I am writing this in February and it still feels cold enough to enjoy a good fire – and of course some good reading matter to keep us happy until the Spring thaw. I have selected two books this month, both are perfect distractions from the cold weather. Wayne
Given all the press coverage around sensitivity readers “improving the text” of the great children’s writer Roald Dahl I thought readers maybe curious about the man himself.
Roald Dahl was one of the world’s greatest storytellers. He conceived his vocation as one as intrepid as that of any explorer and, in his writing for children, he was able to tap into a child’s viewpoint throughout his life.
He crafted tales that were exotic in scenario, frequently invested with a moral, and filled with vibrant characters that endure in public imagination to the present day. In this brand-new biography, Matthew Dennison re-evaluates the received narrative surrounding Dahl – that of school sporting hero, daredevil pilot, and wartime spy-turned-author – and examines surviving primary resources as well as Dahl’s extensive literary output to tell the story of a man who identified as a rule-breaker, an iconoclast and a romantic, both insider and outsider, hero and child’s friend.
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.
But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Forced to resign, she reluctantly signs on as the host of a cooking show, Supper at Six. But her revolutionary approach to cooking, fuelled by scientific and rational commentary, grabs the attention of a nation. Soon, a legion of overlooked housewives find themselves daring to change the status quo. One molecule at a time
‘The most charming, life-enhancing novel I’ve read in ages. Strongly recommend’ India Knight
(I would also mention that it’s not actually about chemistry! This book was my absolute favourite read of 2022, I strongly recommend it too – Ed)