Chris West

Melville House, £9.99

In a book that will have even staunch Eurosceptics trawling YouTube for his top tips, Chris West traces the history of the Eurovision Song Contest year by year, in tandem with the changing face of Europe over the same period. He provides a painless grounding in the ups, downs and significant events affecting Europe from 1955, discussing national rivalries, the Common Agricultural Policy, Maastricht and the Balkan War in the same breath as the schlager trend, the early Francophone domination of the contest and the length of male performers’ hair. Disputing that it was ever “a novelty competition”, West saves his derision for the mindless songs that deserve it, preferring to celebrate lyrics of particular depth and sophistication, credit the innovative set designer Roland de Groot and draw attention to the Portuguese penchant for slipping political messages into their entries. In a show-stopping finale, it even suggests ways Eurovision might teach the EU a thing or two.

Doing Justice

Preet Bharara

Bloomsbury, £9.99

Fired by Donald Trump after refusing to resign, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York has since been recording successful podcasts and writing this book, which was originally conceived as a guide to young lawyers in taking an ethical, humane approach to their work. Drawing examples from his own successes and failures, Bharara goes through the various processes in a criminal investigation – Inquiry, Accusation, Judgement and Punishment – with chapters on subjects like informers, confirmation bias and violent interrogation, maintaining that the law is always going to be imperfect and that those who practise it must apply it with discretion and a moral code, and look beyond the letter of the law to find justice. The shadow of the Trump presidency looms over every word, and Bharara shows a welcome lack of cynicism, at a time when civility and decency in public life has collapsed, in his belief that the rule of law can still be a beacon.


JP Henderson

No Exit, £8.99

To his parents, the harmlessly eccentric Herod “Rod” Pinkney would never match his dead older brother, Solomon. Treated coldly and dismissively by his mother and father, he was nevertheless left a fortune when they died, which meant he could live any way he wanted. And Rod is one of those naïve, savant-like narrators whose life decisions can raise eyebrows while making perfect sense to him. After Rod has got us used to his way of looking at the world, he gets round to what he wanted to write about in the first place, which is how he fell in love with an American woman, Daisy Lamprich, on a 13-year-old edition of Judge Judy and set about tracking her down and winning her heart. Never less than amusing, Henderson’s tone is so guileless and inoffensive that it’s barely noticeable when he strays into darker areas, and the inimitable Rod is ably backed up by a supporting cast of equally quirky characters.