It’s that time of year again when we celebrate one of the highlights of the cultural calendar. No, not the Oscars—I speak, of course, of the Oddest Book Title of the Year Award.
If you’re new to this, it all started back in 1978 when the immortal classic Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice was spotted at a Frankfurt book fair. Since then it has included such gems as How to Avoid Huge Ships, How to Poo on a Date, Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers, and Bombproof Your Horse.
But if I had to choose my all-time favourite I’d have to stick with 2003’s winner, The Big Book Of Lesbian Horse Stories, which alas turns out, disappointingly, not to be concerned with the question of equine sexuality. (In fact, I strongly advise you to look it up on both the US and UK Amazon stores—it’s inspired some of the funniest reviews I’ve come across, some of them from horses.)
I’m a little disappointed in this year’s entries—I think to be eligible the titles should be unintentionally funny, so Transvestite Vampire Biker Nuns From Outer Space, which is all about cult films, shouldn’t really count—but Soviet Bus Stops and Paper Folding with Children are at least worthy contenders.
Meanwhile, I was off work for most of last week with a nasty cold, the kind that leaves you gasping for breath if you do anything as strenuous as brushing your teeth. I went round wheezing like Keir Dullea playing an astronaut in 2001: A Space Odyssey (at one stage it got so bad that Margaret took to following me round the house, singing “Daisy, Daisy” at me slowly in a deep bass voice).
Standing up was problematical, sitting less so: and so I got a lot of knitting done. I finished the back of the body and the shoulder strap and am now over halfway up the front, and will soon be dividing for the neckline. There often comes a time on a gansey when you feel like you’re slogging on forever and hardly making progress, and then suddenly it all starts to come together in a rush: that’s what happened last week. It is, in a manner of speaking, all downhill from here.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find a book to read. But which one? At the moment I’m torn between The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America and Reusing Old Graves. Decisions, decisions…