Friday, 12 March 2010

The Housekeeper and the Professor: book recommendation

Yesterday morning I was chairing the West Midlands regional meeting for the TDA's Student Associates Scheme at Staffordshire University. I left at about 1.20 pm, and, thanks to a broken down train somewhere around Derby, got home to Norwich at about 8 pm!

However, this gave me the ideal opportunity to finish the novel I was reading: a charming, subtle book that Jenny, one of my two daughters, astutely chose for me at Christmas. So I recommend to you: Yoko Agawa (2009, translated by Stephen Snyder) The Housekeeper and the Professor. London: Harvill Secker.

It's the story of a housekeeper and her son who look after a Japanese professor of mathematics, who has lost all but 80 minutes of short-term memory in an accident. But deeply embedded in his memory is his love of number theory, a world into which the housekeeper and her son are gradually drawn. It's truly enchanting.

To get the most out of it you may need to brush up on multiples, factors, primes and number patterns: Chapters 11 and 12 of the current edition of Mathematics Explained for Primary Teachers!

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