Adam Ash

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Oddest book title of 2004: “Bombproof Your Horse”

"Bombproof Your Horse" was today hailed as runaway winner of the prize for the oddest book title of the past year, followed by runners-up "Detecting Foreign Bodies in Food" and "The Aesthetics of the Japanese Lunchbox."

The British-based Diagram prize is a magnum of champagne awarded by the Bookseller since 1978, and reflects the magazine's unceasing bafflement and delight at the highly specialised titles which some of its members in Britain and further afield produce.

The winner's dustjacket says it teaches riders how to stop horses bucking, baulking, bolting or wheeling around when sudden noises or sights frighten them. Regarded as a "solid" title selling about 400 copies a month, it is published by the US equestrian publisher JA Allen.

The Bookseller discloses that another JA Allen title advertised before publication, "When Horses Reveal Themselves," was a likely contender for glory. Sadly, at the last minute, the title was changed to the slightly less odd What Horses Reveal.

"Bombproof Your Horse" joins a gallery of past winners which ranges from "Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice," "Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality," "How to Avoid Huge Ships," and "227 Secrets Your Snake Wants You to Know."

With nominations from all over the world, the contest is so popular that publishers have started choosing titles in the hope of winning it. The magazine rebukes them with the words, "There were too many self-consciously titled entries - presumably in a bid to emulate the 2003 champion, Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories".

See Guardian Books for full story.


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