The Odd Book

This post isn’t about “the odd book” as in “I have read the odd book or two” but more in the vein of “this book I read is very odd”.  Regular readers will know that the Lone Grey Squirrel avidly follows international awards like those for odd and funny scientific research (IgNobel awards) and awards for works of fiction so bad that they are good  ( Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest) .   I recently discovered a new international award that is equally good at recognising the bad, the ugly  and the funny.

It is the “tadaaaaa……”   Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year  .  This annual award goes to the most interesting, weird and unusual book title.  Please note that most of these books are serious and well researched literary works but the titles can make our imagination run wild and tickle our funny bones.

This was started during the Frankfurt Book Fair of 1978 and the winner of the inaugural award was “Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice”.  As funny and as odd as that might seem, as a scientist, I actually studied nude mice.  Before you think that nude mice is part of a study on sexual perversion, let me explain that nude mice are actually specially bred laboratory mice with suppressed immune systems used in medical research. Ya….so now you know…….nude mice……try to get that image out of your mind!

Here are a selection of other past winners that made this squirrel chuckle;

The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution (1979)

The Joy of Chickens (1980)

Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How to Increase the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts (1985)

How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art (1989)

Bombproof Your Horse (2004)

How to Poo on a Date (2013)

And finally, this year’s winner, Too Naked For the Nazis


Finally, here are some other fascinating literary oddities that I scraped together for your edification;

book joy
Oh Joy!
book knitting
Clearly a “must read” for dog lovers
book pussy
Didn’t want cat lovers to feel left out of the fun. (I have actually seen this one on sale at a charity bazaar)
book poo
Yes, we all just know that the discourse would eventually degenerate to “poo”
book missionary
Ok, I hesitated about posting this cause I have a lot of respect for Mother Teresa but I think she would have seen the funny side of this and really, what on earth was the author thinking when he came up with this title?!?!!?



8 thoughts on “The Odd Book”

  1. When going out into nature, always bring along “How To Shit In The Woods” and “Cooking With Poo” just in case you ever have to survive on your own for a while…

  2. Not an odd book title, but an interesting paper [sorry if you already know it] : Fuzzy, Homogeneous Configurations, a scientific study by Maggie Simpson, Edna Krabappel and Kim Jong Fun.

    (It’s published, story here.)

  3. Mago,
    Surely they should have realised that it is Lisa who is the smart one! Maggie’s too young! Thanks for sharing the article. I read it with interest. The proliferation of dubious scientific articles in dubious scientific publications is a real problem. A serious problem.

  4. Follows Sokal’s hoax from the nineties.
    I may have mentioned it – sorry if I did, don’t want to bore you – a friend of mine always smuggled into his articles & books an invented, a non-existing title/author, a nonsensical reference in a footnote : It was never ever critisized.

  5. No, never met Prof Sokal, sorry to disappoint you.
    The friend I’m referring to is a (now) retired European Ethnologist. It is fun to find the Easter-eggs he hid in his texts. Guess he read too much Borges.

  6. Mago,
    One of my professors once wrote a paper as an April Fool joke. It was about the time AIDS was becoming understood as a worldwide epidemic. Suddenly everyone wanted to be doing AIDS research and there were some very dubious research going on just so that they can jump on the band wagon. So he and his colleagues wrote this prank paper about how alpine skiing can cure AIDS. But to their surprise, they actually got a letter from some charity Foundation offering to fund their research!

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