In 2008, just after I’d started presenting The Nightshift, Kev - a distinguished author in his own write, of course - drew my attention to the Diagram Prize, which is awarded annually by The Bookseller magazine to the book with the oddest title of the year.
I am delighted to report that the prize is still going strong and to tell you that this year’s winner - described as ‘a supernaturally tinged barnyard manual’ - was…
(Wait for it…)
Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop.
It was written by the splendid Reginald Bakeley - whom God preserve - and is subtitled 'and other practical advice in our campaign against the fairy kingdom'. It is described by its publisher, Conari Press, as ‘the essential primer for banishing the dark fairy creatures that are lurking in the dark corners and crevices of your life’.
The book took 38 percent of the votes in a public ballot, beating finalists that included How Tea Cosies Changed the World, Was Hitler Ill? and God's Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis, all of whose (quite genuine) covers are shown here, along with How To Sharpen Pencils - too interesting a title to omit.
* * *
...D-Day is almost upon us.
In what amounts to just a few hours’ time, I’ll be heading south to London on the first stage of my Grandest Tour Of All. Then I’ll be going south-east to Hong Kong, and then south-west to Singapore and then south again to Perth. After that, it’s east to Sydney and south-east to Queenstown - which will be my furthest point away from home.
North-east through New Zealand and then continuing to Vancouver…south to San Francisco...and east to New York City.
You’ve sent me so much helpful advice already but there’s still one final leg of the journey to go. I’ll be heading north-east again out of New York City to spend my last two days in Boston.
So - please - if you have any advice or recommendations about that fine city, please get in touch.
But be quick - you don’t have long!
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