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.

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

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen, 2010)

After a terrorist attack prompts a government clampdown, a tech-savvy San Francisco teen finds himself an unlikely warrior against a nascent totalitarian state. Pacy, confident spin on Nineteen Eighty-Four with bags of convincing detail and some insight into adolescent insecurities for good measure. Lots to relish, and a few useful pointers for living in/resisting the Information Age into the bargain. Two further books (Homeland and Attack Surface) follow.

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

In Praise of Walking, by Shane O’Mara (Vintage, 2020)

Why walking is good for you, and why we should all walk more. An interdisciplinary popular science approach is offered, linking health in both physical and mental terms, town planning, social interactions, and evolutionary theory. Basically, humans are built and socialized to walk – it’s a key distinction between homo sapiens and other animals – and so we should. Takes a little time to settle into its pace, but worth your perseverance. Recommended.

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

A Burglar’s Guide to the City, by Geoff Manaugh (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2016)

An overview of building architecture and of the spatial design of cities, from a transgressive perspective. The book’s a little light, padded, and a touch overwritten, but nevertheless a hugely enjoyable and illustrative exploration of social control, our assumptions about design, and about how burglars approach questions of space and movement. Recommended.

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

The Problem With Men: When Is It International Men’s Day? (And Why It Matters), by Richard Herring (Sphere, 2020)

Comedian Herring, via his annual Twitter efforts helping sexists with easily-searchable information, discusses toxic masculinity and related topics. A breezy introduction, focused on the seemingly eternal quest to publicise International Men’s Day. Accessible and fun, it’s a handy primer on futility and perseverance from the Brit stand-up Sisyphus.

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

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, by Michael Moss (WH Allen, 2013)

An exploration of processed foods, in product formulation and marketing terms, and the health implications of reliance on prepackaged convenience eating. This US-centric discussion is detailed and clear on the ways major companies structure desire (the “bliss points” of food) through chemistry and psychological manipulation. Recommended.

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

Middlefield, by Ian Waites (Uniform Books, 2017)

A personal geography of a Lincolnshire housing estate. Photographs and text blend to offer a discussion of the uses made and lived experiences of post-war estate dwelling. Experiential rather than nostalgic, the book celebrates modernist planning, the egalitarianism of what might be seen as bland conformity, and the ways in which use reinscribes space. Lots to think about.

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

Prison: A Survival Guide, by Carl Cattermole and others (Ebury/Penguin, 2019)

Prisoners’ perspectives of the UK penal system; what it’s really like on the inside, and where to get help. An invigorating, detailed and illuminating read, that’s critical but fair-minded in its assessment of what life in jail is like, and on what works (not much) and what doesn’t. Recommended.

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