We are pleased to see that science is well represented among the contenders for the Diagram prize for the oddest book title of the year. The top titles for 2009 were announced last month by UK magazine The Bookseller, which organises the prize.
Overall winner, with 42 per cent of the 4500 public votes cast, was Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Diana Taimina. This beat off competition from Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter by David Crompton, Governing Lethal Behaviour in Autonomous Robots by Ronald Arkin and The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease by Ellen Scherl and Maria Dubinski.
The less obviously scientific What Kind of Bean is this Chihuahua? by Tara Jensen-Meyer and Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich by James Yannes came second and third, respectively.
Horace Bent, custodian of the prize at The Bookseller, admitted that his personal favourite had been the spoons book, but went on to acknowledge that: "The public proclivity towards non-Euclidian needlework proved too great for the Third Reich to overcome."
Philip Stone, the prize administrator, said he thought that "what won it for Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes is that, very simply, the title is completely bonkers."
The Diagram prize has been running since 1978. Its inaugural winner also had a scientific theme: it was Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.
The mind boggles at the mere thought of reading almost any of those titles!