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Genghis Khan Dentists, Kind Corpses Vie for Odd Title Prize

''How to avoid huge ships'' by John Trimmer
An undated handout, provided to the media on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008, shows the book cover for ''How to avoid huge ships'' by John Trimmer. Source: Bookseller trade magazine via Bloomberg News

The next time your dentist tortures your mouth, take a look at his bookshelf. Perhaps he has studied “Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way,” one of six finalists for this year’s Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title.

First awarded in 1978 and organized by Britain’s Bookseller trade magazine, the Diagram Prize seeks to celebrate the diversity of publishing and get a few giggles. Past winners include “The Joy of Chickens,” “How to Avoid Huge Ships,” “Living With Crazy Buttocks,” and “Versailles: The View From Sweden.”

This year’s finalists -- announced by the Bookseller in an e-mailed statement -- offer something for just about everyone, though necrophiles may be disappointed by “The Generosity of the Dead,” a study on organ procurement.

Silvio Berlusconi might enjoy “The Italian’s One-Night Love-Child,” a romance novel in which house-sitter Bethany Maguire succumbs to a night of passion with billionaire Cristiano De Angelis and gets pregnant.

If that sounds too torrid, try “8th International Friction Stir Welding Symposium Proceedings,” a collection of papers presented at a gathering in Germany.

For animal lovers, there’s “What Color Is Your Dog?”, in which Hollywood dog trainer Joel Silverman discusses his techniques. And surely no library is complete without “Myth of the Social Volcano,” in which a Harvard sociologist asks Chinese citizens how they feel about inequalities that have arisen from the Sino market experiment.

As for “Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way,” it’s a guide to “survival and empire-building in the dentistry business,” according to its publisher, Radcliffe.

The winner, to be selected via a public vote on, will be announced on March 25.

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