17 Dec

The Ultimate Holiday Booklist from Polity

Posted By polity_admin_user

Get 25% off on these titles using discount code VBS30 at checkout*.

If you’re looking for last-minute gift ideas or something to read in the lull between Christmas and New Year, we’ve got you covered.

Browse our top picks in:

New and Noteworthy

Unusual and Interesting Reads

Politics and Modern History

Tackling the Climate Crisis

Race and Social Justice

History and Travel

New and Noteworthy

Pandemic! by Slavoj Žižek
“Passages of beauty… a high-wire juxtaposition of far-left political theory and pop culture, held together by the force of [Žižek’s] rumpled charm.”
BuzzFeed
Buy it here.

The COVID-19 Catastrophe by Richard Horton
“A well-reasoned roar of rage at the failure of many western governments to follow the emerging scientific evidence about the pandemic potential of the novel coronavirus.”
The Financial Times
Buy it here.

Unusual and Interesting Reads

A History of Solitude by David Vincent
From ‘lonely as a cloud’ to the ‘loneliness epidemic’, David Vincent explores how people have conducted themselves in the absence of company over the last three centuries.
“[A] beautifully written, nuanced and now topical history.”
The Spectator
Buy it here.

Smells by Robert Muchembled
A rich cultural history of smells that sheds new light on an under-appreciated sense.
“Full of disgusting, delicious details. If you’ve ever wondered how living without modern technologies of sanitation might have shaped the surrounding culture, this book is for you.”
Slate
Buy it here.

The Joy of Missing Out by Svend Brinkmann
For anyone who’s given up on their 2021 resolutions before they’ve made them, or who’s secretly glad that this New Year will be a government-mandated ‘quiet one in’, this is the book for you.
Buy it here.

Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards
The perfect gift for wrestling fans new to philosophy or for philosophers new to wrestling.
“One of the best popular philosophy books I’ve ever read.”
Mark D. White, author of Batman and Ethics
Buy it here.

Chicken by Paul R. Josephson
The irresistible rise and fall of the world’s favourite farm animal, an animal that, arguably, can lay claim to being man’s best friend long before the dog reared its snout or the cat came in from the cold.
Buy it here.

Dogs by Mark Alizart
A must-have for any dog lover.
“Seminal . . . [Alizart] makes a compelling case on why dogs matter and articulates the important lessons they can impart to us.”
The Bark
Buy it here.

Politics and Modern History

What Is at Stake Now by Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev warns us of the grave risks we now face and urges us all, political leaders and citizens alike, to take action to address them.
“A book that should be read and pondered by every concerned citizen.”
Jack F. Matlock, Jr., author of Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended
Buy it here.

Bauman by Izabela Wagner
“Izabela Wagner’s biography of Bauman is impressively erudite, exquisitely researched, and brings its subject vividly to life…an indispensable book.”
Australian Book Review
Buy it here.

Pearl Harbor by Takuma Melber
Takuma Melber breathes new life into the dramatic events that unfolded before, during and after Pearl Harbor by putting the perspective of the Japanese attackers at the centre of his account.
Buy it here.

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot by John Lloyd
An incisive critique of the quest for Scottish independence.
“Clearly written and well researched, Lloyd’s book should decisively change the debate about Scottish independence.”
Prospect
Buy it here.

Tackling the Climate Crisis

The Disappearance of Butterflies by Josef H. Reichholf
In the last fifty years, our butterfly populations have declined by more than eighty percent. The eminent entomologist and award-winning author Josef H. Reichholf brings a lifetime of scientific experience and expertise to bear on one of the great environmental catastrophes of our time.
Buy it here.

Down to Earth by Bruno Latour
Bruno Latour shows how to rethink politics in the era of climate change.
“Brilliantly mind-bending.”
The New York Times
Buy it here.

How Everything Can Collapse by Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens
Collapse is the horizon of our generation. But collapse is not the end – it’s the beginning of our future.
“This is not the kind of book you can read and put down with a shrug of the shoulders: it is a book that will overwhelm you.”
Canard Enchainé
Buy it here.

And the highly anticipated follow-up:
Another End of the World is Possible by Pablo Servigne, Raphaël Stevens and Gauthier Chapelle
“If you want to know what lies beyond survivalism, and how collapse might be navigable as something other than mass death and disaster, read this book!”
Rupert Read, author of This Civilisation is Finished
Buy it here.

Race and Social Justice

Race After Technology by Ruha Benjamin
“Ideal for anyone who is unafraid to look at the historical intersections of racial injustice, technology, and where these topics inform possible solutions for the future.”
Library Journal
Winner of Brooklyn Public Library’s Literary Prize for Nonfiction 2020
Buy it here.

This year we launched our Black Lives Series, which takes the lives of inspirational, important, and courageous black historical figures and outlines why their lives, actions, and ideas matter today. Take a look at the first two in the series:

W.E.B. Du Bois by Elvira Basevich
“Essential reading for understanding why Du Bois still matters!”
Melvin Rogers, Brown University
Buy it here.

Frances E. W. Harper by Utz McKnight
“It’s rare to read a book that both recovers a brilliant political thinker who has long been neglected, and is filled with luminous insights about contemporary racial politics…This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.”
Alex Zamalin, University of Detroit-Mercy
Buy it here.

History and Travel

Do you miss traveling to new places and learning about their rich histories? Until you can get back out there, check out the Polity Histories series, smart and vibrant pocket histories exploring the major forces and developments that have shaped the contemporary politics of countries across the world.

Latest releases include:
France by Emile Chabal
France is the most-visited country in the world. It attracts millions of tourists, most of whom come in search of beautiful architecture, good food, and fine art. But appearances can be deceptive. Emile Chabal tells the story of a paradoxical country.
Buy it here.

China by Kerry Brown
China is poised to become the world’s largest economy in the next decade. But China’s long march to global primacy has been above all an epic fight to renew an ancient country and culture. Kerry Brown traces this quest for renewal through the major moments of China’s modern history.
Buy it here.

Other books in the series include Russia, Syria and Japan.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Polity!

Get 25% off on these titles using discount code VBS30 at checkout*. For further discounts and to keep up with current polity book news, why not subscribe to our mailing list?

*Discount code valid until 31st January 2021