The Time I Learnt Math From Infinity + One by Amy Harmon

June 26, 2014

The latest book that rocked my world is Infinity + One by Amy Harmon. Infinity + One first came under my radar when Colleen Hoover started raving about it on Facebook (she probably did on Twitter too, but a lot of stuff gets lost in my feed under the continuous barrage of tweets). I've never read any of Amy's works before, but now, you can be sure I will be checking them out!

Infinity + One is the story of Bonnie Rae and Finn Clyde (Bonnie & Clyde, get it?), and how they come to terms with their own lives after one extraordinary event which brings them together. Bonnie is a country star (the singing type) who simply gives up on day on tour and attempts committing suicide. But before she can, Finn, who in all probability should not be there or even have been able to see her, stops her from jumping. Finn himself is not all that fine with life in general. A couple of years out of jail, he is jobless, for all means and purposes homeless, and down in the dumps when he gets a call to join a casino in Vegas, which is where he's headed when he spots Bonnie. Determined to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of her tightly controlled life, Bonnie invites herself along on Finn's trip. And so begins their journey across the country, where they meet extraordinary people, deal with their respective problems and find that maybe, just maybe, Bonnie and Clyde are meant to be. 

I really, really loved Infinity + One. The characters, the humour, the emotions, it all got to me, and I'm so, so glad I got to read this book. I did get a little irritated with the Bonnie & Clyde sort of retelling that was pulled towards the end, and the repetitive references to the original couple, but oh well, since the rest of it was so damn good, I really dont mind.

My favourite part of Infinity + One? Finn Clyde (who is not what you'd expect an ex-convict to be like. The guy is like, so gentle, people!), who just so happens to be a math genius. Thanks to that little quirk, there are several math facts, paradoxes and general math fun that's been woven into the story. Being a bit of a math nerd myself (well, I'm the daughter of two certified math nerds and a sister of one, so I guess it's to be expected), I found this aspect of the book especially interesting and fun! I also learnt a LOT, and trying to figure out the paradoxes and games was a definite and welcome change from the usual reading experience.

Since I had a lot of fun puzzling out math and logic with Infinity + One and also, this book is highly recommended for nerds and lovers of sweet contemporary romances alike, I thought sharing some of my new found knowledge would further entice you to read this amazing book. Also, making a list is always excellent. For documentation purposes or even simply because. 

When You Learn Math From A Book (that's not a math text book)

  1. The Number One:
    One is the number of unity. One is the number that the ancient Greeks equated with God. It is also the number that all other numbers spring from.
  2. The Number Four:
     Four is the first composite number, the second square, and the first square of a prime.
  3. The Number Five:
    Five is the only odd and untouchable number - meaning its not the sum of any of the proper divisors of any positive integer. 
  4. Hilbert's Paradox of the Grand Hotel:
    Imagine there's a hypothetical hotel with a countably infinite number of rooms, all of which are occupied. One might be tempted to think that the hotel would not be able to accommodate any newly arriving guests, as would be the case with a finite number of rooms, since all the rooms are occupied.
    But, suppose a new guest arrives and wishes to be accommodated in the hotel. Because the hotel has infinitely many rooms, we can move the guest occupying room 1 to room 2, the guest occupying room 2 to room 3 and so on, and fit the newcomer into room 1. By repeating this procedure, it is possible to make room for any number of new guests.
  5. Curves:
    A curve is just the conjunction of many straight, infinitesimally short, lines.
  6. The Center of The Universe:
    A centre is defined as a point equidistant from the ends of a line or the extremities of a figure. In order to have a centre, you need to have edges or boundaries to measure it from. The universe, however, has no edges or boundaries. This is because the universe is defined as everything that is and ever will be (not to confuse it with the observable universe).
    So what does that mean? Everywhere is the centre of the universe.
    Side Note: All those people who think they're the center of the universe? Umm this sucks, but they actually might be.
  7. Real Numbers vs Infinity:
    "A real number is just a value that represents a quantity on a continuous line. But that doesn't mean it shows the value of something real. Almost any number that you can think of is a real number. Whole numbers, rational numbers, irrational numbers."
    "And infinity can't be measured." I thought I understood.
    "Yeah." Finn grasped my fingers that played against his lips. "There's no point that marks infinity."
    "But it still exists."
    "It exists, but it isn't real," Finn countered, obviously enjoying the word play. 
  8. What is a Real Number?
    "When mathematicians came up with imaginary numbers, accepted them, defined them, they had to come up with a name for everything that wasn't imaginary. Everything that wasn't an imaginary number from that point on became a 'real' number."
    Doesn't this remind you of a certain Sherlock quote? If you think you're thinking what I'm thinking, then let me know in your comment! ;)
So those are some of the many math related things that I learnt from this awesome book. I also learnt a lot of other really great stuff, which you'll have to read the book to find out. Because, you know it's made of awesome and you really dont want to miss it.

Consider this my first official book pushing campaign.


So... have you read it yet?
Yes? Yay! Tell me what you think! And did you find the math stuff interesting like I did, or didn't you enjoy it as much?
No? Hmph! Well, when you finally read the book thanks to my fledgling (but still considerably persuasive) book pushing skills, you may thank me. You're welcome ;D