It can’t be all to easy taking an ostensibly humdrum yet potentially intimidating theme - say, the Periodic Table of the Elements - and turning it into an unexpectedly good read. But the young Sam Kean pulls it off beautifully. The Disappearing Spoon tells the story behind virtually every element, and the quirky scientists behind it. It colours in the gaps between the somewhat desiccated facts we learned at school with very bright crayons. It has a bit of everything: humour, suspense, envy, scandal and isotopes. If you enjoy chemistry - or the world around you in general - this book is sure to have a special place on your shelf. I rate it fluorine out of neon.