My Recommendations

I am a bit of an educational and non-fiction book geek. I usually buy a new book (0r two or three) every time I get paid. During the past year, thanks to the pandemic, I have a bookshelf full. Reading through them is where the challenge comes in.

Weirdly, I like to invest my money into hard-copy educational books, but I like to read fiction through my https://www.audible.co.uk app. There is something so fascinating about a book that is being ready to you and how it comes to life when you are listening to it. On the other hand, educational and non-fiction books, I like to feel and smell, turn down the corners of the pages, ‘sticky’ tab them, and highlight them. I often pull them off the shelf, hold them up in front of my camera, and refer to them when I am giving online lectures and presentations. There is just something so honourable and concrete about an educational book that you can hold in your hands.

So… Here is a list of my favourite educational and non-fiction book recommendations. Of course, I will always be adding more as I read through them and acquire new ones. Most all of the books can be ordered online and are relatively inexpensive at Amazon.co.uk/books or BookDepository.com.

My first recommendation is a handy little book that should be on every teacher’s bookshelf, at every level and across every sector of education. It’s called:

Thinking Sociologically

By Zygmunt Bauman and Tim May (2019)

Here is what The Book Depository has to say about the contents:

Widely acclaimed insight on the human condition, updated to view modern issues through a sociological lens 

Now in its third edition, Thinking Sociologically continues to offer a stimulating exploration of the underlying assumptions and tacit expectations which structure our view of the world. This best-seller has been translated into 12 languages to bring key sociological concepts to students and general readers around the globe. The authors review recent developments in society and examine the applicability of sociology to everyday life. 

The world has changed a great deal since the second edition's publication. Issues of climate change, sustainability, inequality, social justice, inclusion and the role of social media have risen to prominence, and we are collectively challenging our ways of thinking about intimacy, community, consumption, ethics, social identity, and more. This new third edition has been revised to reflect these and other transformations in our lives, helping us to think sociologically about the consequences of these burgeoning issues, how we organize our societies, understand ourselves and lead our lives. This dynamic book: 


Applies sociology to everyday life in the context of current issues
Contains contributions from major theorists that introduce central sociological concepts with modern relevance
Features a highly engaging and stimulating style that promotes critical thought and independent study


Written for undergraduates, postgraduates, practicing sociologists and social scientists, this book also holds a broad appeal to a general audience. The third edition of Thinking Sociologically offers a compelling survey of sociological issues, recent changes in society and their influence on our day-to-day lives and identities. 

My next recommendation is one that every teacher should have, especially if you are considering research in your classroom – which of course, you should always consider – because no one wants to be stale toast. Keep your educator’s mind fresh and full of perspective:

The Teacher’s Guide to Research

By Jonathan Firth (2020)

Here’s the descriptive blurb from the Book Depository:

This accessible guide provides practical support on becoming research engaged and research active within the school and beyond. It explores the meaning of research and clarifies multiple types of research which lead to different views on 'what works', all whilst showing how to engage with the latest educational findings and how to conduct classroom-based research as part of career-long professional development. 


Divided into three parts, this book examines the various understandings of being 'research-engaged' and covers key issues such as:

Finding and interpreting research
How to apply and evaluate findings in reliable ways
Planning and carrying out a classroom-based project
Building a culture of research within a school
Establishing local research networks
Publishing work

Illustrated with inspiring examples of how to these implement ideas in schools, The Teachers' Guide to Research is perfect for practicing schools teachers, student teachers and educational leaders who are looking to expand their research knowledge and rekindle their professional curiosity.

If you are living and/or teaching in Ireland – this next book is a MUST for your bookshelf! Ireland is such a small country, that finding books on sociology and education in the Irish context is limited. This one was updated (3rd ed) in 2014, but is very contemporary and applicable.

An Introduction to Sociology in Ireland

By Bernadette McDonald (2014)

The aul Book Depository blurb:

Revised and updated edition of this comprehensive introduction to the world of sociology incorporating key contemporary issues, with particular reference to the Irish perspective.

New to this edition:

Reflects all changes in the revised Social Studies module [5N1370]
Provides the most recent statistics related to the area of sociology
Introduces reflective and investigative skills for use on current social issues
Advises on strategies for study and preparation for examinations, as well as note-taking skills and revision methods.

Are you a post-primary teacher in Ireland? Are you trying to wrap your head around the equity, equality and social justice and what it means to you as an educator and to how you approach your constantly changing classroom demographic? This book is for you!

Education for All? The Legacy of Free Post-Primary Education in Ireland

Edited by: Judith Harford (2018)

Description from the Book Depository:

This book, commissioned to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the introduction of free post-primary education in Ireland, examines its origins, legacy and impact. The contributions are written by a range of scholars internationally recognized for their expertise in the fields of history of education, sociology of education, education policy and curriculum. Collectively, they theorize both the historical context for the introduction of free education as well as the impact of the initiative on the promotion of equality of opportunity. The book takes a long view, bringing new knowledge to the field by analysing previously unexamined primary sources, drawing on up-to-date research on educational disadvantage and assessing the changing emphases of Irish educational policy over time. 

Check back periodically for new additions and recommendations.