The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, by Adrian Tomine (Faber and Faber, 2020)

A socially-awkward cartoonist reflects on embarrassing incidents in their life. Lovely, touching and beautifully-presented kinda-memoir, that’ll ring true to anyone who’s tried to be creative and/or who’s struggled with being in public. Lots to appreciate, and wholly relatable even (or especially) if comix aren’t usually your thing.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Bog Bodies, by Declan Shalvey, Gavin Fullerton, Rebecca Nalty & Clayton Cowles (Image Comics, 2020)

A young man is taken to a remote Irish peat bog for execution. Excellent noir-ish one-shot that goes into interesting, if slightly anticipated, places. Lots to relish all around though, not least in the vivid dialogue and sharp characterisations of the major players.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales, by Penn Gillette (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

A stage magician’s account of his weight loss, and the unorthodox methods used to achieve this. A forceful, loquacious, funny and quite possibly at times too-salty-for-some diet memoir. Interesting and a fun read into the bargain, even if the approach used might not translate. As the author notes, though, this is a case study, not a recipe to follow.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Downsizing, by Tom Watson & Jo Lake (Kyle Books, 2020)

The former Labour politician’s account of his eight-stone weight loss, and the reversal of Type 2 diabetes. A scrappy book: equal parts name-droptastic autobiography, diet book (keto, basically), and Big Sugar polemic. While the core messages are sound, the scattershot approach – which reads as padding –  might be frustrating for some looking for focus.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

The Cigar That Fell in Love With a Pipe, by David Camus & Nick Abadzis [trans. Nick Probst] (SelfMadeHero, 2014)

A fable involving Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, a seaman’s pipe and a fabled cigarmaker. An odd but charming bit of magical realism. Not quite sure what to make of it, but enjoyable both in the story and in its execution, and in its passion in detail terms.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

More Better Deals, by Joe R Lansdale (Mulholland Books, 2020)

A used-car salesman with an eye for opportunity gets in over his head with a woman. Lansdale’s new stand-alone novel is a beauty, a 1960s-set noir of the old school, and all the better for doing so, in taking a classic situation and treating it with respect. Laconic and spry as ever, Lansdale serves up another southern-fried treat. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind, by Shoukei Matsumoto [trans. Ian Samhammer] (Penguin Books, 2018)

A Buddhist monk’s guide to keeping home, head and heart clean. A clear and simple guide to living frugally, respectfully, and peacefully, though consideration of daily and other rituals of cleaning, care, order, and respect for one’s possessions and environments. A beguiling mix of household tips and zen philosophy; recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.