Reviews and recommendations

I’ve done a lot of reviewing of films, TV, and books here, so I thought I would draw them all together in one place. Listed in reverse order.


I’ve done a whole series of reviews on the Hannibal TV series, episode by episode, so they’ve got their own category: Hannibal. (If you’re interested in this, you might also like my piece about aesthetics in the series, published in the MHRA Working Papers: “Psychopath aesthetics: the example of the cannibal”.)




Behind the Candelabra

Only Lovers Left Alive

A Dangerous Method



Little Favour (short)


Room in Rome




Wilkie Collins: Poor Miss Finch (C19 sensation novel)

Sheridan Le Fanu: Wylder’s Hand (C19 sensation/crime novel)

Natasha Pulley: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (Neo-Victorian fantasy)

Will Self: Dorian (a rewriting of Wilde’s classic novel; dark humour and ’90s pastiche)

Gaito Gazdanov: The Spectre of Alexander Wolf (psychological thriller)

Lindqvist: Let the Right One In (modern-day gothic vampire tale)

China Mieville: Perdido Street Station (fantasy; epic)

Carlos Gamerro: The Islands (dark humour; war novel)

Stendhal: The Red and the Black (C19 psychological novel and bildungsroman)

Florence Marryat: Her Father’s Name (C19 sensation novel)

Bernado Atxaga: Obabakoak (short story collection centred on a small Basque town)

Jeanette Winterson: Weight (novella radically reimagining the myth of Atlas)

Ali Smith: Girl Meets Boy (novella radically reimagining the myth of Iphis)

Vernon Lee: A Phantom Lover (C19 historical ghost story)

George Gissing: The Odd Women (C19 ‘New Woman’ novel)


Michelle Obama: Becoming (a personal memoir about her childhood, professional career, and the Obama presidency)

Rafia Zakaria: Veil (a collection of short essays about the meanings attributed to the wearing, or not, of the veil)

Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (“self help”; a must-read for people with too many things, which is all of us)

José Van Dijck: The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media (critical work on technology and new media)

Beatriz Preciado: Testojunkie (part-critical, part-autobiographical work on sex and gender)

Jay Rayner: A Greedy Man in a Hungry World (investigative journalism on the food industry)

Victoria Finlay: Travels Through the Paintbox (part-travelogue, part-narrative history)

Danny Dorling: Injustice: Why Social Inequality Still Persists (social criticism)

Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow (psychology)

Michel Foucault: Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-century French Hermaphrodite (memoir)

Jeremy Eugenides: Middlesex (modern bildungsroman; family novel)

Elif Batuman: The Possessed (essay collection loosely centred on Russian literature study)

Darian Leader: Stealing the Mona Lisa (Lacanian analysis of art-objects and the gaze)

Ben Goldacre: Bad Pharma (analysis of the pharmaceutical industry)

Darian Leader: What is Madness? (Lacanian analysis of mental illness)