Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The 2009 Diagram Prize

Every year, the British trade magazine, The Bookseller, awards the Diagram Prize for the oddest book title of the year. A record 4500 people voted in the 2009 competition, and the winner is Crocheting Adventures With Hyberbolic Planes by Dana Taimina.

From the Christian Science Monitor web site:
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.”
Crocheting Adventures With Hyperbolic Planes won decisively with 42 percent of the vote, beating second place finisher What Kind of Bean is this Chihuahua? By Tara Jansen-Meyer by 12 percentage points. My personal favorite, Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich, received a disappointing eleven percent.

The Bookseller received a record 90 submissions to the 2009 contest. Horace Bent, custodian of the contest, cited Twitter as the reason for the tripling of submissions compared to the 2008 competition. As a result, he had to create an intermediate "very longlist" of 49 entries before a panel of judges could produce a shortlist of six for voting.

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