Paul At Home, by Michel Rabagliati [trans. Helge Dascher & Rob Aspinall] (Drawn & Quarterly, 2020)

A divorced graphic designer struggles with middle age. Charming, melancholy and well-observed quasi-autobiographical graphic novel, the most recent – to date – in the long-running Paul series. Plenty to appreciate both for newcomers and for those who are growing old alongside the protagonist.

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

Monologues of Shite, by Emily Cullen (no publisher indicated, 2022)

A young woman returns to her parental home for the first 2020 coronavirus lockdown. An excellent quirky little book, mostly documenting/diarising in graphic form her Dad’s rambles, both literal and linguistic. Lots of fun, and well-observed. A handy partner to Rachael Smith’s Quarantine Comix, taking a very different route through the same time. Recommended.

Not sure how widely available this is: I got my copy online from OK Comics.

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

Born For Trouble: The Further Adventures of Hap and Leonard, by Joe R Lansdale (Tachyon Publications, 2022)

Five novellas featuring Lansdale‘s series protagonists: murder and mayhem in East Texas. Bringing together the previously separately-published Coco Butternut, Hoodoo Harry, Sad Onions, The Briar Patch Boogie, and Cold Cotton, this collection finds Hap and Leonard facing middle age but still with plenty of fight in them. Recommended.

A longer review is here.

Note: advance copy provided by the publisher.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

My Last Supper: One Meal, a Lifetime in the Making, by Jay Rayner (Guardian Faber, 2020)

The restaurant critic and journalist ponders mortality through food. A kind of autobiography, structured around assembling a final meal, and with it a playlist. The Desert Island Discs-ish structure works well, making for an episodic but enjoyable set of culinary investigations, observations, and reminiscences.

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

In, by Will McPhail (Sceptre, 2021)

An illustrator struggles with communicating in the big city: then he meets someone. Wry and melancholic in places, particularly at its outset, this is nevertheless ultimately a good-looking but manipulative and slight graphic novel, its narrative coming across as forced and mechanistic. Not for me, really, then, though it may well speak to others.

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