I was one of those kids who always had a book at the table or on a road trip, and although I’m now too polite to read over dinner with people, I’m still an avid reader. I try to read books from a wide range of authors, genres, and time periods. For a few years now, I have used the Popsugar Reading Challenge as a way to inspire me to read outside my comfort zone. When I picked up their list this year, I thought to myself, “Too bad there isn’t something like this for math books.” (Unsurprisingly, my yearly reading list is always heavy on the math books, and the Popsugar challenge is not.) Then I realized I could make it happen.

Below are 12 prompts to guide your math-related reading in the coming year, along with two or three books you could (but are in no way obligated to) choose for each prompt. This is not a competition and there are no prizes. Feel free to interpret the prompts in any way you wish and count one book for multiple prompts if that’s your style. I’ve set up a public Goodreads group for anyone who is interested in making recommendations or discussing the books they are reading for this challenge. There are threads for each prompt, as well as some general discussion threads. I have not been a moderator of a Goodreads group before, so please bear with me if there are any hiccups as I get this figured out.

**A work of fiction in which a main character is a mathematician**

*The Housekeeper and the Professor*by Yōko Ogawa

*Binti*by Nnedi Okorafor

*The Mathematician’s Shiva*by Stuart Rojstaczer**A math-related book published the year you were born**

For me, that’s 1983. Your mileage may vary.

*Discrete mathematics : A Computational Approach Using BASIC*by Marvin Marcus

*Invitation to Geometry*by Z. A. Melzak**A biography of a mathematician**

*Remembering Sofya Kovalevskaya*by Michele Audin

*John Napier: Life, Logarithms, and Legacy*by Julian Havil

*Julia: A Life in Mathematics*by Constance Reid**A math book that helps you make something**

*Crafting Conundrums: Puzzles and Patterns for the Bead Crochet Artist*by Ellie Baker and Susan Goldstine

*Making Mathematics with Needlework*, edited by sarah-marie belcastro and Carolyn Yackel

*Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes*by Daina Taimina**A book with a number in the title**

*Life of Pi*by Yann Martel

*The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins*by Dr. Seuss**A book related to number theory**

*An Illustrated Theory of Numbers*by Martin H. Weissman

*Prime Numbers and the Riemann Hypothesis*by Barry Mazur and William Stein**A nonfiction math book written by a woman**

*Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics*by Eugenia Cheng

*Mathematics in India*by Kim Plofker

*Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics*by Talithia Williams**A graphic novel about math or mathematicians**

*Prime Suspects*by Andrew Granville and Jennifer Granville

*The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage*by Sydney Padua

*Logicomix*by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou**A book about connections between math and the arts**

*Music: A Mathematical Offering*by Dave Benson

*Opt Art: From Mathematical Optimization to Visual Design*by Robert Bosch

*Math Art: Truth, Beauty, and Equations*by Stephen Ornes**A book of poetry with mathematical themes**

*Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics,*edited by Sarah Glaz and JoAnne Growney

*Proportions of the Heart: Poems that Play with Mathematics*by Emily Grosholz**A children’s or YA book about math or mathematicians**

*Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA*by Sue Bradford Edwards and Duchess Harris

*The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős*by Deborah Heiligman and LeUyen Pham**A math-related book you want to give to someone who isn’t sure whether they like math**

*How Not to Be Wrong*by Jordan Ellenberg

*Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension*by Matt Parker

*The Joy of X*by Steven Strogatz

Here is a pdf you can print out to track your progress. Feel free to connect with me and other math readers via the Goodreads group or on Twitter using the #MathReadingChallenge2020 hashtag. If you’re looking for another place to discuss math-related books, check out the LThMath Book Club, also on Goodreads. For mathematical fiction inspiration, check out Alex Kasman’s page about Math Fiction. If we have fun with this, maybe we’ll do it again in 2021.

Happy math reading!