Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Saturday, 21 February 2009

Baboon book makes award shortlist

A Baboon
Baboon Metaphysics is an investigation of the primates' social structures

Shortlists for major literary prizes often leave casual readers scratching their heads, as they wonder why such acclaimed novels have passed them by.

But even avid bookworms may have missed out on Baboon Metaphysics, which is up for this year's Diagram Prize.

The award, which is run by The Bookseller magazine, aims to reveal the oddest book title of the last year.

Five more titles, including Strip And Knit With Style, have been shortlisted. A public vote will decide the winner.

'Problematic'

The Diagram Prize has been running since 1978 under the watchful eye of The Bookseller's Horace Bent.

Announcing this year's shortlist, the columnist said he had never found it "so problematic to pick a shortlist of just six".

"At a time when the economic climate is forbidding and cost-cutting companies are ten-a-penny, I'm proud to report that the British publishing industry has remained as stubborn in the face of change as ever," he added.

Bent's colleague Philip Stone revealed some of the titles which failed to make the grade - including Excrement in the Late Middle Ages and All Dogs Have ADHD.

The 2008 shortlist is as follows:

Baboon Metaphysics by Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth

Curbside Consultation of the Colon by Brooks D Cash

The Large Sieve and its Applications by Emmanuel Kowalski

Strip and Knit with Style by Mark Hordyszynski

Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring by Lietai Yang

The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais by Professor Philip M Parker

Last year's winner was If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs by "celebrity bodyguard" Big Boom.

"So effective is the title that you don't even need to read the book itself," noted the Bookseller's deputy editor, Joel Rickett.

The self-help tome took 33 per cent of the public vote. I Was Tortured By The Pygmy Love Queen came a close second, on 20 per cent.

Third place was taken by Cheese Problems Solved - which was described by its publishers as providing "responses to 200 or so of the most commonly asked questions about cheese".

This year's winner will be revealed on 27 March.

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