7 stocking stuffer ideas for book lovers
Give the gift of reading this holiday season with books from AU Press
Holiday shopping is stressful at the best of times. Between navigating crowded stores or coming up with fresh ideas each year, it’s no wonder stress levels spike every December.
Fortunately, AU Press offers a solution to both problems. Canada’s only open university press publishes an array of books by some of the world’s best authors. Not only do these titles make great stocking stuffers, print and ebook copies can be purchased online. (And if you’re truly on a budget, you can also download free PDFs or read online).
Here’s a list of great ideas for the book lover in your life.
1. For the history buff
Truth Behind Bars, by Dr. Paul Kellog, a professor of interdisciplinary studies at AU.
Just north of the Arctic Circle is the settlement of Vorkuta, a notorious camp in the Gulag internment system that witnessed three pivotal moments in Russian history. In the 1930s, a desperate hunger strike by socialist prisoners, victims of Joseph Stalin’s repressive regime, resulted in mass executions. In 1953, a strike by forced labourers sounded the death knell for the Stalinist forced labour system. And finally, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a series of strikes by new, independent miners’ unions were central to overturning the Stalinist system. Kellogg uses the story of Vorkuta as a frame with which to re-assess the Russian Revolution.
2. For the literature lover
The Virtues of Disillusionment by Steven Heighton, former AU writer in residence
Most people go through life chasing illusions of success, fame, wealth, happiness, and few things are more painful than the reality-revealing loss of an illusion. But if illusions are negative, why is the opposite—being disillusioned—also negative? In this essay, Heighton mathematically evaluates the paradox of disillusionment and the negative aspects of hope. He draws on writers such as Herman Melville, Leonard Cohen, Kate Chopin, and Thich Nhat Hanh, and considers the influence of illusions on creativity, art, and society.
3. For the activist
Regime of Obstruction by Dr. William K. Carroll
Rapidly rising carbon emissions from the intense development of Western Canada’s fossil fuels continue to aggravate the global climate emergency and destabilize democratic structures. The urgency of the situation demands not only scholarly understanding, but effective action. Carroll lifts the veil of secrecy to uncover the complex connections between corporate power and the extraction and use of carbon energy.
4. For the lover of real-life
Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation edited by George Melnyk and Dr. Christina Parker
Millions of people are displaced each year by war, persecution, and famine and the global refugee population continues to grow. Canada has often been regarded as a benevolent country, welcoming refugees from around the globe. However, refugees have encountered varying kinds of reception in Canada. Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation is a collection of personal narratives about the refugee experience in Canada.
5. For the techie
25 Years of Ed Tech by Martin Weller
In this lively and approachable volume based on his popular blog series, Martin Weller demonstrates a rich history of innovation and effective implementation of ed tech across higher education. From Bulletin Board Systems to blockchain, Weller follows the trajectory of education by focusing each chapter on a technology, theory, or concept that has influenced each year since 1994.
6. For the poet
Turtle Island to Gaza by David Groulx
With a sure voice, Groulx, an Anishnaabe writer, artistically weaves together the experiences of Indigenous peoples in settler Canada with those of the people of Palestine, revealing a shared understanding of colonial pasts and presents.
7. For the lover of letters
Unforgetting Private Charles Smith by Jonathan Locke Hart
Private Charles Smith had been dead for close to a century when Jonathan Hart discovered the soldier’s small diary in the Baldwin Collection at the Toronto Public Library. The diary’s first entry was marked 28 June 1915. After some research, Hart discovered that Charles Smith was an Anglo-Canadian, born in Kent, and that this diary was almost all that remained of this forgotten man, who like so many soldiers from ordinary families had lost his life in the First World War. Unforgetting Private Charles Smith is the poetic setting of the words in Smith’s diary, work undertaken by Hart with the intention of remembering Smith’s life rather than commemorating his death.