A good title is the first step in ‘selling’ a book to a reader. The catchier and the more original the title, the better. Sometimes a title can tell whether the book will be intriguing, horror-filled, take you on a magic ride, make you laugh out loud, make you cry, enlighten you, or leave you cold or be none the wiser what it was about.
More and more writers are using unorthodox, strange, weird, silly and down right disturbing titles to catch readers’ attention, but some go the other way and create the most boring and unlikely titles to interest anyone, so much so that an annual award giving body for the strangest book title had been founded.
Diagram Book Prize gives award to a selection of the most bizzare titled books that get published each year.
The prize was originally conceived in 1978 by Trevor Bounford, co-founder with Bruce Robertson of publishing solutions firm The Diagram Group, as a way of avoiding boredom at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair. It has been administered every year by The Bookseller and Horace Bent, the magazine’s diarist. (http://www.thebookseller.com)
Some of the books that have come under the radar of the Diagram Group are as follows:
A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two by Peter Gosson(Amberley Publishing)
A Taxonomy of Office Chairs by Jonathan Olivares (Phaidon)
Working Class Cats: The Bodega Cats of New York City by Chris Balsiger and Erin Canning
How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God by Ian Punnett (Harmony)
Pie-ography: Where Pie Meets Biography by Jo Packham (Quarry)
How Tea Cosies Changed the World By Loani Prior
Reginald Bakeley’s Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop
Actually I wouldn’t mind reading some of the books on the list. 😉
Odd titling a book is not a modern phenomena. The middle ages had done it first.
Here are some titles of books you might want to research and read about further:
A Shot aimed at the Devil’s Head-Quarters through the Tube of the Cannon of the Covenant.
Crumbs of Comfort for the Chickens of the Covenant.
Eggs of Charity, layed by the Chickens of the Covenant, and boiled with the Water of Divine Love. Take Ye and eat.
High-heeled Shoes for Dwarfs in Holiness.
Hooks and Eyes for Believers’ Breeches.
Matches lighted by the Divine Fire.
Seven Sobs of a Sorrowful Soul for Sin; or, the Seven Penitential Psalms of the Princely Prophet David; whereunto are also added William Humius’ Handful of Honeysuckles, and Divers Godly and Pithy Ditties, now newly augmented.
Spiritual Milk for Babes, drawn out of the Breasts of both Testaments for their Souls’ Nourishment: a catechism.
The Bank of Faith.
The Christian Sodality; or, Catholic Hive of Bees, sucking the Honey of the Churches’ Prayer from the Blossoms of the[Pg 30] Word of God, blowne out of the Epistles and Gospels of the Divine Service throughout the yeare. Collected by the Puny Bee of all the Hive not worthy to be named otherwise than by these elements of his Name, F. P.
The Gun of Penitence.
The Innocent Love; or, the Holy Knight: a description of the ardors of a saint for the Virgin.
The Shop of the Spiritual Apothecary; or, a collection of passages from the fathers.
The Sixpennyworth of Divine Spirit.
The Snuffers of Divine Love.
The Sound of the Trumpet: a work on the day of judgment.
The Spiritual Mustard Pot, to make the Soul Sneeze with Devotion.
The Three Daughters of Job: a treatise on patience, fortitude and pain.
Tobacco battered, and the Pipes shattered about their Ears that idly idolize so loathsome a Vanity, by a Volley of holy shot thundered from Mount Helicon: a poem against the use of tobacco, by Joshua Sylvester.
A Fan to drive away Flies: a theological treatise on Purgatory.
A most Delectable Sweet Perfumed Nosegay for God’s Saints to Smell at.
A Pair of Bellows to blow off the Dust cast upon John Fry.
A Proper Project to Startle Fools: Printed in a Land where Self’s cry’d up and Zeal’s cry’d down.
A Reaping-Hook, well tempered, for the Stubborn Ears of the coming Crop; or, Biscuit baked in the Oven of Charity, carefully conserved for the Chickens of the Church, the Sparrows of the Spirit, and the sweet Swallows of Salvation.
A Sigh of Sorrow for the Sinners of Zion, breathed out of a Hole in the Wall of an Earthly Vessel, known among Men by the Name of Samuel Fish (a Quaker who had been imprisoned).