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.

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.

A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof, by Roger Clarke (Penguin Books, 2013)

A history of ghosts, hauntings, and on attempts to scientifically study the supernatural. Focusing on Britain, this fine book offers a primer on celebrated hauntings, on key figures such as Harry Price, and on the social and cultural studies aspects of ghostlore. Lots of fun.

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

 

Coal Town, by Mik Critchlow (Bluecoat Press, 2019)

A documentary record in photographs of mining communities in 1980s Northumberland. Epic and elegiac without being sentimental, the end of an era, an industry and to some extent a community captured in these compelling black-and-white images. A storming social history neither glamorizing nor criticising its subjects. Hugely recommended.

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