Spoons, Chihuahuas, and Autonomous Robots make Odd Title shortlist

Nazi spoons, murderous cyborgs and the musings of an invertebrate hunter are among the subjects tackled in the books nominated for the latest installment of the Diagram Prize.

The prize, which celebrates the oddest book title of the year, received a record number of submissions in 2009, with 90 books suggested to 2008’s 32. After an intensive judging process, the "Very Longlist" was whittled down to a more palatable six by The Bookseller’s diarist and prize custodian Horace Bent.

Voting has opened on the six books at www.thebookseller.com. The winner will be announced on 26th March.

Bent said: “Selecting a shortlist proved a Herculean task, as many books carried titles that furrowed the brow—not least How YOU™ Are Like Shampoo, and Map-based Comparative Genomics in Legumes. However, the vast sum of submissions has, in my humble opinion, created one of the most competitive shortlists in the 32 years of the prize. And I look forward with incalculable anticipation to the result of the public vote.

“I would like to thank fans of The Bookseller’s award for scouring the bookshelves and sending in so many submissions. Without them, and without the huge public support at voting time, The Diagram Prize would not be the eminently prestigious literary award that it is”.

The 2008 Diagram Prize was won by Professor Philip M Parker’s unforgettable The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60mg Containers of Fromage Frais, while other previous winners include: If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs, and Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers.

The shortlist:

* David Crompton's Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter (Glenstrae Press)
* James A Yannes' Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich (Trafford)
* Daina Taimina's Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes (A K Peters)
* Ronald C Arkin's Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots (CRC Press)
* Ellen Scherl and Maria Dubinsky's The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (SLACK Inc)
* Tara Jansen-Meyer's What Kind of Bean is This Chihuahua? (Mirror)

Horace Bent's blog on the shortlist