This novel’s quirky concept will please math buffs and beginning trigonometry students, but it may wear thin for others.

THE TRIGONOMETRY TRYST

Bailey’s debut novel follows human versions of six trigonometric functions as they intersect in the final weeks of a college school year.

Sin, Cos, Tan, Sec, Cot, and Csc are all students at Unit University, a school whose buildings are cleverly arranged in a perfect circle. Each character has a unique personality, based on his or her characteristics as a mathematical function, as well as hopes and dreams for the end of the school year. Sec, a star college basketball player, has his eyes on Cos, so he enlists the help of self-doubting but computer-savvy Csc to help win her over. Cos, however, is more interested in the moody, mysterious, and driven Sin. Tan, a headstrong architecture student, wants to win an upcoming design contest to have her building constructed on the campus, but she needs the help of the inconsistent Cot, a graduate civil engineering student, to survey the plot of land. While visiting the campus dating website Unit Match, Cos finds a complementary profile that, unfortunately, doesn’t list the person’s name. There’s an invitation to meet on the profile, but it doesn’t list a location—only a date and time. Cos realizes that the owner of the profile has created a test, and she tries to figure it out with Tan’s help. These characters’ machinations do lead up to the titular tryst, but the plot meanders to its conclusion without much suspense. Still, Bailey admirably weaves in discussions of other, lesser-known uses for the functions involving the phases of the moon, the arc of a basketball shot, and architectural planning, filling the book with intriguing facts and tidbits. The characterizations, however, are somewhat odd: at some points, the characters are shown to be aware of their status as functions, at others, they’re simply ordinary college students navigating social dramas. The pairing-off of the various players, based on their properties, is a clever device, and most compelling with the well-defined characters, such as Sin and Cos. Other relationships seem forced, though, and defined by mathematics alone.

This novel’s quirky concept will please math buffs and beginning trigonometry students, but it may wear thin for others.

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5396-9535-6

Page Count: 332

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2017

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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