Goblinproofing And Other Books

I love peculiar book titles. Remember “Ship Building for Couples” and “Bombproof Your Horse?What was that about anyway?

And now we have some new entries, courtesy of the Diagram Prize from Great Britain, awarded to the oddest book titles of the year. The winner, you’ll be thrilled to know, is what surely is destined to become a classic, and I kid you not: “Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop.” Yes, who hasn’t been worried sick over how to be absolutely certain none of these little creatures disturbs the chicks? It’s not enough to worry about cats, rats, hawks, foxes and snakes — it’s the goblins that will get ya.

The administrator of the prize, Horace Bent, says this of the book: “It is perhaps no coincidence that in these austere times that a book aimed to assist members of the public frugally farming their own produce proved the most popular title on our six-strong shortlist. It also illustrates that the public at large is afflicted by an incredible amount of paranoia regarding the threat foreign invaders pose to their property.” I couldn’t have put it better myself. The book strikes a signal blow against the dangers posed by the fairy kingdom to our fowls.

Of course, if “Goblinproofing” was the winner, who came close but failed to win the prize? The shortlist includes these appealing (or is it appaling?) titles:

“How Tea Cosies Changed the World”

God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis”

“How to Shaepen Pencils”

“Was Hitler Ill?”

“Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts”

That’s a strong list, to be sure — who couldn’t profit from reading those? — and they join a list of quasi-distinguished previous winners and nomnineers that includes “Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers,” “Highlights in the History of Concrete” and “A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian.” And yes, those are all real books. Look ’em up.

And you thought there was nothing good to read out there ……





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