Yesterday we came home from the library with a backpack full of books from the J (children's) science section; subjects include lasers, leprosy, nuclear energy, and the planet Venus. These will be added to the pile in Junior's room of titles on battleships, amoebas, snake care, and chemistry. Sure, we still read books together like Cornelia Funke's Ghosthunters series, but clearly, now that he's "almost ten," the kiddo has more and more of his own interests to pursue.
N.T., my husband and a big fan of contemporary fiction, introduced me to one of my favorite books of this year: The Housekeeper and the Professor. The write-up at the blog Feminist Review captures Yoko Ogawa's "careful meditation on memory and communication" well. Lisa Bower writes,
The premise of the novel is seemingly simple: the plot revolves around the relationship between a housekeeper and a once-famous mathematician, the latter of whom was in a car accident that left him brain damaged. This man's short term memory is shot; it lasts for only eighty minutes. Armed with only decades-old memories and his formulas and theories, the novel shows that despite such loss, affection and love are still possible. Math becomes the language that penetrates this man's mind and allows him to make sense of a world that has changed without him knowing it.
Translated from the Japanese, it's a really lovely book that also features the housekeeper's ten-year-old son, a baseball lover, who also finds a way to meet the professor where he is. I look forward to reading more of Ogawa's work, like The Diving Pool. N.T. also highly recommends The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry.