In everyday life, you don't encounter many people who express that they feel a connection between mathematics and fun. Not where I live, in any case. This is true, despite that fact that many people who have achieved some math knowledge relish making use of that knowledge (and find joy in new mathematical realizations).
I wonder whether it is possible for someone who is an avid recreational reader to pick up a book, become engaged in it, and learn something about mathematics despite not seeing him or herself as a lover of mathematics.
The book(s) would need to be engaging, obviously. They may or may not ostensibly be about mathematics. Possibly one of more "big ideas" or important concepts would be covered in a way that:
- The reader gains a new understanding of what math, itself, is. Perhaps they only encountered math as arithmetic and calculation in school and never clicked with algebra beyond some symbol manipulation. Through this book they encounter math as a way to see aspects of the world that otherwise remain unseen.
- OR: The reader revisits some aspect of school math and sees it in a different light. They never imagined it would actually be useful or interesting somewhere.
- OR: The reader actually learns some mathematics they can use.
My questions to you are:
- Do you think it's possible or probable to recommend a book of this type to a non math-lover and have them later tell you "I really enjoyed that book. And it turned out a good portion of it was about math."
- What specific math content or aspect of math do you think would make a good subject for a book of this type?
- Do you know of any books that already exist which have been or could become popular, and are as I described above?
Feel free to answer any or all of the questions.