techniques, but goes deeper to include a section on ramming speed.
The winner of the Diagram of Diagrams will be announced on Friday, September 5th.

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