A book charting the frontier between handicrafts and geometry on Friday won Britain’s quirkiest literary award, the Diagram Prize for year’s oddest book title.‘Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes’ by mathematician Daina Taimina beat runners-up ‘What Kind of Bean is This Chihuahua?’ and ‘Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich.’Prize overseer Horace Bent said “the public proclivity towards non-Euclidian needlework” proved too strong for the competition.Founded in 1978, the prize is run by trade magazine The Bookseller. Its rules say the books must be serious and their titles not merely a gimmick. The winner is decided by public vote.
The other finalists were ‘Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter,’ ‘Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots’ and ‘The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.’
The winning book’s title may be odd, but the subject is serious. Taimina, a mathematician at Cornell University in New York state, uses crochet to illustrate the properties of hyperbolic planes — difficult-to-model forms in which lines curve away from each other instead of running parallel or converging.