CHAPTER ONE

Can you tell a ridiculous, real book title from a fake one?

Dust off your fake book knowledge.
Dust off your fake book knowledge.
Image: Reuters/Robert Pratta
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Have you ever browsed a bookstore after work, or strolled the library stacks on a lazy afternoon, only to stumble across a book title and think: “How is that a book?”

You’re not alone. In an attempt to stave off boredom at the 1978 Frankfurt Book Fair, Diagram Group publishers Trevor Bounford and Bruce Robertson began mulling all the strange, beautiful, florid, and puzzling titles that are given to books. They came up with the idea for a tongue-in-cheek prize that would award the creativity of the most befuddling options. The Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year was born.

The prize was taken over a few years later by The Bookseller, a book industry-focused site, which has been running it ever since (except for 1987 and 1991—which it describes as “two very dark years.”). Readers have until Nov. 16 to vote for their favorite title, which will be announced on Nov. 23. There is no prize for the winner, but the website will randomly pick one person who voted for the winning title to get a “passable bottle of claret.”

Quartz decided to partake in this whimsy by creating our own list of equally implausible book titles. See if you can suss out the real book title, and 2018 Diagram Prize nominee, from the fake ones in our quiz below (The Bookseller’s descriptions follow the correct titles).

When you’re done, you can head over to The Bookseller to cast your vote.