Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Housekeeper and the Professor

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
Translated by Stephen Snyder

Did you know that numbers play a very significant role in our lives? Or that math has proven the existence of God? The mathematic professor knows without a doubt that math is full of poetic possibility. It is the housekeeper who must learn it and the professor becomes her greatest teacher. The problem is that the professor was in an accident and suffered a brain injury which has caused his short term memory to last only 80 minutes. His long term memory is intact but he remembers nothing after 1975.

There are three main characters in the book, two are in the title and the third is the housekeeper’s son, nicknamed Root by the professor after his beloved square roots. Root and the professor form a heartwarming friendship surrounding their love of baseball.

This is a beautiful gently flowing book that glides you along and arouses your interest in the power of relationships, family, primes, factors and all sorts of curious equations. It is a book that gets the reader to think outside of the box.

As a person whose brain tends to gravitate away from mathematics, I wholeheartedly enjoyed this endearing story. I learned that math is an enchanting process of problem-solving that everyone should grasp as essential to life. Don’t shy away from this book if you practice math avoidance, in fact I would encourage you to read it. It is not merely a book about math; it is about so much more.

I have found that in Japan there has been a movie version created from this book entitled The Professor and his Beloved Equation. I will look forward to viewing it.

Would I recommend this book? YES!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Best Book List for 2009

Best Book List for 2009

Every year I ask the literate people in my life what was the best book they have read.
The rules are basically to choose a book that you felt was amazing, inspiring or one that you wanted to make sure others read. It need not be published in 2009 just read in 2009. My best book list making began in 2004, this is the sixth list.

18 people responded to my question, what is the best book you read in 2009? Here are their answers. Thanks to everyone who took time to respond and reflect on what you have read. This creative endeavor wouldn’t be possible without your valuable input.

The following books received more than one vote:
The * means it has been on the list in past years.

____*Moloka’i by Alan Brennart (3 votes)
____*Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (2 votes)
____The Help by Katherine Stockett (2 votes)
____The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (2 votes)
____*A Mercy by Toni Morrison (2 votes)
____Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (2 votes)
____ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (2 votes)
____The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (2 votes)

The following books all received 1 vote and are presented in no particular order.
____*Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
____*The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
____Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
____Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
____The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
____Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall
____Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
____Still Alice by Lisa Genova
____Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson
____The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar
____*Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen
____*The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
____The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
____Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers
____*My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
____Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
____*One Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
____Buenas Noches, Luna by Margaret Wise Brown
____Knit Together by Debbie Macomber
____Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
____The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville
____Oxygen by Carol Cassella
____*Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
____Perfectly Perfect by Lee Woodruff
____Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
____*The Latehomecomer by Lao Kahlia Yang
____South of Broad by Pat Conroy
____Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Please feel free to leave a comment and post your favorite book of 2009.

Happy Reading in 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

What is a Book Snob?

A book snob is a person who loves to read but is very selective in their reading choices. I am a book snob. Welcome to my reading world. I am the essential picky reader and proud of it.

What I don't read:
Romance novels
Mystery novels
NY Times best sellers
Chick Lit

What I do read:
Young Adult Books
Graphic Novels
Science Fiction and Fantasy

Once in a very yellow or blue moon I might read a non-snobbish book for fun.