I polished off ‘Toast’ at the weekend, an acid-sharp autobiographical book by Nigel Slater, The Observer’s food columnist. It was a poignant, coming-of-age piece, dealing with death, rejection and the awakenings (yes, those awakenings) of adolescence. It was a pithy read and I sense that Slater has one or two scores to settle. He certainly loves food. Excerpts from ‘Toast’ can be found here. The final sentence of the Jam Tarts section is a beautifully written joy. Another book, a novel this time, dealing with those awakenings is ‘The Rotters Club’ by Jonathan Coe and I began reading it a couple of days ago. Thus far, and I am only on the second chapter, I have laughed out loud seven times, nodded sagely four times, and raised a quizzical eyebrow thrice. It is set in the seventies against the backdrop of industrial disquiet at the Longbridge car factory. With its mentions of strikes, progressive rock and cheesecloth shirts, it is certainly a period piece but a witty, thoughtful read too.