Tag Archives: funny book titles

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores: 2

atkins-bookshelf-booksThe guardians of the bookstores that are still standing are the intrepid booksellers. A bookseller is one part librarian, one part salesperson, one part teacher, and several parts book lover. Not only do they know their way around the store, they know their way around literature. Each day they answer dozens of questions and lead readers to the titles they seek. But not all of the customers’ questions warrant an intelligent, thoughtful answer. To shed some light on the amusing side of book selling, Jen Campbell and her colleagues gathered some of the most entertaining and baffling questions that customers posed, revealing the underbelly of the modern enlightened technological society — the semiliterate.

Customer holding a copy of Little Women: “Is this a book about really short people?

Customer holding up a copy of Hunger Games and a dieting book: “Which of these dieting books would you recommend?

A mother is holding Gone With the Wind. Her son asks, “Is that a book about farts?”

Customer: What is so great about The Great Gatsby, anyway? Was he a superhero or something?

Customer: Hi, I’m looking for a Bible for my mother but I’m not quite sure who the author is.

Read related posts: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores
Types of Book Readers

Why Read Dickens?
The Power of Literature
What are Your Most Cherished Books?

For further reading: More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell, Overlook (2013)


Oddest Book Title

atkins-bookshelf-booksEach year in the early spring, The Bookseller, a British trade magazine that focuses on the publishing industry, has awarded the ignominious but highly-coveted (at least in certain circles) Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year. The idea for the award — judging a book by its cover, specifically its title — was originally conceived by Trevor Bounford of the Diagram Group, a graphic design firm based in London, to add a little spice to the rather humdrum Frankfort Book Fair back in 1978. The first winner of this dubious honor went to a scientific work titled Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice by the researchers at the University of Tokyo, who study nude mice as opposed to studying fashionably-attired mice that presumably roam about in Japan. During the early years, only books that were featured at the Frankfort Book Fair were considered for nomination; subsequently, the readers of The Bookseller can nominate any book published that year (only publishers cannot nominate their own book titles). The individual who submits the winning nomination receives a magnum of champagne, while the winning author and book receive some level of publicity or notoriety, depending on your perspective. In contrast to winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature, these odd-titled books do not see a dramatic increase in sales soon after the announcement of their award.

Below are the winners of the Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year from 200o to 2013:

2000: Designing High Performance Stiffened Structures by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

2001: Butterworths Corporate Manslaughter Service by Gerard Forlin

2002: Living with Crazy Buttocks by Kaz Cooke

2003: The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories by Alisa Surkis and Monica Nolan

2004: Bombproof Your Horse by Rick Pelicano and Lauren Tjaden

2005: People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It by Gary Leon Hill

2006: The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification by Julian Montague

2007: If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs by Big Boom

2008: The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais by Philip M. Parker

2009: Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimina

2010: Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way by Michael R. Young

2011: Cooking with Poo by Saiyuud Diwong

2012: Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Bakeley Reginal

2013: How to Poo on a Date by Mats & Enzo

Read related posts: Most Expensive Books Ever Sold
The Worst Sentence Ever Written
Most Prolific Author in the World

For further reading: thebookseller.com
nytimes.com/2009/03/28/books/28contest.html?bl&ex=1238299200&en=40ab6d677c5bac74&ei=5087%0A&_r=0
theguardian.com/books/2009/feb/19/oddest-book-title-diagram


Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores

atkins-bookshelf-booksNot too long ago, brick-and-mortar bookstores thrived. People actually drove to a bookstore — small, quirky independent stores (selling old or new books, or both) as well as the large big-box retailers (Crown, Borders, and Barnes and Noble) to get lost, if even for a fleeting hour, in a labyrinth of bookshelves, cherishing that distinctive aroma of books (bibliophiles know, of course, that nothing beats the smell of old books). As a reader walked through the stacks, the spines of hundreds books called out, luring the reader like a siren’s song: “Come, read me.”

The guardians of these literary oases were — and are for those bookstores still standing — the intrepid booksellers. A bookseller is one part librarian, one part salesperson, one part teacher, and several parts book lover. Not only did they know their way around the store, they knew their way around literature. Each day they would answer dozens of questions and lead readers to the titles they sought. But not all of the customers’ questions warranted an intelligent, thoughtful answer. To shed some light on the amusing side of book selling, Jen Campbell and her colleagues gathered some of the most entertaining and baffling questions that customers posed, revealing the underbelly of the modern enlightened technological society — the semiliterate.

I’m looking for some books on my kid’s summer reading list. Do you have a copy of Tequila Mockingbird?
Where do you keep Hamlet? You know “to be or not to be?” Is it in with philosophy?
Excuse me, but do you have Flowers for Arugula?
Hi, my kid needs The Count of Monte Crisco for Honors English.
Did Charles Dickens every write anything fun?
Do you have any Willa Catheter?
Where are your fictional novels?
Who wrote the Bible? I can’t remember.
Do you have a book that interprets life?
[Customer holding up copy of Joyce’s Ulysses] Why is this book so long? Isn’t it supposed to be set in a single day? How can this many pages of things happen to one person in one day?

Read related posts: Types of Book Readers
Why Read Dickens?
The Power of Literature
What are Your Most Cherished Books?

For further reading: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell, Overlook (2012)


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