We expected some oddities when reading over the winners of a contest that rewards bizarre book titles. But it’s a sign of the complete success of the Diagram Prize that this year’s list of honorees made us wonder if it was the real thing or if we were being punk’d. As it happens, the prize is legit (if somewhat tongue-in-cheek), and so is this year’s winner, “Crocheting Adventures With Hyperbolic Planes.” Equally real are the runner-ups, “What Kind of Bean Is This Chihuahua?” and “Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich.”
The contest is sponsored by the British trade magazine The Bookseller, which reported receiving 4,500 votes on this year’s nominees, and says the award was “originally conceived as a way to avoid boredom at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, and was first awarded to 'Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice' in 1978.”
Winning author Daina Taimina, an adjunct associate professor of mathematics at Cornell University, told the Telegraph newspaper that the title wasn’t her original plan. “When I was writing the book, my husband was doing the layout and had to save a file, so he asked me for a title. Since I was expecting the publisher to come up with a great title for marketing purposes I told him to put whatever he wanted and this seemed very appropriate.”
And, in the end, seems it served a marketing purpose of its own.
Rebekah Denn blogs at eatallaboutit.com.