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Between the lines

TES books editor Geraldine Brennan on the inside literary track

For Delia and Nigella, read star dinner ladies Nora Sands and Jeanette Orrey, who both have glossy cookbooks coming out in April. Nora (pictured), star of Jamie's School Dinners (TES, February 18, 2005), is still feeding up to 800 children a day at Kidbrooke school in the London borough of Greenwich, following her role as Jamie Oliver's partner in chucking out the chips on Channel 4. Now the chef has written a foreword for Nora's Dinners (coming from Collins, pound;12.99), a collection of recipes for seven to 12-year-olds to cook at home, even for breakfast. Jeanette Orrey worked at a Nottinghamshire primary for 14 years before becoming school meals advisor to the Soil Association and has won Glenfiddich Independent Spirit and Observer food awards for her success in proving that schools can afford to feed children on local organic produce. Her new book, Second Helpings (Bantam Press, pound;18.99), is a follow-up to The Dinner Lady, and like the first book serves up simple recipes for families, including made-from-scratch fish fingers. If Jeanette says it's simple, I believe her.

"Abibliphobia", the fear of running out of reading material, was one of Macmillan Dictionaries' words of the week in 2005, though not in the top 40 with podcast, Asbo and, sadly, ICE number. At www.macmillandictionary.comresourcenew.htm you can compete for a digital camera by nominating your word of the year (or choose one of theirs, though "senior moment", "me time" and McLibel are among the Macmillan choices that seem to have been with us for much longer). The word of the week this time last year was "leisure sickness", which describes the bug that strikes just before Christmas and stays with you until the new term starts. If you've still got it, perhaps you should call it something else.

I am addicted to the Horace Bent column in The Bookseller, especially at this time of year when nominations come in for the Diagram Prize for the oddest book title, to be awarded in February. The Anger of Aubergines by Bulbul Sharma (Spinifex Press) gets my vote so far, though the subtitle "Stories of women and food" solves some of the mystery and I was tempted by Pope Pius XII: a bilingual coloring book by Sister Margherita Marchione (published by the Paulist Press in 2004).

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