Circles and Other Round Things

December 12, 2019 | Bill V.

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Did you know the S. Walter Stewart Branch, built in 1960, is round – one of only four round libraries at the time? I work here, which is lovely by the way (come visit!), and my thoughts often turn to round things (such as cookies) and I thought it might be fun to explore what's written about circles. 

Some of these books are only available as reference copies for reading at Toronto Reference Library.

Circles A Mathematical View

Circles: A Mathematical View

"This revised edition of a mathematical classic originally published in 1957 will bring to a new generation of students the enjoyment of investigating that simplest of mathematical figures, the circle. The author has supplemented this new edition with a special chapter designed to introduce readers to the vocabulary of circle concepts with which the readers of two generations ago were familiar. Readers of Circles need only be armed with paper, pencil, compass, and straight edge to find great pleasure in following the constructions and theorems." See also A History of the Circle: Mathematical Reasoning and the Physical Universe.


The Book of Circles Visualizing Spheres of Knowledge

The Book of Circles: Visualizing Spheres of Knowledge 

"With over 300 beautiful circular artworks, infographics and illustrations from across history ... Across all regions, cultures, and societies, humans have attributed to the circle ideals of unity, wholeness, infinity, enlightenment, and perfection. We have applied this natural shape to countless manmade systems through the ages, from tools, icons, and writing systems to maps, urban plans, and digital technologies. In The Book of Circles, his companion volume to the popular Book of Trees, Manuel Lima takes us on a lively tour through millenia of information design. Three hundred detailed and colorful illustrations cover an encyclopedic array of subjects, drawing fascinating parallels across time and culture. The clay tokens used by ancient Sumerians as a system of recording trade are juxtaposed with the logos of modern retailers like Target; Venn diagrams are discussed side by side with symbols of the Christian trinity, the trefoil shape of the biohazard symbol, and the Olympic rings." See also Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information.


The Circle A Mathematical Exploration Beyond the Line

The Circle: A Mathematical Exploration Beyond the Line

"The circle has fascinated mathematicians since ancient times. This entertaining book describes in layperson's terms the many intriguing properties of this fundamental shape. If math has intimidated you, this may be the ideal book to help you appreciate the discipline through one of its most important elements.The authors begin with a brief review of the basic properties of the circle and related figures. They then show the many ways in which the circle manifests itself in the field of geometry--leading to some amazing relationships and truly important geometric theorems."


Bruno Munari square  circle  triangle.

Bruno Munari: Square, Circle, Triangle

"In the early 1960's Bruno Munari published his visual case studies on shapes: Circle, Square, and a decade later, Triangle. Using examples from ancient Greece and Egypt as well as works by Buckminster Fuller, Le Corbusier, and Alvar Aalto, Munari invests the three shapes with specific qualities: the circle relates to the Divine, the square signifies safety and enclosure, and the triangle provides a key connective form for designers. For the first time, this trilogy will be published as a single volume, in an affordably-priced paperback that is sure to catch the eye of long-time Munari fans as well as introducing his creative theories to new audiences."

Enso Zen Circles of Enlightenment

Enso: Zen Circles of Enlightenment

"The ensō is one of the most prevalent images of Zen art, and it has become a kind of symbol of the clean and strong Japanese aesthetic. It has been subject to a rich variety of interpretations--seen as everything from a rice cake to a symbol of infinity. But regardless of how it is understood, the ensō is above all an expression of the mind of the artist who brushes it. It is said that the state of the Zen practitioner can be clearly read in his or her execution of the circle. Audrey Yoshiko Seo brings together a collection of the best examples of ensō art."

Kenneth Noland Paintings 1958-1968

Kenneth Noland: Paintings 1958-1968

"American abstract painter Kenneth Noland (1924-2010) was one of the primary exponents of Color Field painting. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Noland began using two central motifs that would have enduring significance in his work: the circle and the chevron. These seemingly reductive forms also conjured military badges, corporate logos for cars and other consumer products that were omnipresent in postwar America. Kenneth Noland: Paintings 1958-1968 is the first major publication on the artist since his recent death." 


Richard Long Walking in Circles

Richard Long: Walking in Circles

"Now acknowledged worldwide as one of the finest British contemporary artists, Richard Long's stature and international reputation have continued to grow steadily since he was awarded the Turner Prize for his contribution to British art in 1989. Long's art takes the form of walks, sculptures and mud works. His journeys through the landscapes of the world, whether the Sahara Desert, Dartmoor, Japan or Bolivia, are recorded either by photographs of sculptures made along the way from materials immediately to hand, or by maps and text works, which evoke experiences of time, places and ideas. His sculptures in galleries are made by arranging natural materials, usually stone or wood; and his mud works are made on walls or floors, with watery solutions of river mud and clay." See also Richard Long: Selected Statements & Interviews or Richard Long the Berlin Circle.

The Circle by Dave Eggers (fiction)

The Circle

"When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity."


