Thursday 31 October 2013

An Appetite for Wonder

Finished October 29
An Appetite for Wonder by Richard Dawkins, read by the author and Lalla Ward

This memoir begins with Dawkins family background, continuing through his birth, childhood and early adult life up until the publication of his first book The Selfish Gene in 1976. He came from a family strong in biology and natural science, with his father an agricultural specialist. He was born and spent his early years in Africa, mostly in Nyasaland, now Malawi. His parents returned to England in 1949 when Dawkins was eight and his father took on farming a country estate he had inherited. He went to boarding school and then on to study zoology at Balliol College, Oxford. I found the early part of the book most interesting when he talked about his family's background and his childhood years, first in Africa and then at boarding school. He has lots of description about his university studies, his research, and his influences in his career as a scientist. These were interesting as well, but not as intimate as the earlier part of his life. He reads the book himself except for diary entries from his parents which are read by Lalla Ward, and I think this adds something to a book, particularly a memoir. Very enjoyable, educational, and entertaining.

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