The oddest title fight of the year

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The Independent Culture

Perhaps it is not the ideal book to display on your coffee table when friends visit; or to leave lying about in the downstairs loo or the guest bedroom. There's something about the title High-Performance Stiffened Structures that just cries out to be misunderstood by the foolish, the idle and the smutty-minded.

Perhaps it is not the ideal book to display on your coffee table when friends visit; or to leave lying about in the downstairs loo or the guest bedroom. There's something about the title High-Performance Stiffened Structures that just cries out to be misunderstood by the foolish, the idle and the smutty-minded.

Nevertheless, the esteemed tome, issued by Professional Engineering Publishing, picked up an important literary prize yesterday; not the Booker, the Orange or the Whitbread, but The Bookseller magazine's Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of the Year.

Voted for by readers of the book trade bible, it firmly saw off its closest contenders, Did Lewis Carroll Visit Llandudno?, published by Carreg-Gwalch, and Whose Bottom? A Lift-The-Flap Book, published by Ladybird.

Announcing the result, The Bookseller notes that High-Performance Stiffened Structures is in a rich tradition of nudge-nudge Diagram winners including The Madam as Entrepreneur; Career Management in House Prostitution (1979), and Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How To Increase the Other 90 per cent of Your Mind To Increase the Size of Your Breasts (1985). Other previous winning titles to strike joy into the double entendre enthusiast include Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual (1990) and The Joy Of Sex: Pocket Edition (1997).

As ever, someone has to be disappointed. Shortlisted titles this year included Woodcarving with a Chainsaw (Kangaroo Press), Psoriasis at Your Fingertips (Class Publishing) and The Sexual Male: Problems and Solutions (Norton).

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