When it comes to strange competitions, then the aptly entitled the Oddest Book Title of the Year award – last year won by the volume Goblin proofing One’s Chicken Coop, by Reginald Bakeley and Clint, has to rank among the most amusing you can find.
This year, the shortlist for the prize includes titles as diverse as Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter- Musings by parasitologist David Crompton – to the unmissable Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich, which is the early favourite, apparently. This annual award, by the Bookseller magazine, was established in 1978, the first ever winner the inspirational Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice, though other notable winners have included How to Avoid Huge Ships and The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling.
Also on the shortlist this year, for this annual Diagram award, are Governing Lethal Behaviour in Autonomous Robots, alongside children’s book What Kind of Bean is this Chihuahua? Not that worm hunter is the first of the type to feature, because in 1981, New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers featured, while it was Earthworms of Ontario in 1995.
Just to whet your appetite even more for bizarre reading matter, you should know the rest of the shortlist comprises The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes, which in fact is the bestselling book on the shortlist! The crochet manual has actually sold over 600 copies, where the worm hunter book has yet to register a sale. having sold 34 copies in the UK and 588 copies in the US, compared to zero for Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter, according to the Bookseller.
It seems, according to the website at www.thebookseller.com, that picking a shortlist is very difficult, not surprising with dozens of book titles such as the stunningly interesting How Tea Cosies Changed the World, but they have finally settled on their choices, and now the public need to vote in order that a winner can be formally announced in late March.
The Bookseller commented that the vast number of submissions had caused the creation of one of the most competitive shortlists since the award began. Since such titles can include things like How to Sharpen Pencils, and A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, you can imagine easily that none of the three winners will be likely to feature in the top 100 best-selling books list anytime in the foreseeable future. All the same, as far as the authors are concerned, it still is kudos, of a sort, because any publicity is good publicity, isn’t it?
I have been writing for pleasure for half a century, but only started writing for money around 1994. Since then I have had a few thousand articles, stories and poems published on line and in print all round the world.
I am now 63 years old, male, from Burnley in the UK, and apart from writing, I love to read - mainly crime thrillers, conspiracy theory books and science fiction, though I also love films, gardening and chatting with my wife who is also my best friend.
I enjoy feedback from readers, and interaction with fellow writers. Anyone who gets in touch with me will get a reply. I am always happy to read and comment upon the work of others, as I think we writers are something of a definite sub-species of humanity!