Central Snark

Strange Book Titles by Snuppy
Wednesday, 16 January 2008, 7:43am
Filed under: funny...

The other day I bought a book because of its title. Oh unclench, it’s not like I judged it by its cover! I actually did take the time to string a few letters (34) together. It occurred to me that the name of the book is the first thing you see, unless you are looking at a book that you keep secretly stored under a lose floorboard in your bedroom.

Anywho the book I bought carried the fascinating title of “A short history of Tractors in Ukranian”. I was pretty sure I’d never read it, having little interest in Ukraine, let alone the history of tractors. But I did think such a title deserved the prize of the book plus the Icelandic taxes on it. I hardly ever think that.


To justify such an expense, I reasoned that there must be books out there that simply sell because of their title and other easily amused readers that’ll fall for it. Now the following is a list of some book titles that, would I happen upon them, I’d probably buy instantly. Whether they intended to or not, some authors give their books names that will make readers laugh or cringe before they even open the first page.
I’d like to point out that I have read neither of these, therefore their content might just be as selling as their title.

1. How to Avoid Huge Ships by John W. Trimmer
2. Be Bold with Bananas by Crescent Books
3. Fancy Coffins to Make Yourself by Dale L. Power
4. The Flat-Footed Flies of Europe by Peter J. Chandler
5. The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes by Michel Pastoureaut
6. Across Europe by Kangaroo by Joseph R. Barry
7. 101 Super Uses for Tampon Applicators by Lori Katz and Barbara Meyer
8. The Making of a Moron by Niall Brennan
9. How to Make Love While Conscious by Guy Kettelhack
10. Lightweight Sandwich Construction by J. M. Davies

One of my favorite titles ever was “Steal This Book” by Abbie Hoffman.

He was a sixties political activist and showed his cheek when naming this guide to governmental overthrow. Being entirely banned in Canada, many stores in the United States refused to carry it for fear the title would prompt customers to shoplift. Would they actually have ordered it and given it a quick scan they could have simply banned it for different reasons – it carries descriptions of how to make a pipe bomb, steal credit cards, and grow marijuana.

Oh … by the by, I did read that Ukrainian thing and can only recommend it further. Maybe skip the italic parts about tractors 😉

~ Penguin out!

Flat-footed (published) writers at humor-blogs should not be kangaroo-ed!


22 Comments so far
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How about “Saddam’s Hangover + 3 other equally insane skits”? 🙂
Incidentally, I wrote it 😀

Comment by aniche

aniche, I’d buy it 🙂

Comment by Penguin

I’m not kidding. I really did write that 🙂 u can just check out my blog and see it there.im in india but even people outside india can buy it.btw, from today onwards my new mission in life is to get book number 3 on ur list.id like to make a porsche-coffin for myself 🙂

Comment by aniche

heh — i’ve purchased books based purely on their covers… none as funny as those mentioned in this post, but “interesting”, nonetheless.

i’d LOVE to come up with something clever and/or profound to add to this (hilarious) discussion, but i am currently scratching my head over Katz & Meyer’s volume. 101 uses for tampon applicators? whew. kind of boggles the mind. 😉

Comment by snuppy

The Making of A Moron was a fertility guide?

Comment by Walela

aniche, I took it as such.

snuppy, yeah, that one scared me too…I thought there was one medical-approved way and that was it. Apparently I was wrong.

Walela, It must be hard for you to come down from your mountain and join the human race every once in a while. We appreciate the effort!

Comment by Penguin

All you dog owners should buy Knitting with Dog Hair: Better a Sweater from a Dog You Know and Love than A Sheep You’ll Never Meet. Sounds like a good read to me. But I don’t have a dog.

Comment by tlp

Very good list of books, Ms. Penguin. . I’m taking it to the library now.

TLP: I have a dog who sheds copious amounts of hair. I need that book.

Comment by Nessa

Somehow I don’t think they’ll have any of those in our library. Doesn’t matter anyway since we are being punished for overdue books (gasp) and I am about to start on Ken Follett’s World Without End.

Comment by Theresa

TLP, it certainly comes in many colors…interesting aspect. Some puddles certainly can stand to be shaven once in a while 🙂

nessa, “How to make love while unconcious” should be an interesting read too. Send me teh cliff notes when you are through 🙂

Theresa, my next one is gonna be Q and A. Now I’ll be forced to read every book in Icelandic translation though. I have to get better at writing this spitting language.

Comment by Penguin

Anyone have a Kangaroo?…I am thinking of a trip across Europe…..better buy the book first for intelligent advise…I assume there is an art to Traveling Across Europe by Kangaroo.
Penguin spitting language? Have you tried swallowing your mouth water? Just saying!!!

Comment by Mo'a..... Remember me? Kitten heels!!!

Thanks Penguin, although I’m sure the neighbours heard me laughing. The list kept getting funnier, then a lovely tribute to my hero Abbie. I read his descriptions for how to scam airlines (archaic technique) and use pay phones for free (should still work) on the ‘net. 🙂

Comment by IDiveAtNight

Wow. I thought that I had to have a good book to get my book published. If only I had known all I needed was a good title I could have saved about a year of my life.

Comment by the frogster

Ooh one of my favorites is “The Anarchist Cookbook”. Full of recipes about making fudge n’ stuff.

Comment by offendedblogger

I went in search of “Odd Book Titles” and found a companion to your recent purchase, “Tractors and the Men who Love Them”. But I think my favorite that I read was “The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition.”

I must say your posts always bring a fresh perspective as to what I should really be googling. And on the marijuana plant growth – I’m sure Abbie only intended for medicinal purposes.

Comment by DJ LAMPSHA

Moa, Icelandic needs to change. Period. If they want it to survive, they need to make it people friendly 🙂

Morgan, glad you liked it. I was introduced to Abbie about a year back. I have some literate friends, one or two.

Frogster, this idea of buying books based on a good title is simply based on my easiness to be amused. The rest of the world – I certainly hope- makes more demands to entertainment and literature.

offendedblogger, maybe there is royal flesh in one of those stews?

lampsha, I just checked that as well and found this: “Guide To Eskimo Rolling” I think that’s brilliant and a sport Icelanders should seriously consider. Boy do we suck at soccer…

Comment by Penguin

You found some great titles–Be Bold with Bananas–both double entrendre AND alliterative…
And I often pick up books because of their covers.

Comment by actonbell

Ha-ha-ha! There actually is a title there that I would have bought the day before yesterday…and Hubby suggested a long time ago that he may start on a project for which he could use that title. He’s woodworking in his retirement, so that tells you it would be “Fancy Coffins You Can Make Yourself”. I would have purchased it the day before yesterday, but, (hee-hee, it’s true) yesterday I made an impulsive buy…….our URNS. And I didn’t have to spend anything on a book called, How to Buy Your Urn Before It’s Too Late.

Comment by Judy

When I was in college I wrote “How to make love while unconscious” which was a true story based on the time I woke up and didn’t remember the night before. Or her name.

Comment by Jeff

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is an actual excellent book that has a goofy name. Incredible prose.

Comment by claire

actonbell, I think we all are guilty fo that crime 🙂

Judy, that is sorta morbid… ties in well with last week’s post.

jeff, charming. I hope the tension was released and future jefflings stopped in their tracks 🙂

claire, I have no doubt. Some strange books, like my Ukrainian one are absolutely marvelous.

Comment by Penguin

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