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Saturday, February 21, 2009

You Can't Judge a Book by Its Title

Friday, the finalists for the annual Diagram Prize were announced. This prestigious award goes to Britain's oddest book title of the year. The nominees for this year are:

  • Baboon Metaphysics
  • The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais
  • Curbside Consultation of the Colon
  • The Large Sieve and its Applications
  • Strip and Knit with Style
  • Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring

After reading the list my first thought was, "I'm terribly sorry, but is this the best they could do?"

Yes, these are slightly peculiar titles. However, one could easily do much better (or worse, depending on your viewpoint) than this. For example, I'm sure many people are perplexed and bemused by The Large Sieve and its Applications, but the only thing I got out of the title is the reminder that I'm glad I'm not a mathematician.

It seems to me then that the only way to improve this contest is for those of us in the business* of writing odd and peculiar prose to offer a helping hand. So, for those of you potential authors wanted to get a leg up on next year's Diagram, please consult the following list for title ideas. All I ask is that if you choose one and it wins, be sure to sent me a cut of the prize money.** I'm also open to a bit of ghost writing, for a percentage of the advance and royalties, of course.


  • Seven Bidets for Seven Brothers
  • Klingon for Lovers
  • Figeting Whilst Amongst the Capybara
  • My Pants Are Full of Noodles
  • So You Want to Be Oprah? -A Brief Guide to World Domination
  • Places Slim Whitman Has Flown Over
  • The Wit and Wisdom of Bigfoot
  • How to Skin a Jellyfish
  • In the Teeth of the Zipper
  • Effluence: Our Friend From Within
  • Zurppo, the Flying Burmese Boobolatch
  • A Young Person's Guide to Playing the Electric Slide Whistle
  • The Viscous Kitchen: Cooking with Slime
  • Elementary Quantum Hopscotch a Go Go
  • Solving Foriegn Energy Dependence with Flatulence
  • My Year Among the Beavers
  • Trampoline Hideaway
  • A Brief History of Thyme
  • Zurppo Goes Camping
  • Leapfrogging Through the Ages
  • Knickers on Parade
  • The Sumptuous Journey of Woopy the Platypus
  • Cardinal Richelieu's Beach Blanket Dance Party!
  • Knife Juggling for Beginners
  • Slurping Down the Mississippi
  • A Kerfuffle in Krakow
  • Binky: The Forgotten Pope
  • Zurppo Bowls a Perfect Game
  • Hypotonic Pnuemonical Trapezoidal Free for All
  • A Guide to Governmental Shoes
  • Gilded Cheese Sandwiches
  • Tank You Very Much: A George S. Patton Stickerbook
  • Zurppo Finds a Nickel
  • Modular Automobiles
  • Girls of the Antarctic: A Bikini Pictorial
  • Pele's Magic Pony
  • Alistair Bottoms Cheetos Drips Elongated Frankfurter Gaspipe Harridan Igloo Java Kettle Lester Mission Nettles Otters Pasteurised Quotient Riboflavin Samsonite Tarantula Undulating Vampire Winsome Xylophone Yak Zips: A Love Story
  • Zurppo Beomes Foreign Minister
  • The Sinister Ice Cream Cone
  • Obviating Your Destiny
  • The Ellipse of the Overalls
  • Zurppo Hugs a Tree Bat
  • Penguins in Power
  • How to Tickle a Warthog
  • Zurppo Goes to Kathmandu
  • Zurppo Cracks His Knuckles
  • Zurppo Triumphs
  • Zurppo Gets a Haircut
  • Zurppo Rides the Elevator
  • Zurppo Marries Joan Collins
  • Zurppo Loves Beans
  • Zurppo and the Magical Smell
  • Zurppo Fights Chuck Norris to a Draw
  • Zurppo Tastes Butter
  • Zurppo Has Elective Surgery
  • Zurppo Discovers Tungsten
  • Zurppo and the Angry Al Sharpton
  • Zurppo's Last Treehouse
  • Zurppo Gets a Massage
  • Zurppo Wins American Idol
  • Zurppo Steals Bob Dylan's Guitar Strap
  • Zurppo's Swollen Pustule
  • Zurppo Was Never Here
  • Zurppo Limps Across the Finish Line

Of course, there's always this list, as a backup.

*Or hobby, as this blog doesn't pay much at all. Nearly $4 U.S. from Google AdSense in the last two years doesn't buy much in the way of groceries.
** Stew and Nuffy, there's still time to get in on this with your own lists. Stew? Nuffy? Helllloooo?

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