Titles Run Amok

In these time-condensed times, I hereby declare that Two Makes a Trend. Thus, the trend of the day (because I’ve seen two instances of it) is bad titles.

Evidence the first comes courtesy of the Boston Globe’s Brainiac blog, about the winner of “Best/Worst Postmodern Title in Recent Memory” award. A distinguished honor, to be sure. For those of you lucky enough to have avoided reading academic work with postmodern titles, a primer: they’re full of all sorts of abysmal word play, including parentheses and capital letters, and a passel of other effects that would make a copy editor wretch.

The winner, needless to say, hit the (b)all out of the (p)ark:

an ILL/ELLip(op)tical po – ETIC/EMIC/Lemic/litic post® uv ed DUCAT ion recherché repres©entation

But that’s not the only highly coveted titling prize out there; no sir/madam. Bookseller.com runs the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, and according to the contest custodian, “Never have I found it so problematic to pick a shortlist of just six.”

Bookseller is sympathetic: “Six seems such a cruelly low number given titles such as Excrement in the Late Middle Ages and All Dogs Have ADHD were rejected.”


Here are the winners, though I do quibble with No. 5 for being obscure, instead of odd.

Baboon Metaphysics by Dorothy Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth (University of Chicago Press)

Curbside Consultation of the Colon by Brooks D Cash (SLACK Incorporated)

The Large Sieve and its Applications by Emmanuel Kowalski (Cambridge University Press)

Strip and Knit with Style by Mark Hordyszynski (C&T)

Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring
by Lietai Yang (Woodhead)

The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais by Professor Philip M Parker (Icon Group International)

Ooh, after reading all the way to the bottom of the article (a rarity in these time-compressed days, as you know), I found another coupla gems: some former winners:

Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice (1978). And last year’s winner, If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs.

And with that, I’m crossing my legs and signing off.


One thought on “Titles Run Amok

  1. Pingback: The Oddest Book Title of the Year « First Person Irregular

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