Essential Reads: Spring 2022

Once again, we’ve gathered together our essential reads for the new season.

The twelve books we’ve highlighted here offer a general audience a depth of understanding across a wide range of important, often timely, subjects. Read on to find out which books we’ve chosen, and our reasons for choosing them. 

Taken together, they represent the unique and diverse output our University Presses offer, and enable a broad readership to learn about, understand and #KeepUP with current news, trends, and issues.

Use the code ESSENTIAL22 for 20% discount on any of our essential picks:

Animal Revolution

The animals are staging a revolution and we didn’t even realise? A fantastic book, with beautiful yet intriguing illustrations, talking about just how far nature will go to fight back against the human takeover of earth. A reminder that we (as humans) remain part of something expanding wider than our societies. A definite must read.

University of Minnesota Press

Automation Is a Myth

Automation is a Myth starts by de-bunking the myths that machines will replace us all in the workplace one day. Munn explains the nuances of machine capability and work replacement, ultimately building a fantastic array of human stories and insights into the future of work.

Stanford University Press


It’s becoming obvious to us all just how necessary green energy is going to become. With our increasing reliance on technology, and the batteries it uses, this is an excellent starting place for understanding how we can solve this issue the battery issue the world over.

University of Washington Press

China in the World

There are many misconceptions about China;  Ban Wang traces the evolution of modern China from the late nineteenth century to the present, presenting the Chinese worldview as one looking toward an equal world. 

Duke University Press


In an age of “fake news”, this book shines a light on how people across the world, often get so caught up in it, even when it’s harmful to us. Denial illustrates how we so often miss the truths right in front of us and how we, as a people, are often so willing to get caught up in our denial of these truths.

New York University Press

Discovering Fiction

This new book from Yan Lianke, one of China’s most popular novelists and best known in English translation, outlines his theories on the nature of realism in literature and on writing. Discovering Fiction also provides a captivating insight into the workings of a brilliant mind and novelist.

Duke University Press

In Case of Emergency

This book looks at how we interact with different kinds of media during an emergency, but what’s more important, how this media deems something as an “emergency”. Ellcessor highlights that there is a hierarchy for help, based on discriminatory assumptions,  which leads to inequality within the system. An eye-opening read.

New York University Press

My Life as an Artificial Creative Intelligence

Mark Amerika has created an AI version of himself which has co-written his book with him. Testing the limits and capacity of humans and AI for creativity, this is a really exciting reflection on what we know to be creativity and what it means to be creative, human or otherwise.

Stanford University Press

Staging Democracy

Looks at the way that theatrics and politics align in order for politicians, much like Putin, to use their stage to pressurize citizens. Studying both democracies and authoritarian regimes, this book explores a phenomenon that has become increasingly relevant to our lives.

Cornell University Press

The Life Worth Living

Joel Michael Reynolds is the perfect guide to take us through debates surrounding disability and moral philosophy, debates based on unjust assumptions made millennia ago. A great starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about this subject.

University of Minnesota Press

The Racial Contract

As the 25th anniversary of this book’s publication comes around, it is important that we continue to do the work. This book has proved time and time again to be a great resource. If you haven’t already read it, there’s no better time than now.

Cornell University Press

Western Self-Contempt

Translated into English for the first time, it could not be more relevant, arriving at a time of renewed interest in anti-colonialism. Making a case for a new geography linked to global social justice, this book is a milestone in the history of critical geography and Milton Santos (1926–2001) was one of twentieth-century geography’s most creative conceptual thinkers. 

Cornell University Press

Order any of the CAP Essential Reads with 20% discount, using the code: ESSENTIAL22