In the annals of literary history, there have been myriad tomes that, despite the stern-faced sincerity of their composition, boast titles that bring out the prurient grade-schooler in each of us.
Who here hasn’t tittered quietly in an otherwise silent bookshop when spotting titles like Peter Occhiogrosso’s 1987 rumination on the fundamental themes of the world’s religions, “The Joy of Sects”? Or P. McSweeny’s indispensable nutrition guide from 2007, “Cheese Problems Solved”? Whether intentionally silly or oblivious to their inherent absurdity, chuckle-worthy book titles are all around us.
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As reported in the U.K.’s Guardian, an award for offbeat book titles was initiated at the Frankfurt book fair in 1978. Organized by Bookseller magazine, the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year has spent the last 34 years celebrating the silly.
This year, following in the grand tradition of previous winners like “Bombproof Your Horse” and “The Second International Workshop on Nude Mice” (these are actual books, folks), the winner is “Cooking with Poo” by Saiyuud Diwong. While you let that title sink in, it should be noted that this 114-page Thai cookbook, published by Urban Neighbours of Hope, isn’t actually a guide to scatological cuisine, but rather a comprehensive handbook for cooking with crab (“poo” is Thai for crab, as well as the author’s arguably unfortunate nickname).
Still: Tee hee.
“Cooking with Poo” was far from a shoo-in, however. It was up against some equally giggle-inducing titles such as “The Great Singapore Penis Panic and the Future of America Mass Hysteria” by Scott D. Mendelson (Createspace), “Mr. Andoh’s Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935” by Stephen Curry and Takayoshi Andoh (Royd Press), and what promises to be a riveting page-turner: “A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two” by Peter Gosson (Amberley).
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive