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Archive for July, 2010

Funny Book titles, Part II

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Everyone seems to enjoy a laugh, especially when it’s the middle of summer and the thermometer has gotten stuck somewhere north of 90. We’ve had a lot of fun with the quirky book titles recently, and several readers have offered a few more deserving titles for the list. So before letting go of the topic, here are a handful of gen-u-wine real books you may want to place on your summer reading list:

Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimina 

Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich by James A. Yannes

How to Write While You Sleep by Elizabeth Irvin Ross

The Art of Faking Exhibition Poultry by George R. Scott

Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality by Glenn C. Ellenbogen

Baboon Metaphysics by Dorothy L. Cheney

Real book titles, each of them. and should you find yourself enjoying these lists more than a little, you might want to visit your local library to check out one of these books, which will give you some far-longer lists of nutty titles. Try either Bizarre Books: A Compendium of Classic Oddities by Russell Ash or Baboon Metaphysics: And More Implausibly Titled Books by Horace Best.

And remember, it’s a hot summer; a little laugh can go a long way.

The Funniest Book Title?

Friday, July 16th, 2010

We found a book in the discard stack the other day with one of those memorably wacky titles: Top Notch Surgeon, Pregnant Nurse. It’s so bad, it’s funny. But it’s real; the author is Amy Andrews (and you can look it up).  Anyway, it got us to thinking about funny, real book titles. A bit of research turned up some howlers. Here’s my choice of the top 20 funniest book titles I’ve discovered, all real published books, with my very favorite at the end:

Cheese Problems Solved – P.L.H. McSweeney

The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories – Alisa Surkis

The Potatoes of Bolivia – J.G. Hawkes

How to Avoid Huge Ships – John W. Trimmer

Reusing Old Graves – Douglas Davies

Walled Up Nuns & Nuns Walled In – Lancelot Holland

Bombproof Your Horse – Jack Pelicano

Harnessing the Earthworm – Thomas J. Barrett

People Who Don’t Know they’re Dead – Gary Leon Hill

How Green Were the Nazis? – Franz-Josef  Bruggemeier

Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them – Roger Welsch

Weeds in a Changing World – C.H. Stirton

Across Europe by Kangaroo – Joseph Barry

Drilling a Straight Hole – Nancy Janicek

Greek Rural Postmen and their Cancellation Numbers – (author not listed, perhaps for good reason)

How to Read a Book – Mortimer J. Adler

How to Write a How to Write Book – Brian Puddock

The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America – Julian Montague

Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies for Dummies – Christopher Hodapp

And now — drum roll please — my choice for the funniest title:

Cooking with Pooh.

Think about it for a moment. It’s a Winnie the Pooh cookbook from 1995 whose title suggests something altogether different from what the publisher intended. The cooking results from this might be low-fat, but I’m guessing all the food tastes like …. well, you know what.

Please feel free to add your favorites, but only real book titles, please.

Talking Poetry

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

David Bottoms will be here talking about poetry on July 22. If you know David or you’ve read his work, you know what a special occasion it will be to hear again from distinguished Georgia’s Poet Laureate. He possesses very special talents, an eye and a voice that allow us to peer deeply into private places: hearts, minds and souls. He writes poetry that is at once profoundly personal yet universal, rooted in experience, nurtured with wisdom. You should need no further prodding to circle Thursday evening July 22nd on your calendars.

David has a new book, the occasion for this appearance. It is The Onion’s Dark Core, subtitled simply, “A Little Book of Poetry Talk.” It does have poetry in its pages, but it is mostly a book of David talking about poetry, its creation, its meanings, its value. The latter may seem too self-evident to mention, certainly to those of us who care for and read poetry. But not everyone agrees.

William Walsh, another fine poet and writer in Atlanta, will be introducing David on the 22nd. He’s done a lengthy interview with the Poet Laureate that is printed in the new book, and at the end there’s a short quote I want to bring out. It comes from that “self-evident” question: Does poetry make a difference in anyone’s life? Does it really matter? Here’s David’s answer:

“Without poetry, without art, we’d be much poorer spiritually. Even if a person doesn’t read poetry, he or she benefits from a culture where other people do. Even if I don’t go to museums and look at great paintings, I benefit in many ways because other people do. This is true because the human imagination is being exercised. Significant questions are being examined. The human imagination is turning them into art, and every piece of art we create is witness in some unique way to our humanity, our commonality. this is the way serious literature brings consequence into the world, and it exerts an influence that is powerfully contagious.”

It’s really simple. And contagious with its ability to change our lives, individually and collectively. If you doubt — for any reason — please be sure to join us to hear David talk and read. It might change your life.