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Library Lines - 04/2023

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Article Date
April 1, 2023

April is Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month. While math is something many of us may not love or think we use every day, there is plenty to enjoy about it. Check out these books from the Chatham Area Public Library to learn a little bit more about this valuable subject.

For the adult reader, these fiction books are an easy way to bring a little math appreciation to your life. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa is the story of a brilliant single mom, her 10-year-old son, and the aging professor whose house she cleans. The professor is a mathematical genius who, after a mysterious accident, cannot remember anything after eighty minutes. Over the course of a few months, these three develop a friendship, based on a shared love of mathematics and baseball, that will change each of their lives permanently. The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi is a mystery novel about professor of mathematics, Grant McAllister, who quietly wrote and published a mystery novel containing seven perfect murder mysteries. But that was thirty years ago and now Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor wishes to republish his book. Together they must revisit those old stories, but there are things in the stories that don't add up. Inconsistencies left by Grant that Julia begins to suspect are more than mistakes; maybe they’re clues? Suddenly, Julia finds herself with a mystery of her own to solve. The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzenberger is a young adult novel that follows Robert, a twelve-year-old boy who hates math, until he finds help from the number devil in his dreams. In twelve dreams, the number devil leads Robert to discover the amazing world of numbers: infinite numbers, prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, and numbers that magically appear in triangles. As we dream with him, we are taken further and further into mathematical theory, where ideas eventually take flight, until everyone-from those who fumble over fractions to those who solve complex equations in their heads-winds up marveling at what numbers can do.

For adult readers wanting to delve into the non-story realm, try these nonfiction books. Math Games with Bad Drawings by Ben Orlin is a masterfully compiled collection of dozens of playable mathematical games.  Each game has been hand-chosen to be 1) fun, 2) thought-provoking, and 3) easy to play. With just paper, pens, and the occasional handful of coins, you and a partner can enjoy hours of fun--and hours of challenge. The Magic of Math by Arthur Benjamin is the math book you wish you had in school. Using a delightful assortment of examples--from poker hands to measuring mountains, this book empowers you to see the beauty, simplicity, and truly magical properties behind those formulas and equations that once left your head spinning. The Library also has plenty of basic math books if you need to freshen up on topics like algebra or calculus.

Grade school readers might enjoy The Three Little Pigs by Robin Twiddy. This takes the classic story and uses science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to make the pigs' tale work better, such as determining how the first two houses might have been built to withstand the wolf's attacks. Math Attack! by Joan Horton is the story of when an arithmetic strain scrambles a student's brain, no one in town is safe from the numbers that go flying out of the child's head. Liz Learns a Lesson by Callie Barkley tells of how Liz is excited about her summer plans until she learns that, instead of taking an art class, she will have to be in summer school to improve her math skills. However, a fun teacher, a classroom pet, and support from her friends might get her through.

Enjoy math and statistics this month with help from your friendly neighborhood Library.