Unfortunate Ends: On Murder and Misadventure in Medieval England, by Soren Lily (Unbound, 2022)

Eleven (well, ten really, and not the twelve promised on the back cover blurb) unusual medieval deaths are discussed. From the fun (albeit seemingly defunct) Twitter bot account tweeting summaries of medieval death rolls. However, the book version is slight in the extreme: a concept that hadn’t been stress-tested for book-length content. A bit of a disappointment, really.

_

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

A Bit of a Stretch: The Diaries of a Prisoner, by Chris Atkins (Atlantic Books, 2020)

The prison diaries of a fraudster, focusing on an initial nine months in HMP Wandsworth. A privileged perspective as the author notes (a middle-class documentarian), but a vivid account nevertheless, evidencing the UK penal system as chronically underfunded, dysfunctional, and counter-productive towards rehabilitation. Darkly funny throughout, though more focus on the regime mechanics would have been interesting.

_

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

Takeaway: Stories From a Childhood Behind the Counter, by Angela Hui (Trapeze Books, 2022)

An autobiography, focusing on childhood and adolescence as the daughter of Chinese takeaway owners in 00s South Wales. An engaging account, addressing stressful family relationships, the mechanics of independent fast food, being an outsider in an insular community, experiencing racism, and reconciling multiple identities. Plus recipes, both family and commercial. Plenty to appreciate and to think on, basically.

_

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

Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide, by Bill McGuire (Hot Science/Icon Books, 2022)

An overview of climate change, its consequences, and a call for urgent meaningful action to be taken. A swift, accessible, though comprehensive account of the damage being done to the planet, and of the problems that this is already causing. The message is clear: the window for taking corrective action is closing fast. Recommended.

_

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

Put Your Ass [Where Your Heart Wants To Be], by Steven Pressfield (Sarsaparilla Media, 2022)

Another of Pressfield’s motivational books on creativity and overcoming barriers to getting work done, this time prioritising focus, place, and effort. The same but different: core messages from Pressfield’s other books are repeated, but the effect is cumulative. Plenty for those who think they’re struggling to be creative to reflect on.

_

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

Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight, by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (Hill and Wang, 2019)

The story of the Apollo 11 moon mission, juxtaposed with a history of human engagements with the moon. An excellent graphic novel retelling, finding ways to add new detail and texture to a well-known story. Clear on the contexts of Apollo, and of its relationships to wider US society, while drawing on mission logs for authenticity. Recommended.

_

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

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, by Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colón (Hill and Wang, 2006)

The 9/11 report, distilled into a graphic novel. Excellent summary of the report, offering clarity and comprehensibility into timelining the events leading up to 9/11, into what went wrong, ongoing failures of national security, and from that what needs to be done to make different agencies work together. It’d be fascinating to read an updated version.

_

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