Once again, a post about my heroes - here are three more. They are Northrop Frye, Luca Turin and Harold McGee. They are united by the fact that they write about things I love (respectively: fiction, perfume and cooking) without themselves being involved in the end product. That is to say, Northrop Frye has written many wonderful and thoroughly accessible books about the structure and theory of literature without actually writing a novel, Luca Turin has done the same for perfume and also engineered several synthetic components for perfume without actually creating a finished product, and Harold McGee was pretty much single-handedly responsible for the phenomenon that is "molecular gastronomy"by writing so clearly and interestingly about the science of cookery that it's only a miracle we're not all whipping up meat mousse and sugar caviar. And all this without ever owning a restaurant. When I first read his seminal (and breeze-block sized) On Food and Cooking I had to be forcibly restrained from discussing with bored strangers the difference between real coffee (a suspension), instant coffee (a solution) and tea (an infusion). It's the sign of a really great theoretician that they can write about something you love in as interesting and inspiring a way as the actual practitioners can (and often more so!). To paraphrase something Luca Turin says in The Secret of Scent, there are three kinds of theoretical writing: that which is boring if true (ie written solely for people doing a PhD in the subject), that which is interesting if true, and that which is interesting even if not true. Which in a nutshell sums up Things I Like Reading. And is another factor that unites them - the ability to find things interesting and fun.