I’d actually enjoy a respite from reading… but popular math books keep showing up! Currently in my reading queue are 3 new volumes, so 3 quick blurbs today on:

“**Finding Fibonacci**” by Keith Devlin

“**Beyond Infinity**” by Eugenia Cheng

“**The Mathematics Lover’s Companion**” by Edward Scheinerman

Regular readers here know I love Keith Devlin’s writing…

*BUT* primarily when he’s explicating mathematics or logic. I’ve never had much interest in math history pre-19th-century, so didn't read Keith’s earlier book/biography ("

**A Man of Numbers**") of the mathematician we know as Fibonacci. His new effort, "

**Finding Fibonacci**," is, again more historical, biographical, and travelogue, than mathematical, so, early on (about 75 pgs. in.) it’s not particularly grabbing me. It’s even quirkier though because it’s a book

*about* how he wrote the prior book (an odd self-referential stroke of authorship) — one can sense Keith’s own passion about the subject and the research/detective path it put him on, but you probably need more interest in math history than I have to fully appreciate it, or, if you read/enjoyed the earlier volume you'll want this follow-up (… ANYthing by Keith is worth reading, but I do find his greatest talents in translating mathematics to a general audience). Also, am happy to see Dr. Devlin is with Princeton University Press with this volume.

For whatever reason, infinity seems suddenly to be a hot topic… it’s plenty interesting of course, I just don’t know why there’s such a current spate of writing about it, but somewhere Cantor is smiling. ;)

Anyway, Eugenia Cheng’s 2nd book (after her success with “

**How To Bake Pi**”) is “

**Beyond Infinity**.” The early pages (I’m not far in) are pretty standard fare on the topic (i.e. chapter 2 is entirely on Hilbert’s Hotel), but Dr. Cheng is a fine writer and glancing ahead, where she gets deeper into the weeds of infinity, l anticipate the material getting more interesting, varied, and challenging along the way. There are a lot of good introductions to infinity out there (Ian Stewart has a new one out as well), and no doubt Cheng’s will take its place among that group.

The Devlin and Cheng books arrived as review copies, but a few days ago I stumbled upon a new volume, in a brick-and-mortar store, I’d NOT seen/heard any buzz about, by Johns Hopkins mathematician Edward Scheinerman, “

**The Mathematics Lover’s Companion**.” Immediately loved the title and so far, am loving the content as well… it’s divided into 3 parts on “Number,” “Shape,” and “Uncertainty,” with bite-size writing on a wide swath of topics within each part (23 total chapters; I would almost say mini-lessons) — some topics fairly well-worn, but others less-so. The prose is excellent, terse and clear (and Scheinerman has won previous

**MAA** awards for his writing).

The book reminds me a bit of Strogatz’s “**The Joy of X**,” in its layout of successive essays, but a notch or two more advanced for the lay reader. So, especially if you enjoyed Strogatz’s work and are ready to step up for something a bit more challenging, grab this volume. I imagine even well-read math fans will find parts of the volume fresh and useful, and I also suspect it will be one of my 3 favorite books at year-end wrap-up! A very nice, exciting surprise find. As one reviewer synopsizes, “*An elegant sampler of many beautiful and interesting mathematical topics. This could become one of the best books available for a popular audience interested in what mathematics really is*.”

Anyway, these are just quick takes, subject to change, and I’ll try to offer final opinions at some later date, but for now I especially recommend checking out the Scheinerman volume.