Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Publishing news

Hot, with a soothing breeze and lots of little clouds.


Every so often, our doughty postina lugs up the hill a copy of The Author, the esteemed Journal of the Society of Authors. When it appears lodged in the grille of a ground floor window, it is a pleasant reminder of what I did before I became an expat dirt removal executive. 

In this quarter's edition I read that Horace Bent has announced the winners of the 2009 Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year. 

The Diagram Prize was first awarded by old friend and former employer, Bruce Robertson in the 1970s. Bruce was a large-ish man with a ZZ Top beard, a bulging belly, and braces with dinosaur badges on them. He had a reputation for roaring at his staff while under the influence late in the afternoon. "Get on with it yer RABBITS," he would bellow from behind a pile of CRC in his cubby-hole of an office, "I can 'ear ya chuntering on!" As an illustrator by trade he gave us writers and editors short shrift. He always referred to text as 'the wigglies' - in fact he was the only packager I ever met in publishing who didn't really give a toss about whether the editorial was consistent and correct, as long as the diagrams worked and the labelling was straight. I always liked him. His irreverence made me laugh, and I enjoyed his dark sense of humour. 

Bruce and his Diagram colleagues thought up the prize in a bored moment (of which there are many) during the Frankfurt Book Fair, and publishing staff of all persuasions have been playing the game of finding silly titles to add to the shortlist ever since. Beats anything so tedious as doing business.

On the shortlist this year were: Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter by David Crompton, The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease by E. Scherl and M. Dubinsky, and the title that made even my German husband howl with laughter, Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich by James A. Yannes. 

I was, however, fairly disappointed in the winner, which was that rivetting bestseller (sales topped 34 in the UK and more than 580 in the US), Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimina. Perhaps it's because I've not the foggiest idea what a hyperbolic plane is (anyone? anyone?).

I shall leave you today with a few of the winners from previous years which have had me falling off my seat since I looked them up a few minutes ago. In 1993, we had American Bottom Archaeology and, seemingly along the same lines in 2002, there was Living with Crazy Buttocks. I guess the Brits just love butt jokes. 2006 brought us The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: a guide to field identification, which followed hard on the heels of 2004's Bombproof your Horse. 

The very first award was given in 1978 to The Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice, and that was swiftly followed in 1979 by The Madam as Entrepreneur: career management in house prostitution. And finally, two of my personal favourites: Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality, by Glen C. Ellenbogen, which romped home in 1986, and 1984's Highlights in the History of Cement, which I imagine must also have been the shortest book in the entire history of the awards.


But, you know, I still think Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich was the best of the lot - Mr Yannes, you was robbed! Yer RABBIT!





6 comments:

LadyFi said...

I love all these odd titles! Just hilarious.

Carol said...

LMAO!!! OMG those are so funny...how on earth so they come up with these things!!

Hehehe, thanks for sharing

C x

Karin said...

I checked out some of the titles and was really disappointed that no one had written reviews - smile! LOL I would have loved to read excerpts. What a fun post!

Woodman said...

What a hoot.

Vanessa. said...

I voted for Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich -- still screaming with laughter

bettyl said...

Those are just way too funny! Thanks for the chuckle.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Publishing news

Hot, with a soothing breeze and lots of little clouds.


Every so often, our doughty postina lugs up the hill a copy of The Author, the esteemed Journal of the Society of Authors. When it appears lodged in the grille of a ground floor window, it is a pleasant reminder of what I did before I became an expat dirt removal executive. 

In this quarter's edition I read that Horace Bent has announced the winners of the 2009 Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year. 

The Diagram Prize was first awarded by old friend and former employer, Bruce Robertson in the 1970s. Bruce was a large-ish man with a ZZ Top beard, a bulging belly, and braces with dinosaur badges on them. He had a reputation for roaring at his staff while under the influence late in the afternoon. "Get on with it yer RABBITS," he would bellow from behind a pile of CRC in his cubby-hole of an office, "I can 'ear ya chuntering on!" As an illustrator by trade he gave us writers and editors short shrift. He always referred to text as 'the wigglies' - in fact he was the only packager I ever met in publishing who didn't really give a toss about whether the editorial was consistent and correct, as long as the diagrams worked and the labelling was straight. I always liked him. His irreverence made me laugh, and I enjoyed his dark sense of humour. 

Bruce and his Diagram colleagues thought up the prize in a bored moment (of which there are many) during the Frankfurt Book Fair, and publishing staff of all persuasions have been playing the game of finding silly titles to add to the shortlist ever since. Beats anything so tedious as doing business.

On the shortlist this year were: Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter by David Crompton, The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease by E. Scherl and M. Dubinsky, and the title that made even my German husband howl with laughter, Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich by James A. Yannes. 

I was, however, fairly disappointed in the winner, which was that rivetting bestseller (sales topped 34 in the UK and more than 580 in the US), Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimina. Perhaps it's because I've not the foggiest idea what a hyperbolic plane is (anyone? anyone?).

I shall leave you today with a few of the winners from previous years which have had me falling off my seat since I looked them up a few minutes ago. In 1993, we had American Bottom Archaeology and, seemingly along the same lines in 2002, there was Living with Crazy Buttocks. I guess the Brits just love butt jokes. 2006 brought us The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: a guide to field identification, which followed hard on the heels of 2004's Bombproof your Horse. 

The very first award was given in 1978 to The Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice, and that was swiftly followed in 1979 by The Madam as Entrepreneur: career management in house prostitution. And finally, two of my personal favourites: Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality, by Glen C. Ellenbogen, which romped home in 1986, and 1984's Highlights in the History of Cement, which I imagine must also have been the shortest book in the entire history of the awards.


But, you know, I still think Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich was the best of the lot - Mr Yannes, you was robbed! Yer RABBIT!





6 comments:

LadyFi said...

I love all these odd titles! Just hilarious.

Carol said...

LMAO!!! OMG those are so funny...how on earth so they come up with these things!!

Hehehe, thanks for sharing

C x

Karin said...

I checked out some of the titles and was really disappointed that no one had written reviews - smile! LOL I would have loved to read excerpts. What a fun post!

Woodman said...

What a hoot.

Vanessa. said...

I voted for Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich -- still screaming with laughter

bettyl said...

Those are just way too funny! Thanks for the chuckle.