Odd list of literary oddities

25 February 2013 - 02:37 By Reuters

A guide to sharpening pencils is on a shortlist of books, released on Friday, competing for the Oddest Book Title of the Year award.

The shortlist for the 35th annual Diagram Prize also includes a study of Adolf Hitler's health by Henrik Eberle and Hans-Joachim Neumann titled Was Hitler Ill? and Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts by Jerry Gagne. These are up against How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees, God's Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis by Tom Hickman, Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley and How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior.

Philip Stone, coordinator of the competition, run by industry publication The Bookseller, said the award might seem flippant but publishers and booksellers are well aware that a title can make all the difference to the sales of a book.

Last year's winner was Cooking With Poo , a Thai cookbook by Bangkok resident Saiyuud Diwong, whose nickname is Poo.

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