On The Camino, by Jason (Fantagraphics Books, 2017)

An anthropomorphized account of a Camino pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. A charming and melancholy graphic novel with some neat running gags and the imaginings of the protagonist’s movie-filled brain, this is a treat for anyone interested in walking, pilgrimages, and/or finding yourself a little bit. Lots to appreciate, rendered in simple black and white.

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

The Trick, by William Leith (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020)

The journalist explores the secret to making money, through reflecting on his parlous financial life and on his wealthy interview subjects. Typically self-absorbed and confident, Leith’s third book is a zippy treat, even if you might not want to spend time with anyone featured in it. The trick itself is revealed on p.198.

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

Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef, by Mark Schatzker (Periscope Books, 2015)

An investigation into what makes for the best steak. Jolly travelogue-cum-popular science book that relies a touch too much on stereotypes to get its points across, but nevertheless has much to say about cattle, compassion in farming, and in the relationship between process and product in an era of increasingly-mechanised and volume-driven production.

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

Vacationland, by John Hodgman (Viking/Penguin Random House, 2017)

Ruminations on, among other things, owning two holiday homes. Similar in its approach to that of its follow-up Medallion Status, Hodgman discusses the advantages and the minor pitfalls of almost being a celebrity, rural v city life, and the odd responsibilities of homeownership. Deft, pleasant, amusing, melancholic as ever.

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

Medallion Status, by John Hodgman (Viking/Penguin Random House, 2019)

Reflections on perceived dwindling fame and airline loyalty schemes. We don’t really have humourists in the UK; maybe we should. Anyway, this is a funny, melancholy and perceptive look at Hollywood and other places thanks to Hodgman’s temporary access to the outer parts of the inner sanctum.

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

 

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.