Oddest book titles prize shortlist announced

<p>The Bookseller magazine has announced the shortlist for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year:<br /><br /><em>I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen</em><br /><em>How to Write a How to Write Book</em><br /><em>Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues</em><br /><em>Cheese Problems Solved</em><br /><em>If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs</em><br /><em>People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood</em></p><p>Horace Bent, <em>The Bookseller</em> diarist and custodian of the Diagram Prize, said: &quot;I confess: I have been anxious that as publishing becomes ever more corporate, the trade&rsquo;s quirky charms are being squeezed out. Lists are pruned, targets are set, authors are culled. But happily my fears have been proved unfounded: oddity lives on. Your submissions for the 2007 Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year were as rich and varied as ever. Drawing up the six-strong shortlist was a fraught and wildly controversial process.</p><p>&quot;I must pay homage to those books that narrowly missed out on a shortlist place. These were, in no particular order: <em>Drawing and Painting the Undead</em>; S<em>tafford Pageant: The Exciting Innovative Years 1901&ndash;1952</em>; and <em>Tiles of the Unexpected: A Study of Six Miles of Geometric Tile Patterns on the London Underground</em>. All sound like they are positively thrilling reads, and I do hope that the authors will try again next year. Honourable mention should also go to two titles that were ruled out because they were published too long ago: an unlikely-sounding HR manual called <em>Squid Recruitment Dynamics</em>, and the fascinating anthropological tome <em>Glory Remembered: Wooden Headgear of Alaska Sea Hunters</em>.</p><p>Now comes the public vote, return to the home page <a href="..//" target="_blank" title="thebookseller.com/Diagram-Prize">www.thebookseller.com</a> to register your selection. The winner will be announced on 28th March.</p><p>This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Diagram Prize, which honours books from the fringes of publishing. A gift book will be published in the autumn celebrating the best Diagram entries through the years. There will also be a public vote for the &quot;Diagram of Diagrams&quot; &ndash; the oddest book title ever.</p><p>The titles are spotted and submitted by publishers, booksellers and librarians around the world. The spotter of the winning book receives a magnum of champagne. The authors and publishers benefit from the publicity, prestige and sales boost that always accompanies the Diagram Prize.<br /><br /><br /><em>I Was Tortured by the Pygmy Love Queen</em><br />By <strong>Jasper McCutcheon</strong> (The Nazca Plains Corporation)<br />This is a rare fictional entry for the Diagram Prize. The novel stars Captain Henry Mitchell, a US Navy fighter pilot who is forced to abandon his Grumman after battling Japanese Zeros over the Pacific. &quot;Parachuting into rainforest canopy, Mitchell is greeted by a lost tribe of pygmies and their insanely cruel leader, a female; a Caucasian westerner like himself who subjects him to unholy tortures both painful and erotic . . . One strong man, stripped naked, bound and helpless, versus one female tyrant and her legion of little devils&mdash;who will win this battle?&quot; Mr McCutcheon&rsquo;s follow-up novel is just out: Go Ahead, Woman, Do Your Worst! Erotic Tales of Heroes Chained.<br />Spotted by Emma Jepson of Borders UK<br /><br /><em>How to Write a How to Write Book</em><br />By <strong>Brian Piddock</strong> (Neil Rhodes Books) <br />The writing guide to end all writing guides, and one sure way to get into print. The publisher says: &quot;It&rsquo;s the book that will tell all you less-than-successful authors where you went wrong. No longer must you try and sell your novel or play or memoir and be rejected again and again. Now you can write your own How to Write book, and at last success will be yours.&quot;<br />Spotted by Amanda Hall of Amanda Hall Rare Books<br /><br /><em>Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues</em><br />By <strong>Catharine A MacKinnon</strong> (Harvard University Press)<br />This is a question long debated by biologists, psychotherapists and misogynists the world over. Annoyingly, MacKinnon doesn&rsquo;t claim to have the definitive answer. Instead, her book is a &quot;critique of the trans-national status quo that also envisions the transforming possibilities of human rights . . . this bracing book makes us look as never before at an ongoing war too long undeclared.&quot;<br />Spotted by The Bookseller&rsquo;s non-fiction previewer Caroline Sanderson<br /><br /><em>Cheese Problems Solved</em><br />Edited by <strong>P L H McSweeney</strong> (Woodhead)<br />For the dedicated cheese enthusiast, this &pound;135 guide promises to answer 200 or so of the most commonly asked questions about cheese and the cheese-making process, &quot;from problems arising during the preparation of cheesemilk and cheese ripening to queries regarding cheese analysis and the nutritional profile of cheese&quot;. You&rsquo;ll be delighted to hear that cheddar, blue cheese and mozzarella each merit their own sections.<br />Also spotted by Caroline Sanderson<br /><br /><em>If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs</em><br />By <strong>Big Boom</strong> (Simon &amp; Schuster)<br />This self-help book, written by a man for the benefit of women, seems to be dividing reader opinion. At Amazon.com, one fan recommends it to &quot;those in need of a simple refresher course on what they were taught as youngsters&quot;. But another retorts: &quot;If you were Whitney and you were dating Bobby, then I can see how you would find this book helpful. However, if you&rsquo;re a college-educated female with more than a high school education, then walk on by.&quot;<br />Spotted by Canada-based bookseller Nicholas Hoare<br /><br /><em>People Who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood</em><br />By <strong>Dee Gordon </strong>(Ian Henry Publications)<br />Local history titles are a rich source for the Diagram Prize. This one promises to bring Southend to life, by &quot;looking back at the people who helped make their town what it is today&quot;. Ms Gordon&rsquo;s research took two years.<br />Spotted by Vivian Archer of Newham Bookshop</p>