Middlefield, by Ian Waites (Uniform Books, 2017)

A personal geography of a Lincolnshire housing estate. Photographs and text blend to offer a discussion of the uses made and lived experiences of post-war estate dwelling. Experiential rather than nostalgic, the book celebrates modernist planning, the egalitarianism of what might be seen as bland conformity, and the ways in which use reinscribes space. Lots to think about.

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

Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights: A Journey Deeper into Dining Hell, by Jay Rayner (Guardian Faber, 2018)

A collection of restaurant reviews: Observer critic Jay Rayner’s bleakest dining experiences of the 2010s. Fun quick read, in which Rayner pursues his pet hates: the over-priced, the over-ambitious, the shoddy, the rude, the misbegotten. Punching up throughout with some verve. All he wants is decent grub at fair prices, after all.

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

The Hero, by Lee Child (TLS Books, 2019)

A writer‘s perspective on what the concept of the hero signifies to them. A smart, clear monograph on different aspects of what a hero might be, on the origins of the word and its meanings, and its relationships to thriller fiction. Hints of autobiography and writing philosophy, plus a love of words, meanings, and implications.

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

More Golden Rules Of Acting, by Andy Nyman (Nick Hern Books, 2019)

A follow-up to the 2012 first volume, giving an insider’s perspective on how to be an actor, in all that this entails. Useful insights for anyone linked with creative and gig-based working – not just boards-troublers – that might be summarised in three words: positivity, politeness, professionalism. Best read with Book 1, but a valuable reality check nevertheless.

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

An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, by Georges Perec [trans. Marc Lowenthal] (Wakefield Press, 2010)

Three days of observations of the same Paris street. A mesmerising, poetic, futile and charming go at capturing everything that happens – more or less – in a single place over a short space of time. Makes you want to have a crack at the same thing yourself, which can only be a recommendation.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England. But if you like the idea of this book, then chances are that you’ll like Benches of Louth

‘Broadsword Calling Danny Boy’: on Where Eagles Dare, by Geoff Dyer (Penguin, 2018)

The author comments on a favourite and formative film (and reading) experience. Like a transcribed audio commentary, or a fledgeling BFI Classics monograph that didn’t make it. An odd little book, but one that’s at least well-written and engages with the flick interestingly, even if it takes unprofitably to snark on occasion.

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