Lowborn, by Kerry Hudson (Vintage, 2020)

A writer revisits her younger life and self. Excellent autobiographical exploration of how class, gender, substance abuse, poor mental health, homelessness, poverty and related issues may intersect and inform each other. Neither sentimental nor sensationalist, but clear and compassionate throughout. Plus, a Proustian moment (involving banana-flavoured vitamin drops) for me. 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.

Shoot for the Moon: How the Moon Landings Taught us the 8 Secrets of Success, by Richard Wiseman (Quercus, 2019)

A guide to positive thinking, stickability, and efficiency, filtered through lessons learned from the Apollo space missions. Genial pop psychology matched well with an overview of NASA problem-solving and lateral thinking approaches to life. Nothing revelatory here, but great for Moon mission completists and fans of Wiseman alike.

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

Batman: Ego, and Other Tails, by Darwyn Cooke, with Paul Grist, Bill Wray and Tim Sale (DC Comics, 2007)

Bruce Wayne and The Bat struggle over whose identity is dominant. A smart, quick chamber piece that both covers a great deal of Bat-history and delivers in immediate story terms. Packaged together with other Batman work from Cooke, including the stand-alone Catwoman adventure Selina’s Big Score.

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

 

Barking, by Lucy Sullivan (Unbound, 2020)

A struggle with mental health issues leads to Alix’s institutionalisation; she’s locked in with her demon. A fascinating case study of illness and the inadequacies of mental health provision, taking the metaphor of the black dog and running wild with it. Barking has a lot to say, being told in expressionistic sketches that mirror Alix’s situation. Maybe harrowing for some, but recommended.

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