Readersforum's Blog

February 22, 2013

Diagram prize shortlist points the way to this year’s oddest book titles

A colourful shortlist for the 2013 Diagram prize for the oddest book title ... coloured pencils.

A colourful shortlist for the 2013 Diagram prize for the oddest book title … coloured pencils.

How to Sharpen Pencils stacks up alongside How Tea Cosies Changed the World and a study of the penis on the shortlist for the award which honours the oddest titles in publishing.

By Alison Flood

Will it be a guide to sharpening pencils, a history of tea cosies or perhaps a study of the penis? How Tea Cosies Changed the World – the 160-page follow-up to Really Wild Tea Cosies – is up against How to Sharpen Pencils and God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis to win the little sought-after accolade of the oddest book title of the year.

Loani Prior’s tea cosy extravaganza, containing “24 vibrant new designs that transform the conventional tea cosy into a knitted piece of art”, is one of six books shortlisted for the Diagram prize, alongside David Rees’s “manifesto and a fully illustrated walk-through of the many, many, many ways to sharpen a pencil” and Tom Hickman’s look at man’s relationship with his penis.

A niche guide to pigeon housing, Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts, fairy hunter Reginald Bakeley’s Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop and Was Hitler Ill?, an examination from a historian and a professor of medicine of whether Adolf Hitler was fully responsible for his crimes, complete the lineup for this year’s Diagram prize – an award previously won by titles such as How to Avoid Huge Ships, and Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers.

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