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Diagram Prize shortlist revealed

A guide to Estonian socks, an examination of the role of the fungus in Christian art, and a celebration of the humble office chair are among the books in contention for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year—the prestigious literary award run by The Bookseller since 1978.

A total of 64 books were submitted for the latest instalment of the prize, which celebrates the very best in books with odd titles published around the world last year (2011). Judges from both The Bookseller and its sister consumer magazine, We Love This Book, whittled down the original submissions to a shortlist of seven. This is one more than the traditional six, in recognition of the high standard of oddity witnessed in publishing last year.

This year's winner will be announced on 30th March. Votes can be cast here.

The full shortlist:

A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two by Peter Gosson (Amberley). A book that documents the sand trade from its inception in 1912 to the present day, focusing on the Welsh coast.

Cooking with Poo by Saiyuud Diwong (Urban Neighbours of Hope). Thai cookbook. “Poo” is Thai for “crab” and is Diwong’s nickname.

Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World by Aino Praakli (Kirjastus Elmatar). Covers styles of socks and stockings found in Estonian knitting.

The Great Singapore Penis Panic: And the Future of American Mass Hysteria by Scott D Mendelson (Createspace). An analysis of the “Koro” psychiatric epidemic that hit the island of Singapore in 1967.

Mr Andoh's Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge by Stephen Curry and Takayoshi Andoh (Royd Press). The story of Koichi Andoh, who travelled from Japan to Yorkshire in the 1930s to train workers at a hatchery business the art of determining the sex of one-day-old chicks.

A Taxonomy of Office Chairs by Jonathan Olivares (Phaidon). Exhaustive overview of the evolution of the modern office chair.

The Mushroom in Christian Art by John A Rush (North Atlantic Books). In which the author reveals that Jesus is a personification of the Holy Mushroom, Amanita Muscaria.

Horace Bent, the custodian of prize, said: "Never has the debate raged so fiercely as to which books should be put forward for the shortlist. Which is why this year we have selected seven shortlistees, rather than the traditional six. And what a shortlist we have."

Philip Stone, the prize administrator, said: "Despite the global economic turmoil, publishers continue to invest in imaginative, diverse and niche publications, and this award wonderfully reflects that.

"Sadly, though, and despite publishers regularly boasting that they are moving with the times, just one of this year’s seven shortlisted titles is currently available to buy in a digital format: Scott Mendelson’s intriguing work, The Great Singapore Penis Panic."

The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year was first awarded in 1978 to Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.

Votes can be cast here.

Comments: Scroll down for the latest comments and to have your say

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Good choice, Liz, though my personal favourite is Cooking with Poo. As to how to vote, you pretty much just click the bright red link above that says 'Votes can be cast here'.

Hm. Not sure why I'm giving that away, with a bottle of passable claret up for grabs...

Dear The Bookseller,
I humbly offer my thanks for being nominated for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year for 2011. I thought long and hard on the title that eventually became, “The Great Singapore Penis Panic and the Future of American Mass Hysteria.” I had sought a title to prick the ears of the reading public, to penetrate their imagination. Thus, your recognition serves as a rewarding climax to my efforts. Nonetheless, while it is fine to be stimulating in choosing a title, the underlying obligation is to be uplifting. Those who have been in this position know that it is a delicate and difficult balance. Thus, I find the tribute you have paid me particularly elevating. Thanks to you, the Bookseller organization, and to all of your members.

Scott D. Mendelson, M.D., Ph.D.

There are links to the voting page in the article or just go straight to thebookseller.com/diagram

I would like to thank the Judges from both The Bookseller & We Love This Book, For Short-listing Mr Andoh's Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge. The nomination and short-listing means a lot to my Independent Publisher, Royd Press and I. We are also thankful to Country Publications Ltd Skipton,(Dalesman) for their support in making the nomination.

It would have been easy to call the book "The Chicken Sexers Diary" But we chose to pay due respect to Mr Andoh's memory and cultural sensitivities and make 'the unusual' a sub text, so it's pleasing that this was recognised by the panel.

