Su Doku For Dummies, by Andrew Heron & Edmund James
It should be stated at the outset that this is not a book that provides a lot to read. Barely 20 pages of this book contain text for reading, and the vast majority of this book consists of either Sudoku puzzles or the solutions to said puzzles. The text that is included provides a basic set of somewhat simple strategies that will help readers handle almost any puzzle, so long as they are applied consistently. As someone who is fond of such puzzles, and enjoys logic games, this book was useful despite not having a great deal of content. To be sure, I would have wanted more, but that which was included was sufficient to provide information of great value and also what most people would want the most in order to understand how to play Sudoku better, and that is puzzles to work with. The authors of the book apparently are of the belief that the best way to learn more about Sudoku is not to read about it but rather to practice it, and so this book is definitely something that can be considered a practice book far more than is typical for a book of this genre .
So, given that this book is made up almost entirely of puzzles, is this book worthwhile? Yes. If you are reading a book like this, you probably enjoy the subject material and have some sort of app on your phone or enjoy going to websites for the game or enjoying it in newspapers. Either you do this already, or you are at least open to the idea from having seen the term. There are a few other books in the series that may be worth reviewing and that may contain a lot more puzzles and perhaps more of the context that would make it even more interesting. After all, this book is a little bit thin on the origins, although it gives the story of why it came out of nowhere to be such a success, and was likely a very quick fix to capture the initial buzz, which can be understood by the fact that its title says in two words what quickly became combined in one word. So this book focuses on what is going to bring the interest and the attention, and that is the game itself. For the most part, this is a wise choice and likely a successful one.
This book, though, contains an unexpected sting that reminds me of how the awkwardness of my life is impossible to escape. After all, Sudoku is a Japanese type of puzzle based on mathematics, and it is worthwhile to know what exactly this game was called in Japan. Translated from the Japanese, the game means something like “single number” or “bachelor number.” The full Japanese title of the game is Suji wa dikushin ni kagiru, which means something like “numbers are limited to bachelors.” While the authors of the book did not get this, it is something that is easy to understand, in that only one number can exist in every row, column, and 3 x 3 block. The game is all about finding the solitary place where each number fits by using logic. Even in math puzzles I cannot help but be reminded of my singlehood, alas.
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