Children's Books:

Circle by Mac Barnett (children's picture book)

The Circle by Mac Barnett (Children's Picture Book) 

"When Triangle breaks the rule about not hiding behind the waterfall while playing hide-and-seek with Circle and Square, Circle must rescue him." See also his other shape book The Triangle


The Missing Piece

The Missing Piece

"A circle has difficulty finding its missing piece but has a good time looking for it."


Circles (children's non ficiton)


"The characteristics of circles as well as how to find the radius, diameter, circumference, and area of a circle are explained and illustrated in this geometry picture book". See also Shapes in Math, Science and Nature: Squares, Triangles and Circles and Windows, Rings, and Grapes — a Look at Different Shapes.


Round is a Mooncake A Book of Shapes

Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes

"As a little girl discovers things round, square, and rectangular in her urban neighborhood, she is reminded of her Chinese American culture."

Round Is a Tortilla A Book of Shapes

Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes

"A little girl discovers things that are round, square, and rectangular in her Hispanic American neighborhood."


Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets A Muslim Book of Shapes

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

"In simple rhyming text a young Muslim girl guides the reader through the traditions and shapes of Islam."


Circle Rolls

Circle Rolls

"Follow the chain reaction among different shapes when circle rolls."




"Newbery-Honor winning poet Joyce Sidman invites readers to search their worlds for round objects in nature. Illustrated with warm, intimate art by two-time New York Times Best Illustrated artist Taeeun Yoo, this fresh celebration shows why we love this shape best."


Other Circular Things:

My very clever co-worker Jennifer suggested that I also include the following circular and round things that might also be of interest:

The Wreath Recipe Book Year-Round Wreaths  Swags  and Other Decorations

The Wreath Recipe Book: Year-Round Wreaths, Swags, and Other Decorations

"The Wreath Recipe Book provides 100 "recipes" to make with flowering and leafy branches. These aren't just evergreens for Christmas--the book is organized seasonally, with dozens of projects to make throughout the year."


2019 Standard Catalog of World Coins  1901-2000

2019 Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000

There are also lots of Canadian Coin books. 


Megalith Studies in Stone

Megalith: Studies in Stone

"Megalith is a compendium of writings about stone structures throughout history. How do you predict eclipses at Stonehenge? Why were stone monuments built where they are? What is the meaning of the designs in ancient rock art? In this lavishly illustrated volume, eight expert authors guide readers through the history of rock structures from Stonehenge to the stone circles in France, Poland, America, and Africa."


The Energies of Crop Circles The Science and Power of a Mysterious Intelligence

The Energies of Crop Circles: The Science and Power of a Mysterious Intelligence

"A scientific investigation of the healing and energetic effects of crop circles. In 1990 while studying the energetics of a crop circle, Lucy Pringle experienced a miraculous healing of a severe shoulder injury. Inspired, she expanded her research to investigate the physical, psychological, and energetic effects of these mysterious formations on people as well as on animals."


The Wheel Inventions and Reinventions

The Wheel: Inventions and Reinventions

"In this book, Richard W. Bulliet focuses on three major phases in the evolution of the wheel and their relationship to the needs and ambitions of human society. He begins in 4000 B.C.E. with the first wheels affixed to axles. He then follows with the innovation of wheels turning independently on their axles and concludes five thousand years later with the caster, a single rotating and pivoting wheel. Bulliet's most interesting finding is that a simple desire to move things from place to place did not drive the wheel's development."


And of course - don't forget Rafi's famous song:


Doughnuts 90 Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home

Doughnuts: 90 Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home

"There's nothing quite like a fresh doughnut! With instructions written for home cooks, this book makes it easy to create doughnuts in your own kitchen. Be prepared to be tempted by favorite classics like old-fashioned sour cream, maple-bacon bars, or red velvet, and new delights such as pineapple fritters, dulce de leche, and rainbow cake."


The Sun

The Sun

"It's a good story: we are made of matter like that we also find in the stars. Essential to our planet's existence, the Sun--our nearest star--is also the most fascinating object humans have ever adored, literally the difference between day and night. But getting beyond these basic perceptions requires scientific understanding. What, for instance, is the sun made of? Why does it burn so brightly? How long will it last?"


The Moon NASA Images from Space

The Moon: NASA Images from Space

"This book, The Moon: NASA Images from Space, includes images from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA), European Space Agency (ESA), and other international space explorations. Early images show the very first Apollo missions to the Moon using film in a Hasselblad camera. NASA illustrations explain the Moon's tidal forces on the Earth's oceans, seas, and land mass, the Moon's phases as see from Earth, the lunar geography, and Moon's composition. This book shows detailed maps of the Moon's surface: its incredible craters, ancient lava flows, plains, seas, and mountains. Included is speculation about the Moon's origin and its historical place our solar system."


And of course there is the very Canadian curling photo. Enjoy reading some of these books – I hope you get a round tuit.