There are surely few things more Christmassy than science and haiku – so three cheers for the girls (and two boys) from the Camden School for Girls (it has a co-ed sixth form), who hope to raise funds to modernise their 1960s science labs by writing a book of scientific haiku.
SCIKU: The Wonder of Science in Haiku (Icon, £6.99, below) has 400 gems of scientific reflection on topics as varied as Newton’s laws, climate change, time travel and evolution, and it would make a great stocking filler. Here are some tasters:
“The element of surprise”
Oxygen went out
With magnesium today
I’m like OMg!
“Cold to the touch”
Reaction absorbs heat,
Be like a proton!
Always positively charged
Speaking of positivity, why are the meeja so keen to jump on Zoella, the 24-year-old internet sensation whose young-adult novel Girl Online became the fastest-selling novel of 2014? Admitting that the book was written with the help of a ghostwriter, Zoella (left, real name Zoe Sugg) said last week: “Of course I was going to have help from Penguin’s editorial team in telling my story ... everyone needs help when they try something new. The story and the characters of Girl Online are mine.” Complaining about celebrities taking over the bestsellers chart is one thing, but those having a go at Zoella should pick on someone their own size. Such as the rugby player Gareth Thomas, whose autobiography, Proud, was written with this newspaper’s columnist Michael Calvin. And it’s brilliant.
Dan Rhodes always makes us feel festive, so hats off to the author of When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow, etc, who recently counted his published books. Aptly for Rhodes, who found fame with Anthropology, a collection of 101 stories, each 101 words long, “there are now an alarming 101 Dan Rhodes books in the world”, he reveals.