I wish all the short-listed books success from this publicly regardless of the outcome.

Stephen Curry

Too late for this year, but I'd like to nominate this title for next year - http://goo.gl/sw0RR

"I would like to thank the Judges from both The Bookseller & We Love This Book, For Short-listing Mr Andoh's Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge. The nomination and short-listing means a lot to my Independent Publisher, Royd Press and I. We are also thankful to Country Publications Ltd Skipton,(Dalesman) for their support in making the nomination."

It was a pleasure to nominate your book.

Oh, slightly disappointed. I don't think the titles are that odd this year. They just sound, well, dull.

Hi Publishers, I am currently doing a dissertation about the effects of the recession on marketing activities within the publishing industry, if any of you could please spare 5 minutes doing a questionnaire I would really appreciate it, pls click the following link if you are interested. thanks! http://www.leedsmet.ac.uk/lsif/the/surveys/Rettie/truffle.htm

As a Singaporean and a man who wish to help protect my fellow men's penises, I am voting for The Great Singapore Penis Panic and urge everyone to do the same.

I remember the great penis panic of 1967. I was 8 years old at the time. I just didn't realize it reached all the way to Singapore.

Good choice, Liz, though my personal favourite is Cooking with Poo. As to how to vote, you pretty much just click the bright red link above that says 'Votes can be cast here'.

Hm. Not sure why I'm giving that away, with a bottle of passable claret up for grabs...

Dear The Bookseller,
I humbly offer my thanks for being nominated for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year for 2011. I thought long and hard on the title that eventually became, “The Great Singapore Penis Panic and the Future of American Mass Hysteria.” I had sought a title to prick the ears of the reading public, to penetrate their imagination. Thus, your recognition serves as a rewarding climax to my efforts. Nonetheless, while it is fine to be stimulating in choosing a title, the underlying obligation is to be uplifting. Those who have been in this position know that it is a delicate and difficult balance. Thus, I find the tribute you have paid me particularly elevating. Thanks to you, the Bookseller organization, and to all of your members.

Scott D. Mendelson, M.D., Ph.D.

There are links to the voting page in the article or just go straight to thebookseller.com/diagram

I would like to thank the Judges from both The Bookseller & We Love This Book, For Short-listing Mr Andoh's Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge. The nomination and short-listing means a lot to my Independent Publisher, Royd Press and I. We are also thankful to Country Publications Ltd Skipton,(Dalesman) for their support in making the nomination.

It would have been easy to call the book "The Chicken Sexers Diary" But we chose to pay due respect to Mr Andoh's memory and cultural sensitivities and make 'the unusual' a sub text, so it's pleasing that this was recognised by the panel.

I wish all the short-listed books success from this publicly regardless of the outcome.

Stephen Curry

"I would like to thank the Judges from both The Bookseller & We Love This Book, For Short-listing Mr Andoh's Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge. The nomination and short-listing means a lot to my Independent Publisher, Royd Press and I. We are also thankful to Country Publications Ltd Skipton,(Dalesman) for their support in making the nomination."

It was a pleasure to nominate your book.

Too late for this year, but I'd like to nominate this title for next year - http://goo.gl/sw0RR

Oh, slightly disappointed. I don't think the titles are that odd this year. They just sound, well, dull.

Hi Publishers, I am currently doing a dissertation about the effects of the recession on marketing activities within the publishing industry, if any of you could please spare 5 minutes doing a questionnaire I would really appreciate it, pls click the following link if you are interested. thanks! http://www.leedsmet.ac.uk/lsif/the/surveys/Rettie/truffle.htm

As a Singaporean and a man who wish to help protect my fellow men's penises, I am voting for The Great Singapore Penis Panic and urge everyone to do the same.

I remember the great penis panic of 1967. I was 8 years old at the time. I just didn't realize it reached all the way to Singapore.