Sep 05, 2008, 12:34PM

Quite possibly the most boring book ever written (judging by its cover, of course)

Britain's fetish with Greece has come a long way since Lord Byron. Greek Rural Postmen and their Cancellation Numbers—published by the Greek Hellenic Philatelic Society of Great Britain, which "exists to encourage the collection of Greek stamps and to promote their study"—sounds like a great gift for Dad (you know, assuming Dad is a collector of Hellenic stamps).

The Diagram prize is The Bookseller magazine's award for oddly named publications, and this 72-page book has won the Diagram of Diagrams, for the weirdest title in the past three decades. It nipped in ahead of People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It, and How to Avoid Huge Ships.

"I think the voters wanted a feelgood story about rural postmen because of all the news of post offices closing around the country," said The Bookseller's charts editor Philip Stone. He has so far been unsuccessful in his attempts to contact the book's author Derek Willan to let him know about his win. "There's no prize but the boost in sales is surely prize enough," Stone said. "When we announced our last shortlist, sales increased by 1,000%, from one copy sold in the two weeks previously to ten afterwards."

The Diagram prize was launched in 1978 as a way to relieve boredom at a particularly tedious Frankfurt book fair. The Diagram of Diagrams saw the public voting for their favourite odd book title from 30 years of former winners. More than 1,000 votes were received, with Greek Rural Postmen taking 13% of the public vote.


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