Good Night, Hem, by Jason (Fantagraphics Books, 2021)

Three episodes in the life of Ernest Hemingway, each involving recurring Jason character Athos the Last Musketeer. Jason’s laconic, deceptively simple style is, as ever, beguiling. The reader’s given space to think, involving them completely in the narrative, in Hemingway’s life, and the effect of the stranger on him. Recommended.

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

Frequently Asked Questions About The Universe, by Jorge Cham & Daniel Whiteson (John Murray, 2021)

A series of physics FAQs explored for non-scientists. An excellent second primer from the podcasting duoDaniel & Jorge Explain the Universe – delving into areas such as the possibility of time travel, teleportation, the multiverse, the Big Bang theory, and the practicalities of terraforming and of interstellar exploration. Lots of fun, some good jokes, and zippy illustrations throughout. Recommended.

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

Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams, by Darryl Cunningham (Myriad Editions, 2019)

A brisk overview of a range of science topics, with a focus on both quackery and on denialism. Chapters explore subjects from homeopathy to arguments against the science on climate change: accessible and clear throughout, with complex ideas explained well, and attention given to understanding why easy lies are often a comfort. Recommended.

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

The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict, by William Leith (Bloomsbury, 2006)

A shambolic writer investigates the diet industry while facing up to his own issues. Funny in places and well-written in confident journalese, this kinda autobiography is as 00s as it gets, dated in some respects (a reliance on James Frey), padded at times, but is good on self-loathing. The secret? Therapy: food and other substance issues are linked to unresolved psychological problems, per this account.

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

Park by the River, by Barney Farmer (Wrecking Ball Press, 2021)

An isolated elderly man takes daily walks during a pandemic through his local park. Barney Farmer’s third novel (after Drunken Baker and Coketown) is his best yet: more melancholic than splenetic this time out, but no less angry at the state of the world and the plight of those adrift within it. Recommended.

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

Strawberries To Pigs, by Michael Legge (Go Faster Stripe, 2021)

A collection of writings from the splenetic stand-up. And a pretty decent selection too. Mostly rejigged bits of bloggery, plus an extended short story (that feels a bit like padding in this context, to be fair). Plenty of fury, as fans might expect, and some strong writing to go along with that. A second volume would be something to look forward to.

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

Getting Away With It, by Steven Soderbergh (Faber and Faber, 1999)

Subtitled “The Further Adventures of the Luckiest Bastard You Ever Saw”, this balances a twelve-month journal of the film industry – there’s a lot here about Soderbergh juggling projects and writing-related procrastination – and a series of interviews with fellow film director Richard Lester. The book’ll make you want to go back and revisit Lester’s work: from the Goons to The Beatles to Superman via the best Musketeers movies. Recommended.

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

The Ten (Food) Commandments, by Jay Rayner (Penguin Books, 2016)

The food journalist and restaurant critic offers ten simple rules for the good food life. A mix of personal philosophy, common sense, accessible nutritional science, and autobiography with a few decent recipes thrown in to illustrate the points being made. All good stuff, and the pork, butter bean and chorizo stew offered is a belter.

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