Never judge a book by its cover but what about its title? These few letters work their magic to draw your readers’ attention – novum publishing presents the seven most intriguing book titles!
When it comes to true ingenuity concerning book titles, the Diagram Prize for the oddest title of the year is certainly a reliable starting point. It was first awarded in 1978 to the medical study Proceedings of the Second International Workshop of Nude Mice. The organisation behind the prize is The Bookseller, a British magazine targeting the publishing world. Anyone can vote online, and the winner receives a bottle of champagne but, more importantly, publicity. Allow us to introduce our first contestant in the line of creatively coined titles.
1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip K. Dick, 1968)
This science fiction classic by American writer Philip K. Dick has not lost any of its urgency. A nuclear global war has rendered Earth virtually uninhabitable and most animal species are either extinct or radioactively poisoned. Androids that look uncannily like humans or animals are taking over. In this bleak existence, owning a real animal, such as a sheep, has become a status symbol. The novel explores what it means to be human. In 1982, the film Blade Runner was loosely based on this famous novel’s creative plot.
2. If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs. A Guide to Understanding Men (Big Boom, 2007)
The author, a former pimp, is happily married today and calls himself the bodyguard of women’s hearts. The blurb promises to expose the vile games that men play. This book also claims it will not only help you to find Mr. Right but also show you how to stay away from all the Mr. Wrongs in the world. The publisher is none other than Simon & Schuster.
3. The Beginner’s Guide to Sex in the Afterlife (David Staume, 2006)
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder, the subtitle reads An Exploration of the Extraordinary Potential of Sexual Energy. Believe it or not, this is already the sequel to The Beginner’s Guide for the Recently Deceased by David Staume. The author speaks to his readership as if they were already dead. According to him, sexual energy is the only power that can help us unfold all our potential in our life after death. Any questions? Then you might want to pick up this book.
4. How to Raise Your I.Q. by Eating Gifted Children (Lewis Burke Frumkes, 1976)
If you’re not downright appalled by this title that implies its readers are cannibals, then you are in for a treat. Upon opening this collection of short fiction, you will be rewarded with a humorous outlook on today’s life and society. Frumkes also wrote for the New York Times and taught Humanities at Harvard University. His bizarre short stories and essays will not only make you laugh out loud but also provoke your critical thinking. For everyone who enjoys dark and dry satire, this one is for you!
5. How to Avoid Huge Ships (Captain John W. Trimmer, 1982)
The first edition of this gem was self-published by former Captain Trimmer and had the subtitle Or: I Never Met a Ship I Liked. It is a guidebook for captains and owners of smaller boats, such as yachts. The humorous title refers to the author’s anecdotes on how to avoid accidents with other ships. In contrast, the book also provides serious background information on undertaking and handling maritime operations. How to Avoid Huge Ships has not only won the 1992 Diagram Award but certainly inspired many readers to put pen to paper for hilarious reviews.
6. Reusing Old Graves: A Report on Popular British Attitudes (Douglas Davies and Alastair Shaw, 1995)
Currently out of print, this title won the Diagram Prize in 1995. What at first might seem morbid is based on extensive research. The book consists of the compiled and analysed results of a study carried out by the University of Nottingham on public attitudes towards death. Davies is a professor at the University of Durham, teaching at the department of theology. He specialises in the sociology of death as well as rites of funerals and cremation world-wide.
7. The Joy of Waterboiling (Thomas Götz von Aust, 2018)
This is it – the winner of the Diagram Prize 2018! Curiously enough, this is the first non-English language book to win with an English title. It is also the world’s first cookbook presenting 100 recipes for the water boiler, from making your own tomato marmalade to spicy oranges with kumquats on a cream of mascarpone. The combination of colourful photographs with cooking instructions makes this a unique hybrid of art and food, with the ambitious aim of growing into a global movement.
If you can’t get enough of odd titles, we suggest the Diagram Prize shortlist of 2018. Or do you feel inspired to write an unusual book yourself now? Why not start by sharing your ideas for your own bizarre title?
Keep writing, keep typing!