Friday, March 28, 2008

The Best Way To Find Closure

Have I mentioned that I love lists? I do. I love 'em. So neat. So orderly. So very, very informative. And that leads me into today's tale of amusement, courtesy of the fine folks over there at A book which could be called a self-help manual (if one was being generous) titled "If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs " has earned the honor of being voted the Oddest Book Title of the Year by The Bookseller Magazine.

The manual is authored by someone named (what I can only hope is a pseudonym) Big Boom. Big Boom has decribed the manual as a "self-help book, written by a man for the benefit of women". The South could use a wise man such as yourself, Mr. Boom. Have you ever been to Florida? "I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen" was apparently a very close second, having just barely been edged out by the winner named above. And rounding out the Top Three was "Cheese Problems Solved", a book that I, personally, must read. Fourth place gave us "How To Write A How To Write Book", while fifth place was staked out by "Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues". And firmly seated in sixth was "People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood." (People who mattered? Um, OK?)

The editor of The Bookseller, a one Joel Rickett, said of the winning title, "So effective is the title that you don't even need to read the book itself." And while I was too busy laughing to think of it that way, he's totally right. The title does say it all. He also added that the title "makes redundant an entire genre of self-help tomes". Indeed it does, Joel. Indeed it does.

There were two titles that were ruled out because (oddly enough) they were published too long ago, but I feel they deserve some mention. There was, what may well have been some sort of maritime instruction manual entitled, "Squid Recruitment Dynamics" (I cannot imagine why anyone would want to or need to recruit a squid, but it's good to know that there are guidelines to help you through the process if you ever find yourself squidless and in need.) and the likely thrilling anthropological tome "Glory Remembered: Wooden Headgear of Alaska Sea Hunters."
(OK, I understand "published too long ago", but how freaking long ago are we talking? Wooden helmets? I'm all for the helmet, don't get me wrong, but carving them out seems like a lot of work. Especially if you consider that, during the glory days of the Alaskan Sea Hunters, they were probably most likely to get speared in some place other than that to which a helmet would provide aid. Then again, there wasn't the Internet during the glory days, so I guess they had to kill time somehow.)
Other "must mentions" would have to include, "Drawing and Painting the Undead", "Stafford Pageant: The Exciting Innovative Years 1901–1952" (Innovative, perhaps. Exciting? Hard to believe.), "Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice" (There was a need for more than one workshop on nude mice?! WTF?) and "Tiles of the Unexpected: A Study of Six Miles of Geometric Tile Patterns on the London Underground." (That IS unexpected!)

In previous years, the contest has seen entries such as,"The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling" in 1983, "Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual" in 1990, "Bombproof Your Horse" in 2004.

The Bookseller began their contest in 1978. I'm a bit dismayed that I have missed 19 years worth of this, as I'm sure you are as well. But I'll try and catch us up a little bit with (and this is where the list part comes in) a list containing a mere sampling of some of the previous winning titles of this fine, fine contest.

Drum roll, please. And the previous winner's of The Bookseller's Oddest Book Title Award are.....
High Performance Stiffened Structures (Define "high performance".)

Living with Crazy Buttocks (The roommate from hell.)

How To Avoid Huge Ships (And what to do when they just won't sink.)

The Joy of Chickens (Ah, yes, joyful KFC goodness!)

American Bottom Archaeology (Rock bottom, I'm guessing.)

Versailles: The View From Sweden (No word on whether or not it's in English.)

Re-using Old Graves (Efficient!)

Highlights in the History of Concrete (Probably should have been "highlight".)

The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition (Is that a book in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?)

Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers (Guess it's a postal Greek thing.)

The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories (Most excellent bedtime reading.)

People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It (Finally!)

The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification

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