Billionaires: The Lives of the Rich and Powerful, by Darryl Cunningham (Myriad Editions, 2019)

Three case studies of extreme wealth and power: Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos. A confident blend of biography and polemic, clearly making the argument that power corrupts, and that money distorts. Lots to ponder on here, rendered in a  chirpy and accessible graphic format. Recommended.

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

Landscapes of Detectorists, edited by Innes M Keighren & Joanne Norcup (Uniform Books, 2020)

Academic essays on the BBC single-camera comedy Detectorists, plus context from writer/star/director Mackenzie Crook, and original producer Adam Tandy. Focusing on the programme’s engagements with landscape, history, and gender relations, this is a fine introduction to the thematic richness and blokeish pleasures of the series. Volume II, please!

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

Thunderbook: The World of Bond According to SmershPod, by John Rain (Polaris, 2019)

An overview of the Eon James Bond films to date. And not a very good one, either. Unlike the genial podcast which this book spins off from, this film-by-film precis doesn’t add much more than scattershot snark and the same overworked observations. A few useful bits of trivia emerge, but this is a disappointing, laboured, and repetitive effort.

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.

We Have No Idea: a Guide to the Unknown Universe, by Jorge Cham & Daniel Whiteson (John Murray, 2018)

A layperson’s guide to astrophysics, from the presenters of Jorge and Daniel Explain the Universe podcast. And an excellent beast this is too, being both detailed and accessible, leavened with jokes and cartoons, and with enough explanatory reach and power to offer clarity and depth to their overview of some of the universe’s biggest questions. 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.

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

The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor, by Mark Schatzker (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

An exploration of the relationship between food flavour, nutritional qualities and diet, and the ways in which processed food industries work to substitute quality for flavour. A smart, clear overview of the topic area. Accessible and informative, even if its conclusions are straightforward.

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

The Shining [Devil’s Advocates], by Laura Mee (Auteur Publishing, 2017)

A monograph on the Stankey Kubrick adaptation of the Stephen King novel. And a good one too; a smart, detailed and perceptive commentary on the movie, its production and its reception. Academic but accessible, and even-handed in its analysis of the continuing significance of the movie as a popular culture touchstone. Recommended.

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