To help you choose here is some blurb for each nomination.
Alex’s Adventures In Numberland – Alex Bellos (Published as Here’s Looking at Euclid in the US)
Mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives: from geometry of the 50p piece to how probability can help you win in any casino. In search of weird and wonderful mathematical phenomena, the author travels across the globe and meets the world’s fastest mental calculators in Germany and a startlingly numerate chimpanzee in Japan.
The Number Devil – Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Twelve-year-old Robert hates his maths teacher. He sets his class boring problems and won’t let them use their calculators. Then in his dreams Robert meets the Number Devil who brings the subject magically to life. The Number Devil knows how to make maths devilishly simple.
Why Do Buses Come In Threes – Rob Eastaway/ Jeremy Wyndham
Fascinating questions are answered in this entertaining and highly informative book, which is ideal for anyone wanting to remind themselves – or discover for the first time – that maths is relevant to almost everything we do.
Finding Moonshine – Marcus Du Sautoy
This new book from the author of ‘The Music of the Primes’ combines a personal insight into the mind of a working mathematician with the story of one of the biggest adventures in mathematics: the search for symmetry.
Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson enjoys cult status among science fiction fans and techie types thanks to Snow Crash, which so completely redefined conventional notions of the high-tech future that it became a self- fulfilling prophecy. But if his cyberpunk classic was big, Cryptonomicon is huge, gargantuan, massive– not just in size but in scope and appeal. It’s the hip, readable heir to Gravity’s Rainbow and the Illuminatus trilogy. And it’s only the first of a proposed series–for more information, read our interview with Stephenson.
Flatland – Edwin A Abbott
Classic of science (and mathematical) fiction — charmingly illustrated by author — describes the journeys of A. Square and his adventures in Spaceland (three dimensions), Lineland (one dimension) and Pointland (no dimensions). A. Square also entertains thoughts of visiting a land of four dimensions — a revolutionary idea for which he is banished from Spaceland.
How to Cut A Cake – Ian Stewart
Welcome to the magical world of mathematics! This title features quirky tales, each of which presents a mathematical puzzle – challenging, fun, and also introducing the reader to a significant mathematical problem.
Fermat’s Last Theorem – Simon Singh
‘I have a truly marvellous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.’
It was with these words, written in the 1630s, that Pierre de Fermat intrigued and infuriated the mathematics community. For over 350 years, proving Fermat’s Last Theorem was the most notorious unsolved mathematical problem, a puzzle whose basics most children could grasp but whose solution eluded the greatest minds in the world. In 1993, after years of secret toil, Englishman Andrew Wiles announced to an astounded audience that he had cracked Fermat’s Last Theorem. He had no idea of the nightmare that lay ahead.
In ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ Simon Singh has crafted a remarkable tale of intellectual endeavour spanning three centuries, and a moving testament to the obsession, sacrifice and extraordinary determination of Andrew Wiles: one man against all the odds.
Phantom Tollbooth – Norman Juster
When Milo finds an enormous package in his bedroom, he,s delighted to have something to relieve his boredom with school. And when he opens it to find – as the label states – One Genuine Turnpike Tollbooth, he gets right into his pedal car and sets off through the Tollbooth and away on a magical journey! Milo,s extraordinary voyage takes him into such places as the Land of Expectation, the Doldrums, the Mountains of Ignorance and the Castle in the Air. He meets the weirdest and most unexpected characters (such as Tock, the watchdog, the Gelatinous Giant, and the Threadbare Excuse, who mumbles the same thing over and over again), and, once home, can hardly wait to try out the Tollbooth again. But will it be still there when he gets back from school? This new edition of Norton Juster,s classic story includes a special “Why You,ll Love This Book” introduction by award-winning author, Diana Wynne Jones.
Uncle Petros & Goldbach’s Conjecture – Apostolos Doxiadis
A funny and deceptively simple fable about the lonely excitements and crazy ambition that drive mathematics. “There are very few fictions which attempt a theme of this order. …It allows the lay reader lucid access to intrinsically closed worlds”. “Observer”.
The Housekeeper and the Professor – Yoko Ogawa
He is a brilliant maths professor with a peculiar problem – ever since a traumatic head injury seventeen years ago, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. She is a sensitive but astute young housekeeper who is entrusted to take care of him. Each morning, a strange, beautiful relationship blossoms between them.
The Joy of X – Steven Strogatz
‘Strogatz’s graceful prose is perfectly pitched for a popular maths book: authoritative without being patronising, friendly without being whimsical, and always clear and accessible. His x marks the spot – and hits it.’ Alex Bellos, author of Alex’s Adventures in Numberland
1089 and all that – David Acheson
Pure mathematical gold, this insightful book by established author David Acheson makes mathematics accessible to everyone. The entertaining journey through the subject includes some fascinating puzzles and is accompanied by numerous illustrations and sketches by world famous cartoonists.
The Man Who Counted – Malba Tahan
The adventures of Beremiz Samir take the reader on an exotic journey in which, time and again, he summons his extraordinary mathematics powers to settle disputes, give wise advice, overcome dangerous enemies, and win for himself fame, fortune and rich rewards.
A Mathematician’s Apology – GH Hardy
A Mathematician’s Apology is the famous essay by British mathematician G. H. Hardy. It concerns the aesthetics of mathematics with some personal content, and gives the layman an insight into the mind of a working mathematician. Indeed, this book is often considered one of the best insights into the mind of a working mathematician written for the layman
The Best Writing on Mathematics 2012 – Mircea Pitici
This annual anthology brings together the year’s finest mathematics writing from around the world. Featuring promising new voices alongside some of the foremost names in the field, The Best Writing on Mathematics 2012 makes available to a wide audience many articles not easily found anywhere else–and you don’t need to be a mathematician to enjoy them. These writings offer surprising insights into the nature, meaning, and practice of mathematics today. They delve into the history, philosophy, teaching, and everyday occurrences of math, and take readers behind the scenes of today’s hottest mathematical debates. Here Robert Lang explains mathematical aspects of origami foldings; Terence Tao discusses the frequency and distribution of the prime numbers; Timothy Gowers and Mario Livio ponder whether mathematics is invented or discovered; Brian Hayes describes what is special about a ball in five dimensions; Mark Colyvan glosses on the mathematics of dating; and much, much more.
A Mathematician’s Lament – Paul Lockhart
A brilliant research mathematician who has devoted his career to teaching kids reveals math to be creative and beautiful and rejects standard anxiety-producing teaching methods. Witty and accessible, Paul Lockhart’s controversial approach will provoke spirited debate among educators and parents alike and it will alter the way we think about math forever.
Math Girls – Hiroshi Yuki
Currently in its eighteenth printing in Japan, this best-selling novel is available in English at last. Combining mathematical rigor with light romance, Math Girls is a unique introduction to advanced mathematics, delivered through the eyes of three students as they learn to deal with problems seldom found in textbooks. Math Girls has something for everyone, from advanced high school students to math majors and educators.