After a season of Nobel Prizes, Newbery and Caldecott Medals, the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award, and other prestigious book awards, the Diagram Prize is here to lighten up the publishing world. Since 1978, London-based information and graphics company, in conjunction with The Bookseller, has doled out awards for the Oddest Title of the Year. And just taking one glance at the shortlist has proven to me that writers and publishing companies release some seriously weird and hilarious book titles.
Since 2000, the winners of the Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year have been decided by a vote from the reading public on The Bookseller's sister site We Love This Book. The winner of the funny award will be announced on March 27. We Love This Book says the award began back in 1978 to "avoid boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair," which is probably the best reason I've ever heard. Since then, only two years have passed —1987 and 1991 — without a Diagram Prize winner because the publishing industry couldn't shell out enough odd titles. The first ever winner was XXXXXXXXX, can any of the books this year live up to that?
Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People That Used to Love Them by Diana Rajchel (Moon Books)
Moon Books told The Guardian that Divorcing a Real Witch "fills a huge gap in the resources that witches and pagans have in the areas of family and relationships." I'm actually a huge fan of witches and I think we should be supporting them with all the self-help books we can, so this one seems not at all funny or weird to me.
Advanced Pavement Research edited by Bo Tian (Trans Tech)
This one doesn't even have a cover image because it's just peer-reviewed papers from a two-day pavement symposium, which doesn't sound as odd as it does boring. And that's just making me sad for all the people who sat there for two days, so this one can't win.
Where Do Camels Belong? by Ken Thompson (Profile)
This book talks about where camels come from (adult camels who love each other?) on this Earth. And though they're widely regarded as being from the Arab world, they actually are not native to that area. Did you even know that? Neither did I. And now I want to know how they got there. This book is legit.
The Ugly Wife is Treasured at Home by Melissa Margaret Schneider (Potomac)
Subtitled "True Stories of Love and Marriage in Communist China," this title is based on a Chinese saying. But really we all just have Jimmy Soul's song "If You Wanna Be Happy" stuck in our heads now, don't we? (Get an ugly girl to marry you.)
Strangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte (Choose Art)
Sorry, can't comment. Too busy thinking of this:
The Madwoman in the the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones by Sandra Tsing-Loh (Norton)
Described as "not your grandmother's menopause" story, I actually think this title is quite perfectly fitting.
Nature's Nether Regions by Menno Schilthuizen (Viking)
Never use the phrase "nether regions" in life or in book titles. This is my absolute choice for winner of the Oddest Title of the Year.
If you want to vote, too, you can visit the award website. Though there's no monetary prize, The Bookseller says it winners receive a "passable bottle of claret."
Images: Yukiko Matsuoka/flickr; Giphy