A shortlist of six titles has been chosen for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, including studies of Adolf Hitler's health, pigeon housing and sharpening pencils.
Was Hitler Ill? by Henrik Eberle and Hans-Joachim Neumann (Polity) will contend Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts by Jerry Gagne (Foy’s Pet Supplies) and How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees (Melville House) for the prize, which celebrates its 35th birthday this year.
Also in the running are God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis by Tom Hickman (Square Peg); Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley (Conari) and How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior (Murdoch).
Philip Stone, the Diagram Prize's co-ordinator, said: "People might think this prize is just a bit of fun, but I think it draws welcome attention to an undervalued art. Publishers and booksellers know only too well that a title can make all the difference to the sales of a book. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian has sold almost a million copies to date,
while books such as Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared perhaps all owe some of their success to their unusual monikers.”
The winner will be chosen by a public vote on http://www.welovethisbook.com/diagram-prize-2013 and announced on 22nd March.
The Diagram Prize was conceived at Frankfurt Book Fair by Diagram Group founder Bruce Robertson. It was first awarded in 1978 to Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.