Frequently Asked Questions About The Universe, by Jorge Cham & Daniel Whiteson (John Murray, 2021)

A series of physics FAQs explored for non-scientists. An excellent second primer from the podcasting duoDaniel & Jorge Explain the Universe – delving into areas such as the possibility of time travel, teleportation, the multiverse, the Big Bang theory, and the practicalities of terraforming and of interstellar exploration. Lots of fun, some good jokes, and zippy illustrations throughout. Recommended.

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

Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams, by Darryl Cunningham (Myriad Editions, 2019)

A brisk overview of a range of science topics, with a focus on both quackery and on denialism. Chapters explore subjects from homeopathy to arguments against the science on climate change: accessible and clear throughout, with complex ideas explained well, and attention given to understanding why easy lies are often a comfort. Recommended.

My own books are 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.

Getting Away With It, by Steven Soderbergh (Faber and Faber, 1999)

Subtitled “The Further Adventures of the Luckiest Bastard You Ever Saw”, this balances a twelve-month journal of the film industry – there’s a lot here about Soderbergh juggling projects and writing-related procrastination – and a series of interviews with fellow film director Richard Lester. The book’ll make you want to go back and revisit Lester’s work: from the Goons to The Beatles to Superman via the best Musketeers movies. Recommended.

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.

“Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?”, by Harold Schechter & Eric Powell (Albatross Funnybooks, 2021)

An exploration of Ed Gein’s crimes and of the cultural impact of the case. Splendid monochrome graphic novel taking care to present this case history in context, drawing on court records and interviews, while being clear about its telescoping of matters to tell a story. Explains and contextualises without empathising. Recommended.

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

Chewing The Fat, by Jay Rayner (Guardian Faber, 2021)

A collection of the journalist and restaurant critic‘s columns for the Observer Food Monthly supplement. And a very decent brisk read this too, with articles taking on topics from Christmas entertaining to what restaurants get wrong. Rayner is funny, good with a comparison, likes decent grub, and adopts the customer’s / home cook’s perspective throughout. Recommended.

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