Graham Lawton has created an unexpected literary genre: the compulsively readable medical reference book. You start with the things that currently plague you, and then you keep on reading, happily passing entire afternoons absorbed in the odd and revolting things our bodies serve up. Fool's blackheads! Head eggs! Meibum! If laughter is the best medicine, a dose of Lawton ought to cure most of this stuff.
It would be easy to pick an important science book on climate change or the pandemic, but we're miserable enough already, aren't we? My favourite escape from the news cycle this year was Mustn't Grumble by Graham Lawton (Headline Home). It has a simple but ingenious premise: we're all a bit ill most of the time, so what exactly is going on with our bodies? Lawton covers the science behind 100 mild ailments, such as sore throats, dead legs, dark circles under the eyes and a cricked neck. It's not important, but it is witty, compelling and deeply informed: the perfect guilty pleasure. [Best Books of the Year 2021]
Science writer Graham Lawton spent months recording all his minor ailments, and then investigating why we all suffer from these daily health niggles. The result is this readable book, covering 120 minor complaints from hiccups and hay fever to piles and chilblains.