This post has been corrected.
Since 1978, book industry experts have staved off boredom by mulling over the year’s strangest titles, in preparation for a very special contest: the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.
The 2015 shortlist, compiled by UK publishing magazine The Bookseller, was released yesterday (Feb. 25). Among the titles are a book about Soviet-era bus stops, a cultural history of the rear end, and a primer on animal entrail divination.
“What a shortlist! One of the strongest in living Diagram Prize memory—something I really mean this year and am not saying it simply to pad out a press release,” said the Bookseller’s Horace Bent in a press release. Bent has been a longtime administrator of the prize.
This year’s shortlist:
- Reading from Behind: A Cultural History of the Anus (Zed Books), by Jonathan Allan
- Reading the Liver: Papyrological Texts on Ancient Greek Extispicy (Mohr Siebeck), by William Furley and Victor Gysembergh
- Transvestite Vampire Biker Nuns from Outer Space: A Consideration of Cult Film (MKH Imprint), by Mark Kirwan-Hayhoe
- Soviet Bus Stops (Fuel), by Christopher Herwig
- Too Naked for the Nazis (Fantom Films), by Alan Stafford
- Behind the Binoculars: Interviews with Acclaimed Birdwatchers (Pelagic Publishing), by Mark Avery and Keith Betton
- Paper Folding with Children (Floris Books), by Alice Hornecke, with translation by Anna Cardwell
Past winners have included Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Mind Power: How to Use the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts (1985) and Cooking with Poo (2011).
Prize winners are determined by public opinion. You can cast your vote for the oddest title until Mar. 15.
Correction (Mar. 18): An earlier version of this post misidentified the book Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Mind Power: How to Use the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts.