Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In Book News...

Close George, but that's not a book, its "People" magazine

Two wonderful stories from the world of letters:

Odder book titles make shortlist
"...The Bookseller magazine has released its shortlist for the Oddest Titles prize, honouring fringe publishing....Last year's contest was won by Gary Leon Hill for his impressively titled The People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It..."

This year I'm pulling for Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Seaweed Symposium this year, but that's just because its the only one I've read. The others on the shortlist are:
  • How Green Were the Nazis? edited by Franz-Josef Bruggemeier, Mark Cioc and Thomas Zeller
  • D. Di Mascio's Delicious Ice Cream: D. Di Mascio of Coventry: An Ice Cream Company of Repute, with an Interesting and Varied Fleet of Ice Cream Vans by Roger De Boer, Harvey Francis Pitcher, and Alan Wilkinson
  • The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification by Julian Montague
  • Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan by Robert Chenciner by Gabib Ismailov, Magomedkhan Magomedkhanov and Alex Binnie
  • Better Never To Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence by David Benatar

This week also saw a refreshing alternative to all those reams of bullshit and humbug about the greatest books of the year/century/all time lists; the ones where liars tell researchers that they have read books like Tristram Shandy so that they seem learned. What could be more of a reality check to authors, publishers* and arts commissions than the list of books least likely to be finished by the British?

Variously displaying a lack of willpower (Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking), good taste (the bloody awful The Satanic Verses) and a healthy understanding that life is short (My Side, "by" David Beckham) this wonderful list is a fantastic guide of what not to read to the end for people too lazy to fail to finish books for themselves. Indeed, I dare say the same thing applies to blog posts- after all, d

(*Who will probably take the wrong lesson from this and deduce that this means that they can still publish this drivel but can leave half the pages blank)


FlyingRodent said...

I love a good self-help book, which is why I'm so upset to see that "Make It So: Leadership Lessons From Star Trek" hasn't made the list.

And I liked the Satanic Verses, but I always was a bit of a tosser.

weasel said...

I cannot believe that the Star Trek book isn't older as my grandfather appears to have run his life by its precepts (right down to the colorful jerseys and tight black trews).

As for SV, I'm guilty of liking The English Patient and a fair amount of mid-career Martin Amis, so we all have our kinks and foibles.

Anonymous said...

BioChris says
Seaweed Symposium Proceedings are great books. I actually read them quite frequently. There have even been a couple of local people who have been president of the ogranization. I kind of hope something a little more esoteric wins.