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A demanding form of writing, which when well done brings people up to the level of the subject rather than diminishing the subject to the uninformed level of the audience. Some excellent examples have come my way these last few years.

Vulgarisation is the book equivalent of a documentary: it takes a serious, usually 'difficult' subject and presents it in a way that is accessible, interesting and above all encouraging. "Goodness!" the reader should say. "Fancy me being able to understand that! I think I'll try and find out some more about it." I can pin-point two examples I came across very early on, indeed at what is correctly called an impressionable age: the book on British tramway systems my father brought home for me when I was six or so, and an illustrated article about lamp-posts one of my great-aunts sent me. They caught my imagination then, and have held it since.

More recent examples, recommended to anyone with any curiosity, are in no particular order: