Today’s recommendation is a more contemporary novel that I fell in love with a couple of years ago.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa is a short and sweet, slice of literature. The Professor is a brilliant mathematician, who, after an accident, has suffered damage to his brain. Consequently, he is only able to retain his short-term memory for 80 minutes. After that, things must be re-explained to him.
His new Housekeeper, a woman with a small son, shows us what life is like for him. They communicate best through math; he even nicknames her son, Root. Through seemingly irrelevant numbers and statistics (of course, the Professor loves baseball, the sport statistics’ gold mine), they form a bond that begins to pierce through his memory loss.
This book is ultimately about the characters, which is always a good thing, as far as I’m concerned. The three main characters are lovingly and realistically portrayed, and even in such a short work, they are three-dimensional. The other character of the story is math, which surprisingly, isn’t dull and adds another depth to the story. I found myself – an admitted math-hater – actually enjoying the way the Professor, the Housekeeper, and Root all connect through numbers and equations.
A heartwarming, sweet story!
Or, check out another novel by Ogawa: Hotel Iris
The LET’S TALK ABOUT IT series is back!
This season, we’re honored to present the popular reading and discussion series in conjunction with the Smithsonian Exhibit, titled “The Way We Worked”, brought into the area by the Magic Valley Arts Council.
Stop by the Reference Desk and pick up a set of the five books in the series, WORKING: MAKING A LIVING, MAKING A LIFE. The books will be discussed every third Wednesday, starting next week (March 7), at 6:30 PM. You don’t have to be a TFPL cardholder to participate; everyone is welcome!
Here’s the schedule (you can get it and more information on our website):
March 7 – Growing Up by Russell Baker (with guest speaker, Shelley McEuen)
March 28 – The Professor’s House by Willa Cather (with guest speaker, Clark Draney)
April 18 – The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder (with guest speaker, Steven Hall)
May 9 – Empire Falls by Richard Russo (with guest speaker, Susan Norton)
May 30 – Cliff Walk: A Memoir of a Job Lost and a Life Found by Don Snyder (with guest speaker, Steven Hall)
Let’s Talk About It is sponsored by the Idaho Commission for Libraries, the Idaho Humanities Council, and U.S. Bank.