Oddest Book Title of the Year: What have pigeon lofts, goblinproofing, Hitler and penises got in common?


Forget the Oscars – the real contest this awards season is between pigeon lofts, tea cosies and pencil sharpeners.

The 2013 shortlist for the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year is unveiled today, in celebration of the most fantastically-titled tomes of the last 12 months.

The six contenders will be battling for an honour claimed last year by Cooking with Poo, a cookbook by Saiyuud Diwong, whose nickname “poo” is the Thai word for crab.

Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle, an historian and a professor of medicine, are nominated for Was Hitler Ill?. For bird-lovers there’s Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts by Jerry Gagne and Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley.

In God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis, Tom Hickman looks at the up-and-down relationship between man and his manhood. How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior, described by The Bookseller as a “comprehensive and inspirational guide to the humble tea cosy”, is also on the list, while How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees is the final nominee.

The award is run by The Bookseller diarist Horace Bent. Mr Bent said: “It remains a great honour to represent a prize that draws attention to authors not called Hilary Mantel.”

The winner, who will receive  a bottle of claret as their prize, will be announced on 22 March.