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Goblinproofing Book Beats Tea Cosies for Odd Title Award

The cover of "Gobinproofing One's Chicken Coop" by Reginald Bakeley. The book is a tongue-in-cheek guide to "how to identify, track and destroy bothersome members of the fairy realm." It has won the 2013 odd title award. Source: Conari Press / the Bookseller via Bloomberg.

“Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop” has won the annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title.

It triumphed over “How Tea Cosies Changed the World,” “How to Sharpen Pencils,” “Was Hitler Ill?” “Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts” and “God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis,” the U.K.’s Bookseller trade magazine said.

Past winners include “The Joy of Chickens,” “How to Avoid Huge Ships,” “Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers” and “Versailles: The View From Sweden.”

The contending titles were nominated by publishers, booksellers, authors, agents and librarians. The person who nominates the winner receives a bottle of “fairly passable” claret.

First awarded in 1978, the contest was conceived as a way to avoid boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Bookseller editors say. The inaugural prize in 1978 went to “Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.”

Since 2000, the prize has been put to a public vote, allowing “the unwashed masses to decide,” as a past Bookseller release put it.

Since then, winning titles have included “Living With Crazy Buttocks,” “Cooking With Poo,” “The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais,” “Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way” and “If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs.”

The Goblin book won 38 percent of the public vote. It is written by Reginald Bakeley and is advertised as a practical guide to how to “clear your home and garden of goblins and banish them forever.”


(Mark Beech writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include New York and London weekend guides and Lewis Lapham on history.

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