Print publishing may be in an uncertain place right now, and book shops feeling the force of the move towards e-publishing but, judging by the bumper crop of books that have come in for review this autumn, there’s nothing to beat seeing a handsomely produced book on the shelf – and books still make the greatest Christmas presents.
Pride in Ireland’s evolving food culture is a developing theme in Irish publishing, as seen in two very recent books. A Taste of Cork, A Gourmand’s Tour of its Food and Landscape (The History Press Ireland, large format paperback, 96pp, €19.99) is a collaboration between photographer Seán Monaghan and writer Andrew Gleasure, both based in Cork, with a Foreword by Darina Allen. The photographic element is strong, with portraits of many of the county’s best-loved personalities in the food world and their products, set against the backdrop of the wonderful land- and sea-scapes that are the foundation of so many of the good things that we find in the shops, markets, restaurants – and homes – of Cork. The narrative includes a nicely judged amount of history and factual scene setting – with plenty of general background information on the county’s attractions, as well as food-focused items – making this a book that should appeal to visitors. The price is a little high – a common problem with Irish books when competing with imports – but, on a practical note, it is not too heavy (weighing in at under 500g), so will tuck nicely into the return luggage and is not too expensive to post.