Undoubtedly, the Diagram Prize is one of the more outlandish literary awards out there. Originally intended as a bit of levity during the serious business of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year is awarded annually by The Bookseller, a British trade magazine. Leave it to those Brits to concoct this bit of maniacal malarkey. Even better, leave it to a Kate to come up with one of the best titles out of 30 years of winners!
To give you an idea of the tough competition, here is a sampling of some of my favorite Diagram-winning titles:
- 1978: Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice (University of Tokyo Press)
- 1981: Last Chance at Love: Terminal Romances
- 1985: Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How to Increase the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts (Westwood Publishing Co)
- 1993: American Bottom Archaeology (University of Illinois Press)
- 2000: High Performance Stiffened Structures (Professional Engineering Publishing)
But now, I give you Kathleen Meyers and her 1989 Diagram-prize winning book: “How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art.” And before you ask, Yes! This is a real book. In fact, it has a 4 ½ star rating on Amazon in its second edition. And the third edition was released in 2011. Apparently shitting is an eco-friendly literary element. Go figure.
Trivia is a column running on Kate-book.com every Monday at 2pm. It is written by the insanely knowledgable Kate E. Stephenson. Read much more about Kate here, and click here to follow her on Twitter.