This year my patience for male entitlement reached new lows. I was able to enjoy this book in part because of the setting and in part because Hemingway doesn’t come off as a saint. His flaws are all there in the open, not least his fixation on the size of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s genitalia, and there was something cathartic about seeing how poorly he came off. (It doesn’t hurt that, for all his toxic masculinity, the man could sure write a sentence.) I think I maxed out on Hemingway, though, when I read *The Sun Also Rises*. It was just too aggressive, too callous, too male. I may revisit Hemingway again someday, perhaps when there are fewer toxic, entitled men in government, media, and every other industry, when women aren’t routinely pushed out of their careers by sexism and harassment. In the meantime, there are a lot of other good books to read.

The scene that has stuck with me is fairly early in the book, when Sula’s brother Plum is suffering from an intestinal blockage. Their mother takes him into the outhouse and uses her finger to relieve the blockage, and hundreds of pebbles pour out, saving his life. This is a rather gross scene to describe, but I’m not remembering it as a gross scene. For the past few months—let’s face it, since last October or November—I’ve felt creatively hampered, like my ideas are just below the surface but that I’m just not quite able to let them out and give them life. Politics and current events are affecting my ability to work more than they ever have in the past, and I’m having trouble tapping into my creativity. As I’ve been thinking about the difficulty I’ve been having in writing, I keep coming back to this scene from *Sula*. I feel like if I can get into the right mindset, can carve out the right space in my days and my life, can focus my energy where I should and allow my mind some down time when I’m not working, then my ideas will pour out of me like that. Perhaps that’s coarse, but I’m taking the inspiration where I can get it.

This is what I wrote in November 2017:

- Kevin Knudson and I were pleased to be on Relatively Prime, a math podcast by Samuel Hansen, promoting our podcast My Favorite Theorem. You can listen to our chat with Samuel here. Find out what I sound like when I have to be alert at 8 in the morning! (For the record, I was looking for the word “chutzpah” when I sputtered about luck at the very beginning of the podcast. Oh, morning brain! I think I redeemed myself by complaining frequently about how early it was.)
- Speaking of My Favorite Theorem, this month we published our episode with Henry Fowler, Navajo mathematician, chair of the math department at Diné College, and co-founder of Navajo Math Circles.
- Math education researcher Rochelle Gutiérrez came under attack from right-wing media groups in late October. I wrote about how I think mathematicians should respond to attacks like these.
- An article I wrote about the largest known prime number was selected for this year’s edition of the Best Writing on Mathematics.
- November 19 is World Toilet Day. I wrote an appreciation of the tilings we often use to adorn the bathroom/mathroom.
- It’s application season! I rounded up some advice for applicants and their recommendation letter writers.
- I spent a moment with an arresting portrait of Émilie du Châtelet.
- The Koch snowflake is pretty cool.

This is what I wrote in October 2017:

- “Never send a dynamicist to do a geometer’s job.” My take on what household chores you should do based on your mathematical interests. I shamefully neglected category theorists when I wrote this post, but it led to some lively discussions on Twitter. I think category theorists know how to fold a fitted sheet.
- This month, we published two episodes of My Favorite Theorem, the podcast I cohost with Kevin Knudson. Our lovely guests were Dusa McDuff and Eriko Hironaka.
- On the AMS Blog on Math Blogs, I recommended the Arxivist and Junk Charts.
- There’s a mathematical space called the Loch Ness Monster. I’m surprised at how many costumes it can wear.

This is what I wrote in September 2017:

- The Public Domain Review highlights weird and wonderful old books and other media. I wrote about some of its mathematical offerings.
- The AMS Notices asked me to do an interview with them for the graduate student section. You can read the sum total of my wisdom in pdf form in the Notices or as a blog post at Roots of Unity. I talked a little bit about feeling like a failure when I was thinking about leaving academia, and coincidentally my friend from high school Thi Nguyen was recently interviewed about a similar career move she made, from research scientist to associate dean for graduate career and professional development. She had some of the same feelings I did. The interview was part of Washington University in St. Louis’s excellently named “Fail Better” series.
- As a follow-up to August’s hype about a Babylonian mathematical tablet that doesn’t actually turn the history of trigonometry on its head, I wrote a little about the joy of sex…agesimal floating-point arithmetic, the number system used by ancient Mesopotamians.
- My Favorite Theorem, the podcast I cohost with Kevin Knudson, is still going strong. This month, we talked to Jordan Ellenberg from the University of Wisconsin. He told us about his favorite theorem, Pascal’s little theorem, and the perfect cheese to pair with it.
- Math teacher Michael Pershan has problems. So many that his blog’s url is problemproblems.wordpress.com. I wrote about why I love reading his blog.
- My favorite space this month is the humble circle, which sounds so much fancier when you call it the 1-dimensional sphere.

This is what I wrote in August 2017:

- You may have heard that a 3700-year-old Babylonian tablet shows that Babylonians had trigonometry 1,000 years before the Greeks did! The tablet is a fascinating document, but I think this recent research paper about it is overblown. Read why here.
- Vanguard STEM is a website that features information for and about women of color in science, technology, engineer, and math careers. I wrote about it here.
- Back-to-school blogs: a roundup of math blogs for students from elementary to graduate school.
- My Favorite Theorem, the podcast Kevin Knudson and I launched in July, added two new episodes this month. You can now listen to us talk with Dave Richeson and Emille Davie Lawrence about their favorite theorems and more importantly, what foods to consume with them for maximum theorem appreciation.
- Emille Davie Lawrence’s favorite theorem inspired me to write about the projective plane, one of my favorite spaces.
- I was invited to contribute an article to
*Outside In Makes it So*, a compilation of essays about Star Trek: The Next Generation, pretty much the only TV show the whole family could agree on when I was a kid. You can pre-order my take on “Aquiel” and 173 other short reactions to TNG episodes here. The book will be published September 27.

