Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimina beats Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich to the top spot
The annual prize for the oddest book title has been won by the splendidly eccentric Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes, by Dr Daina Taimina. Last year's winner was The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais.
The Diagram prize has been awarded annually by The Bookseller magazine since 1978. Horace Bent, the magazine's diarist, who administers it, said: "I think what won it for the book is that, very simply, the title is completely bonkers. On the one hand you have the typically feminine, gentle and woolly world of needlework and, on the other, the exciting but incredibly unwoolly world of hyperbolic geometry and negative curvature."
"One hopes that Dr Taimina's win prompts other enlightened crocheters, knitters and embroiderers to produce similar works, so I look forward to seeing books such as Cross-stitching String Theory and Felting Feats with Phenomenology in the near future."
Taimina will receive no prize aside from "the sales boost that will now inevitably occur", according to Bent.
The book is in fact a serious work by a mathematician at Cornell University in New York state. As David Henderson, Taimina's husband, has explained, a hyperbolic plane "is a simply connected Riemannian manifold with negative Gaussian curvature". Hyperbolic planes – surfaces with constant negative curvature – which are studied as a branch of non-Euclidian geometry, have traditionally been hard to visualise: Taimina's breakthrough was to use crochet to create such shapes. Dr Taimina's work has appeared in an exhibition titled Not The Knitting You Know.
The other shortlisted titles included Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich by James A Yannes.