Well, Bookseller magazine might not want to phrase it exactly that way, but since 1978 they have awarded the Diagram Prize to the most outlandishly titled book of the year. The magazine recently revealed its shortlist for the award and began online voting for the 2011 prize. It takes a lot to follow in the footsteps of the very first Diagram Prize winner, Norman Reed's Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.
Some of the choices qualify because they are academic-styled books that focus on a very specific topic and they have to explain all of that in the title. Such would be Peter Gosson's A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two. Volume two? Apparently Mr. Gosson went to the George R. R. Martin school of writing. Jonathan Olivares' A Taxonomy of Office Chairs is shorter but kind of a head-scratcher -- it's 256 pages of pictures and descriptions of office chairs. According to the book's Amazon page, it also includes ten chapters of technical drawings of office chairs, and is aimed at "product designers, furniture manufacturers, design enthusiasts and students, furniture collectors and anyone needing to buy an office chair."
I think my favorite is Mr Andoh's Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge by Stephen Curry and Takayoshi Andoh. It's not what you think, but it's still plenty different. Curry and Andoh tell the story of a man who traveled from Japan to Yorkshire, England, to teach the Yorkshire poultry raisers how to tell male from female baby chickens. The Andoh of the title is the father of co-author Takayoshi and he kept a diary of his time in Hebden Bridge, the town in Yorkshire that held the hatchery whose workers he trained. The book has its own website where co-author Curry offers a little bit of history and some quotes from the elder Andoh's journal. There were, apparently, cultural differences: “It was quite unbearable to me the attitude of British young men toward women. They did kiss and moreover, flirted with each other. I was vexed with them.”
Mr. Andoh's diary is available at the United Kingdom Amazon site rather than the U.S. one and goes for £9.49 -- that's about $15. I think, in terms of the Diagram Prize, we have a clear winner and I encourage you to vote for the Diary.
(Note: The blog author was not compensated in any way for his favorable mention of Mr Andoh's Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge, except in that he was given quite a broad smile upon learning of its existence as well as envisioning the search-engine results that could result from this entry's mention of nude mice and chicken sexers.)
(H/T The Economist)