A Bazaar of Bizarrity

Bizarre Books

Russell Ash and Brian LakeCover of Bizarre Books by Ash and Lake
2000 (Revised and updated after the 1998 edition)

Well, this is all very silly.

It consists of a catalogue of books on unusual subjects or which have giggle-worthy titles or author names. There’s not much more to be said, except to provide you with some of the entries that snorted a snigger out of me – plus relevant links where I could find them.

Author names:

Nominative Determinism:

  • Some Examples of Wave Motion in Fluids, Gordon David Crapper
  • Researches in Binocular Vision, Kenneth Ogle
  • Criminal Life: Reminiscences of Forty Two Years as a Police Officer, Superintendent James Bent

Odd Topics:

  • Moles and their Meaning: With regard to the Mind, Morals and Astral Indications in Both Sexes, Being a Modernised and Easy Guide to the Ancient Science of Divination by the Moles of the Human Body – a quick google search discovers that this science survives to the present day.
  • Cannibalism and the Common Law: A Victorian Yachting Tragedy – this title almost qualifies as flash fiction, but refers to a notorious court battle over the legality of a gruesome Custom of the Sea.
  • Nuclear War: What’s In It For You? – with the reassuring tagline ‘Why do you feel scared with 10,000 nuclear weapons protecting you?’
  • How to Avoid Huge Ships – do have a look at the ever helpful Amazon reviews in the link.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink:

  • The Causes of Infidelity Removed
  • The Nature and Tendency of Balls, Seriously and Candidly Considered in Two Sermons – in its intended entendre one among many Anti-Dance Books and Treatises, from the hyperbolic (The Modern Dance: A Painstaking Analysis And A Pitiless Exposé Of The Most Powerful Social Evil Of The Times) to the underwhelming (Better Not).
  • The Big Problem of Small Organs

Just weird:

  • The Art of Faking Exhibition Poultry – a departure from the usual fare of George Ryley Scott, ‘a prolific British author of books about sexual intercourse’.
  • Hand Grenade Throwing as a College Sport sadly turns out to likely be a hoax title – and yet just this year a Chinese university added a grenade throwing event to its sports day.
  • Frog Raising for Pleasure and ProfitAlbert Broel was a pioneer of canned frog meat in the USA, but his encomiums on the industry contributed to an investment bubble and, despite the allure of recipes such as Giant Bullfrog Pineapple Salad and Baked Apples Stuffed with Giant Bullfrog Meat, the frog farm craze of the 1930s could not be sustained. As we know, the toad would have been the more acceptable face of amphibian husbandry.

Bringing up the rear:

  • The Benefit of Farting Explained – a tongue in cheek, so to speak, disquisition by Jonathan Swift, ‘proving a posteriori most of the disorders entailed on [women] are owing to flatulencies not seasonably vented.’
  • The Zen of Bowel Movements: A Book of Encouragement for Overcoming Chronic Constipation, and Perfecting the Art of Letting Go – despite the title, a quite serious enterprise: ‘Part 2 shows attitudes that contribute to the marvelous ability to let go, to be real, to not hold back and constrict who we really are.’
  • The Romance of Proctology – ah! love is in the… wind?
  • Penetrating Wagner’s Ring – one Amazon reviewer remarks that the author ‘has bravely ventured into The Ring’s dense terrain and emerged with a richly textured personal log.’

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