Welcome to part III of a special series of posts in the run up to the holiday season! (Part I here & Part II here) I asked some of the lovely authors that have previously appeared on the site about their Christmas book recommendations for this year. They graciously replied with some fantastic book picks! Hopefully these book recommendations might help you with your own Christmas shopping gift ideas too! :-)
Q. Is there a smart thinking book that you are looking forward to reading this Christmas, or one you would like to give or receive as a gift?
Jackie Uí Chionna
The Creativity Code: How AI is Learning to Write, Paint and Think. I've lost count of the number of meetings I have attended recently which were dominated by my fellow academics and I trying to come to grips with the challenges of AI in our teaching and research. I need a masterclass, and having read his other books, I suspect that Marcus du Sautoy is that master. I can't wait to read it!
Top of my wish list is: Animism: Respecting the Living World.
A book I’d love to receive for Christmas is: Eve: How The Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution by Cat Bohannon.
Mine would be Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy by Henry Kissinger. He might not be right about everything, but he has a century of experience of life, and decades of experience of working with political leaders, and he has spent a lot of time thinking about it.
I have Louise Kennedy's Trespasses on my list of books to buy as presents this year. It's an incredibly engaging fictional account, set against the backdrop of the Northern Irish Troubles. I found it gripping, and was delighted (although not surprised) to see it on the shortlist for the Women's Prize 2023.
I'm hoping to find Gabriel Cooney's Death in Irish Prehistory wrapped up for me this Christmas. It might not sound like the cosy Christmas read, but the brilliant Clodagh Finn recently reviewed it in the Irish Examiner and it sounds utterly fascinating. Finn points to how glimpses of life can be revealed in a study of the dead. She writes: 'For example, the bones of a woman in an Early Bronze Age grave in Oldtown, Co Kildare, reveal she had osteoarthritis in her knees and was probably right-handed. Stress lines in her teeth enamel show that she suffered food shortages as a child. And she used her teeth as a tool, as the chip marks on her lower incisors attest.' Hopefully whoever wraps it up for me this Christmas won’t end up with marks on their teeth if they use them to cut the Sellotape!
Image Copyrights: HarperCollins Publishers (The Creativity Code), Headline Publishing Group (Queen of Codes), C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd (Animism), Pelagic Publishing (Reconnection), Cornerstone (Eve), Hodder & Stoughton (This Won't Hurt), Penguin Books Ltd (Leadership, Bad Bridget), Cambridge University Press (Five Times Faster), Royal Irish Academy (Death in Irish prehistory).