Buying any books this Christmas? Want our sister event Salon London's (scurrilous) guide to books to buy for Christmas? If yes - read on.

So, in 2019 Natalie Haynes reclaimed all of the Trojan Wars for all of the women with ‘A Thousand Ships’.  Makes you think doesn’t it, what have YOU done with your year? Reclaiming history for new voices has been massive this year.  We'll have some more of THAT please, publishing.

We have to mention the ‘People’s Philosopher’ (as only we refer to him): Julian Baggini with his ‘How the World Thinks’ -  great for a deepening understanding the international world we ACTUALLY live in rather than the one party politics thinks we live in.  Those guys!

How to Have Feminist Sex: A Fairly Graphic Guide. Funny. Frank. Fearless. Buying Flo Perry’s beautiful illustrated book for someone is a socially acceptable way to get involved in someone else's sex life.

London is a Forest  It really is a forest - as defined by the UN!  By Paul Wood (GEDDITT? That ACTUALLY is his name!!!) will make you fall in love with our city’s trees and has London walks in all directions. Perfect for someone you love to walk with. Or as a finishing present for someone you want to walk away from forever.

Gina Rippon’s fantastic The Gendered Brain - she’s been trolled for the findings of her THIRTY years of dedicated research as a leading neuro-imager but there you go.  Baiting serious academics because we reckon we know better is the world we live in now.

See also Angela Saini for her brilliant book Superior: The Return of Race Science . If I had a pound for everyone who wanted to explain where her research was wrong at our ALSO Festival I would have £4 - which is £4 too much.

And yet in an ironic plot twist, our much loved Robert E Smith - a white middle-aged man (apologies Robert I think you look mid 30s) HASN’T had any trolling for his excellent book Rage Against the Machine, heartily recommended by us, that explains how all algorithms are racist sexist scum.


On to Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter. So, his book The Art of Statistics is two inches thick. But even with this handicap - the fact that so many of us are willing to buy it and even READ it to try to make sense of the way we are being misled and misdirected by numbers and stats shows we are intelligent beings after all.

And finally...

The wonder that is Philippa Perry and her The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read for reminding us all that you can’t hack human relationships. It’s rarely too late to do anything about what was handed on to you from your parent, and don’t force your kid to hug anyone they don’t want to - it screws up their idea of consent.