Kathryn Harkup, author of A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie recommends a great set of books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Kathryn's book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
I have a soft spot for I Wish I’d Made You Angry Earlier: Essays on Science and Scientists by Max Perutz. I was privileged to attend a lecture given by Perutz on his Nobel Prize winning work determining the structure of haemoglobin. I was a student struggling to come to terms with the enormity of science as a subject and feeling perhaps more than a little downhearted at how much there was to learn just in the field of chemistry. Perutz’s enthusiasm for science was contagious and his explanations of his work reassuringly clear and easy to understand. This enthusiasm, curiosity and clarity is also apparent in his writing about science.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
I am currently reading The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present by Roy Porter. It is a brilliant overview of the history of medicine, describing how perceptions and practice have changed over the centuries. I would recommend it.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
I very rarely re-read books as an adult, there are so many books I haven’t read that I want to get to first. But as a child I was obsessed with Mervyn Mouse by Sylvia Creche and Roger Twinn. It’s the story of Mervyn who lost his tail and used a rubber band instead.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
I prefer reading on paper. But, I often have a few obscure or very old titles on my reading list that I can’t find in physical form, or are more easily available as electronic editions from excellent sites such as the Gutenberg Project. I haven’t listened to an audiobook in years, but my memories of Alan Bennett’s and Stephen Fry’s soothing tones are very happy and I should probably give audiobooks another go.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
I love The Petersfield Bookshop. It is one of those wonderful second-hand and antiquarian bookshops where you need a ball of string to stop you getting lost in the labyrinthine rooms and shelves. They were brilliant when I turned up there years ago in need of source material for my book A is for Arsenic. They gave me directions to their Agatha Christie section and didn’t bat an eyelid when I trundled a suitcase full of their stock up to the cash register.
Image Copyrights: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (A is for Arsenic), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press,U.S. (I Wish I'd Made You Angry Earlier), HarperCollins Publishers (The Greatest Benefit To Mankind), Ladybird Books Ltd (Two Tales of Mervyn Mouse).