Laura Dodsworth, author of A State of Fear: How the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic recommends some great books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Laura's book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
Just one? I’ve been immersed in reading relevant to my recent book, A State of Fear, and a stand-out for me was Battle for the Mind, by William Sargant. It’s fairly short and as important and revelatory now as it was in the 1950s when it was first published. It’s a great introduction to brainwashing. Off-topic, I highly recommend The Obesity Epidemic by Zoe Harcombe, which has changed how I eat and think about nutritional advice. It’s depressing how often the official advice and science is not as settled as you might think.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
I’m currently reading The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. And now I know why I have not amassed more power - I’m doing it all wrong. It is making me wonder how conscious, concerted and patient the powerful people I know must have been. The case studies and anecdotes are fascinating although also a bit horrifying. My one quibble is that in such a long book I wish Greene had drawn on a wider variety of sources.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
I still have my childhood copy of The Illustrated Treasury of Children’s Literature, complete with my own ‘illustrations’ and the pages scored by letter knife opener. I was very naughty and the book was very loved. It contained nursery rhymes, whole stories and excerpts from classics, and it was a treasure trove which could transport me anywhere. It was my first introduction to The Velveteen Rabbit which I think is very beautiful. I was a lucky child to enjoy reading so much.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
These days I rely more by audio. I love ‘reading’ books in the car and walking the dog. The pile of books by my bed teeters and taunts me. But, if I’m honest, another factor is that social media has ruined my attention for paper books. I have never had a Kindle and it doesn’t appeal - there is a transience about the screen which doesn’t help the words sink in. I hate screens in the bedroom too.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
Blackwells in Oxford is delightfully large and staffed by the loveliest people. I used to love going to my local library with my children. They don’t read any more (sob) but I still go occasionally for myself.
Many thanks to Laura for recommending some great books! Please don't forget to check out Laura's book A State of Fear: How the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Image Copyrights: Pinter & Martin Ltd. (A State Of Fear) , ISHK (Battle For The Mind), Columbus Publishing Ltd (The Obesity Epidemic), Penguin Random House Children's UK (Hutchinson Treasury of Children's Literature).