We review the eighth of this year’s nominees for Book of the Year


Rob Eastaway is a mathematician and author. His book Headscratchers (Amazon UK, Waterstones, Maths Gear) is a collection of puzzles from New Scientist’s Headscratchers column.




Headscratchers collects 70 puzzles from New Scientists’s Headscratchers puzzle column, which was run by Rob Eastaway from 2019 until the start of this year (starting this year, Katie Steckles has taken over the column). The book includes the puzzles, plus hints and the solutions that were printed in the following magazine issues.


As anyone who’s seen the puzzles in New Scientist will know, Headscratchers contains a set of great puzzles to keep the reader thinking for hours. The answers are well written and concise and sometimes as enjoyable to read as the puzzle was to think about.


This book contains a great number of puzzles that have not appeared in any other book (although they have of course already appeared in magazine form), and there’s plenty to think about even for the most seasoned puzzler who often finds they have ‘seen this one before’.


I’d strongly recommend this to any puzzle fan who doesn’t already own the last 5 years’ worth of back issues of New Scientist.


You can vote for your favourite book on the Book of the Year shortlist below. The winning book will be crowned the Chalkdust Readers’ Choice. Voting closes at 1pm (BST) on Saturday 30 March.

What is your favourite book on the 2023 Book of the Year shortlist?

  • That's Mathematics by Chris Smith (91%, 277 Votes)
  • Once Upon a Prime by Sarah Hart (3%, 10 Votes)
  • How to Expect the Unexpected by Kit Yates (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Short Cuts: Maths by Katie Steckles (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Headscratchers by Rob Eastaway (1%, 2 Votes)
  • The Spirit of Mathematics by David Acheson (0%, 1 Votes)
  • The Truth Detective by Tim Harford (0%, 1 Votes)
  • The Secret Lives of Numbers by Kate Kitagawa & Timothy Revell (0%, 1 Votes)
  • A Year in Numbers by Kyle D Evans (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 303

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