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This is what I wrote in July 2017:

- Mathematics in the Eye of the Beholder. Want to look at some math pictures? Of course you do! Here are some photo-driven math blogs to follow.
- Solving a Rubik’s cube, whether the classic 3×3×3 kind, or a larger n×n×n variety, has a polynomial-time algorithm, but figuring out whether you can solve one in a given number of steps (and therefore determining the optimal solution of a given cube) is NP-hard, so as of yet, there is no known way to solve it quickly. I wrote about that result for New Scientist.
- The biggest math news of the month was the death of Maryam Mirzakhani, prominent mathematician and first woman to win the prestigious Fields medal, at age 40. I wrote about her for Scientific American.
- Some of Mirzakhani’s work was on billiards on polynomial tables and flows on high-genus surfaces. I wrote two posts about how those two topics are related: How to Unfold a Pool Table and A Few of My Favorite Spaces: A 6-Holed Torus.
- If you’re giving a presentation or making a poster for a conference, maybe you’d like to check out some tips for how to do that good.
- The show notes for the first two episodes of My Favorite Theorem are online on my blog. Episode 0: Your Hosts’ Favorite Theorems. Episode 1: Amie Wilkinson’s Favorite Theorem.

This is what I wrote in June 2017:

- June 17 was the second annual celebration of World Tessellation Day. I wrote about my favorite tessellations, the ones you find under your feet on sidewalks and floors.
- The Impossible Mathematics of the Real World. Last year I learned about the idea of the mathematical near-miss, “an exact representation of an almost-right answer,” as Craig Kaplan describes it. In this article for
*Nautilus*, I explore this murky boundary between perfection and imperfection, mathematics and the real world. I also wrote about this idea on my blog: The Perfection of Imperfection. - Twitter, but for math, with toots. On Mathstadon, a new social media site for mathematicians.
- The Women in Maths Facebook page asked me to write a little bit about how I got into math(s) and my mathematical career path.
- Teaching Math to Incarcerated Students. Resources and inspiration for people who want to teach math in prison.
- I went on a Sofya Kovalevskaya kick this month, reading and reviewing Michèle Audin’s book
*Remembering Sofya Kovalevskaya*and writing about a mathematical object she studied, the Kovalevskaya top.

This is what I wrote in May 2017:

- The good people at the University of Bristol invited me to give a public lecture called A Guided Tour of Nothing. It was about the empty set. The talk was not recorded, but you can read the post that inspired it here.
- What are you going to do with that? I compiled some resources for learning about and preparing yourself for math careers outside academia.
- My friend Julie Rehmeyer’s memoir
*Through the Shadowlands*came out this month. It is a moving, beautifully written account of her journey with ME/CFS, a disease science is still trying to understand. I reviewed it here. - It took me a long time to understand the big idea of the mathematical property of compactness. Despite how complicated it sounds, it really just means a precise way of being small.
- Marie Curie once had to do the 1924 version of emailing tech support to get the lab computers on the university network.
- My favorite space this month was the Poincaré homology sphere. It quacks like a sphere, but it’s not a sphere!
- Best of the Bots: because we might as well see what kinds of recipes, Irish tunes, and paint colors our robot overlords have in store for us.

This is what I wrote in March 2017:

- Being a trans mathematician: an interview with Autumn Kent March contains both International Women’s Day (the 8th) and Trans Day of Visibility (the 31st). Two good reasons to read this interview with University of Wisconsin-Madison mathematician Autumn Kent. A better reason is that her words are honest, beautiful, and challenging.
- Sometimes, you want your math content in pictures. This blog gives you a beautiful thrice-a-day complex analysis infusion with delightful graphs of complex functions.
- Every March, math enthusiasts either celebrate or endure Pi Day. I’m more in the second camp, but I like to use the holiday to encourage people to learn about some nugget of math they wouldn’t have otherwise. This year, I suggested learning about the different values of π that come up when you start measuring distance differently.
- You can add to the face(s) of mathematics on Wikipedia!
- I talked with some of the mathematicians who have been affected by the executive orders on immigration. Even though the orders have been blocked by courts for now, the uncertainty is also taking its toll.
- This is not a pseudosphere.

This is what I wrote in April 2017:

- Thank you, Sophie, and I’m sorry. Sophie Germain, one of the first women in math, is someone I look up to, but her story also makes me deeply sad.
- Maps and Math Spherical geometry had a moment in the spotlight last month when Boston public schools changed their classroom map projection.
- Recommended Reading: Euler, Erdős My plug for Jean Pierre Mutanguha’s fun blog
- In my earlier post about Sophie Germain, I said Rue Sophie Germain was the only street in Paris named after a woman mathematician. I stumbled on a counterexample just a few days after writing that post, and I got to learn about the first woman to be a full math professor in France, Marie-Louise Dubreil-Jacotin.
- I guess I’m doing a lot of math on my walks these days. On a trip to Germany, I got to geek out with a really neat octagonal tiling on the ground.
- A few of my favorite spaces: The Douady rabbit A blog post about a cool fractal, or an excuse for leporine puns? Why not both?