August 25, 2007

Math murmurings

The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
"Annoyed with his math teacher who assigns word problems and won't let him use a calculator, twelve-year-old Robert finds help from the number devil in his dreams." This books was on the middle school
Battle of the Books challenge last year. Read this famous Bavarian author’s (poet, translator, editor...) new name for prime numbers. They are personified as prima donnas. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002, pronunciation and definition of prima donna: (pree-muh, prim-uh DON-uh) A vain and overly sensitive person who is temperamental and difficult to work with: "That Jenkins girl is a good gymnast, but she certainly is a prima donna." In opera, prima donna is the principal female soloist. From Italian, meaning "first lady." Did this author write the book to confuse and make people hate math? One reader said she would "read a whole page and think, ‘wait, what just happened?’" Try this book and decipher this unusual topic and writing style. See what else Cedar Lee, Auburn, Taylor, and Warrenton Middle School students will be reading for the Battle of the Books this year. (For more information about America's Battle of the Books, a voluntary reading incentive program for students in grades 4-12, check out

"Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother." As this mystery becomes ordered, can you decipher the excellent drawings as well?

The Only Math Book You'll Ever Need by Stanley Kogelman and Barbara R. Heller
"The math contained in taxes, banking, loans, and encountered in restaurants, boutiques, travel, hobbies, gambling, and home improvement is presented for the non-math person, you and me." Share this with family and enjoy mathematics together.

Quick and Easy Math by Isaac Asimov
"Describes shortcuts to use in solving problems in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, and fractions." Anything from this famous brain must be good!