Archive for March, 2018

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1991

We’re going to “spring” back to this week in 1991 for a look at the books we were reading almost 30 years ago (and if you can remember that far back, you probably don’t realize it has been almost 30 years). It was the year of Desert Storm, Rodney King, and the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego debuted on television, and we were all bopping to Michael Jackson’s Black or White.

What were we reading? Here are the New York Times best sellers from the week of March 24, 1991:



1. Heartbeat by Danielle Steel

2. The Druid of Shannara by Terry Brooks

3. The Eagle Has Flown by Jack Higgins

4. Forgiving by Lavyrle Spencer

5. Cold Fire by Dean R. Koontz

6. The Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel

7. Magic Hour by Susan Isaacs

8. The Firm by John Grisham

9. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

10. The Secret Pilgrim by John Le Carré

11. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

12. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

13. The Old Contemptibles by Martha Grimes

14. Battleground by W. E. B. Griffin

15. Possession by A. S. Byatt



1. Iron John by Robert Bly

2. And the Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi with Bruce B. Henderson

3. The Prize by Daniel Yergin

4. The Next Century by David Halberstam

5. You Just Don’t Understand by Deborah Tannen

6. The Civil War by Geoffrey C. Ward with Ric Burns and Ken Burns

7. A Life on the Road by Charles Kuralt

8. Millie’s Book, as Dictated to Barbara Bush

9. Riders on the Storm by John Densmore

10. Darkness Visible by William Styron

11. The New Russians by Hedrick Smith

12. The Spiritual Life of Children by Robert Coles

13. Patrimony by Philip Roth

14. Breaking Barriers by Carl T. Rowan

15. In Our Defense by Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy

16. The Japan That Can Say No by Shintaro Ishihara

Take Ten: Math in Fiction

With Pi Day just passed, we started thinking about some of the times we’ve unexpectedly – and pleasantly – seen math in fiction. Sometimes it fits the plot, and sometimes it’s part of a character’s traits, but in the following books, it’s an obvious positive rational element (well, sometimes it’s irrational, and maybe sometimes negative… :).


Anathem – Neal Stephenson

  • Having lived in a monastery since childhood, away from the violent upheavals of the outside world, Raz becomes one of a group of formerly cloistered scholars who are appointed by a fear-driven higher power to avert an impending catastrophe.

The Boy Who Escaped Paradise – J.M. Lee

  • An astonishing story of the mysteries dividing truth and deception that follows the odyssey of Ahn Gil­mo, a young autistic math genius, as he escapes from the most isolated country in the world and searches for the only family he has left.

Break Your Heart – Rhonda Helms

  • Math major Megan Porter is on the fast track to graduating with honors, but her senior year is quickly turned upside-down by her new thesis advisor, the intriguing cryptography professor Dr. Nick Muramoto. As she decodes the hidden messages he leaves in the margins of her assignments and in their emails, she realizes this might be more than a schoolgirl crush.

The Doubter’s Almanac – Ethan Canin

  • An exploration the mysteries of a father, a son, and a family, as well as the nature of genius, jealousy, ambition, and love.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – Mark Haddon

  • 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.

The Fractal Murders – Mark Cohen

  • Learning that three instructors who were researching fractals have died under mysterious circumstances, fractal geometry professor Jane Smythe turns for help to former marine and private investigator Pepper Keane.

The Housekeeper and the Professor – Yoko Ogawa

  • A relationship blossoms between a brilliant math professor suffering from short-term memory problems following a traumatic head injury and the young housekeeper, the mother of a ten-year-old son, hired to care for him.

Measuring the World – Daniel Kehlmann

  • At the end of the 18th century, two young Germans set out to measure the world. One of them, Alexander von Humboldt, fought his way through jungles and across the steppes. The other, mathematician and astronomer Carl Friedrich Gauss, stayed at home in Gottingen, to prove that space is curved.

No One You Know – Michelle Richmond

  • Twenty years after the unsolved murder of her sister Lila, Ellie’s chance meeting with the man accused of the crime leads to the discovery of Lila’s secret notebook, filled with mathematical equations that lead to other enigmas in her sister’s life.

The Parrot’s Theorem – Denis Guedj

  • After inheriting a large library of math books, Mr. Ruche, a reclusive Parisian bookseller, encounters a young boy named Max who owns a math-obsessed parrot, and enlists the help of the parrot to teach Max and his siblings the wonders of mathematics.


Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus, which you can log into using your Library card for more great reading resources.



Great Online Resource: Music Map

At the Library, we’re always asked for “readalikes” – that is, books that are similar to a favorite read. Well, if you’ve always hoped you could find a “soundalike,” we’ve found a great resource to help you find new music. Take a look at Music Map. All you have to do is plug in an artist’s name, and Music Map will create a chart of other artists you might enjoy – in similar genres or from the same time periods.

Go play – and then don’t forget to look up those artists in the Library’s Freegal service for free song downloads and streaming!

Hygge Style