Monday, March 29, 2010

Book Titles

Do you like titles that give you a hint of what’s inside the book?  Ones that identifies the genre? Do you like quirky titles that make you laugh or scratch your head?  What draws you to a book?

Did you know there’s an award for bizarre and strange book titles? There is.

It’s called The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, or The Diagram Prize for short.

The 2009 winner is … drum roll please … Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Dr. Daina Taimina.

It beat out What Kind of Bean is this Chihuahua? by Tara Jansen-Meyer, and Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich by James Yannes.

The 2008 winner was The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais.

In 2007, Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation won.

How long have they been giving out The Diagram Prize, you ask? Since 1978 when Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice won.

What are some of your favorite titles?
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30 comments:

  1. I like catchy titles that do give me a hint of what the book's about. Those titles sounds a little too far out for me!

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  2. I adore absurd titles, but when I'm looking for a book, I would much rather they give me a hint about what the book is about.

    There are too many books to choose from. Quirky gets attention, but it doesn't always sell a prospective buyer.

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  3. I think I tend to go more for catchy titles that give a hint of what the book's about.

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  4. Absurd titles are amusing, though I think that when I pick up a book from a store, the cover attracts my attention first.

    Then I look to see what it's about.

    I liked THE EYRE AFFAIR by Jasper Fforde. While Jane Eyre is in it, the book is so much more than the title indicates.

    His LOST IN A GOOD BOOK was also a great title.

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  5. The crazy titles make me pull the book off the shelves...but then what's in the inside cover better get to me quickly, or back it goes.

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  6. I loved the title "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society"
    A title will make me pick up the book, but I have to like the first page or so to purchase.
    karen

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  7. J.D. Salinger was a master of weird titles:
    A Perfect Day for Bananafish
    Juat Before the War With the Eskimos
    An Ocean Full of Bowling Balls

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  8. Those are good titles, Mark. I'd pick up and look at: An Ocean Full of Bowling Balls.

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  9. And oddly enough, none of these books speaks to me! :)

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  10. I wonder how successful those books actually were. A title will lead me to pick up a book. I don't particularly care for quirky, but I do enjoy a play on words, and one that gives an essence of what's inside. It's what's inside the book that'll get me to purchase it once I've picked it up. So that title is an important first step.

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  11. Sigh. I seem to forget titles the moment I start reading so the hidden messages they might hold are lost on me.

    The first thing that piques my interest in a book is the cover, second is the blurb on the back.

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  12. The quirky books titles don't usually grab me, though I am one who enjoys inventive titles. However, I prefer the quirkiness in chapter titles and a book title that is straight-foward, simple, or describes the book. My preferences are titles like the THE ROAD, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, or THE GRAPES OF WRATH. If the title sounds too obscure or that it might be about something other than what it is about I will tend to look past it.

    I’d like to invite you and your readers to join us in a blogging challenge for the month of April. Check it out at Blogging From A to Z

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  13. Assuming the book is shelved with the spine showing, the title is the first thing that attracts me. Some titles I remember. Most I forget, like Laura. I like titles that I don't really know what they mean until I finish the book. Then I can go 'oh yeah.' And I like when I relate them on more than one level to the book.

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  14. Nude mice? How odd!

    Hope I can avoid that award.

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  15. Eccentric titles are going to give me a giggle, but I certainly wouldn't choose the book because of them. Curiosity might get me to pick it off the shelf - but what's written on the inside flap is going to sway me far more than any title.

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  16. I like titles that give me a hint about the content of the book, and that are cathcy and memorable. I'm struggling now to think of some (obviously they weren't that memorable!) but if I come up with anything I'll let you know!

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  17. One title that I liked and (sort of) remember is:
    If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him. The reason I seem to only sort of remember it is because I thought the full title (until I looked it up) was:
    If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him, I'd Be out of Jail by Now.

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  18. Wow- those titles are different. A little too different for me.

    I like snappy short titles.

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  19. I like interesting and strange titles, but only if they apply. A title which is odd just to be odd is a little irritating to me as a reader.

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  20. I love a really quirky title IFF it is on a really quirky book. Otherwise it annoys me. Tom Robbins with things like 'By the Side of the Road in Frog Pajamas' for instance is good, and Robbins' writing can carry it.

    In other cases, almost exclusively, I prefer a title that only HINTS at the action--one that is appropriate, but that you might need to read the book to know why. Anything too explicit and *yawn*

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  21. Yeah, you don't want a title that tells the ending of the book.

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  22. My book titles are all one word: Breakthrough, Opening, and Escalation. I guess my titles are the vanilla ice cream of the literary world.

    Stephen Tremp

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  23. An absurd title that somehow hints at the content is awesome. I like boring titles that are all about content, too. (Those are the ones I pick for my stories.)

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  24. Those really are weird titles! I don't think I even want to try to beat those. :-)

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  25. I think absurd titles work well for humor. At least I hope that is true. My humorous memoir is titled: A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck. Maybe it will with the Diagram prize. LOL

    For fiction and other work, I really like a title that somehow suggests what the book is about.

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  26. I like quirky titles. They grab my attention.

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  27. I like catchy titles, but I don’t feel like any of this year's winners would have captured my attention in a bookstore. I can’t help but wonder how many books these titles sold.

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  28. I don't know about sales on these books. Some of them seemed to be almost technical and not designed for the general public.

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  29. I have a first edition of a book my Gramps read to me. I love the title sound as it rolls off of the tongue: The Wonderful Isle of Ulla Gapoo by F Dubrez-Fawcett.

    I love the 2007 winner...Greek Postmen are one of a kind!

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  30. There are some titles that I don't get, even after finishing the book. I guess what I'd like is some idea of how they got their title.

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