Covered Up Blog

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The strange, the weird, the bizarre, the winner

Author Daina Taimina didn’t know it, but she made a wise move in asking her husband for a title for her book on the fly. His answer: Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes, and now that book is getting more attention than Taimina likely ever dreamed.

The title took top honors in a contest called the Diagram Prize, sponsored by the British Trade magazine The Bookseller. Celebrating bizarre book titles, the annual competition yielded 4,500 votes this year, according to The Bookseller.

Second and third places respectively went to What Kind of Bean is the Chihuahua? by Tara Jansen-Meyer and Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich by James A. Yannes.

I have to say, I’m a little surprised Third Reich didn’t take the cake, but I suppose third place ain’t too shabby.)

Taimina, an adjunct associate professor of mathematics at Cornell University, told the Telegraph newspaper that while she was writing the book, her husband was working on a layout for it. When he had to save the file, he asked her for a title. She assumed that the publisher would ultimately decide the book’s name, so she told him to use whatever title came to mind. And that’s exactly what he did.

Crocheting Adventures explores non-Euclidean geometry and the hyperbolic plane in an illustrated, reader-friendly, approachable format. Taimina provides instructions for crocheting models of the hyperbolic plane, pseudosphere and more, which act as hands-on tools for understanding these abstract concepts.

Other titles in this year’s contest: Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter by David Crompton, Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots by Ronald C. Arkin, and The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease by Ellen Scherl and Marla Dubinsky. According to The Booksellers, the Diagram Prize was originally conceived as a means to avoid bored patrons at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair. The inaugural award in 1978 went to Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.


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