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Book recommendations.

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 400 ✭✭ mickmac76


    I'm thinking of returning to education next year as a mature student and am considering geography. Can anyone recommend any books I could look at to give me an idea of what the subject would be like at third level.



  • This book is the first book you will buy starting any geography degree in Ireland or Britain (although my brother managed to end up with the Strahler and Strahler one which is like a fancy leaving cert geography book, do not buy Strahler and Strahler).

    The course tends to vary uni to uni, but first year everyone does the same (mostly): half physical modules and half human (although when I was in UCD they had fuck all physical so we got lumped with a load of human which was hateful).

    First year should introduce you to the concepts (entailed in the Holden book), like terrestrial and climate interactions, hillslopes and catchments etc... It's a very broad brush overview of what physical geography is (i.e. not just naming all the counties or that rivers work in Davisian erosion cycles).

    The Holden book is a good starter in some ways, but I would only dip into at this stage to give you some idea. Obviously if you pursue the course you'll be expected to read outside material, particularly peer-reviewed journal articles but don't worry about that too much in first year.

    Haven't a clue about human, have no interest but I'm sure someone here knows more about it.

  • I'm currently finishing my degree in Geog in UCD and also went back as a mature student. There is no one book that can cover the range of topics that I've studied since the start. While I can't comment on other uni's, 1st year in UCD will look at some physical geog and Geology, some social/human (looking at how the movement of people change the geography) and the environment. For the physical and geology, I found Earth: Portrait of a Planet by Stephen Marshak pretty good for understanding a range of topics.

    Was there any topic in particular you were interested in, or just general atm?

  • Thanks for the replies and recommendations. The reason I'm looking at geography is because it touches a number of subjects that I'm interested in without specializing in any one subject. I was trying to decide between studying economics, politics, philosophy, maths, law or environmental science. The original plan was to get a study for an honours degree in university but I couldn't decide what to study.

    I've only recently realized that geography touches on several of these subjects. My current tentative plan is to apply to university for a joint honours degree in maths and geography. I won't be applying until the academic year 2015 so I'm not in a rush to decide where or what to apply for.

    My interests are fairly broad but I think they are mainly along the lines of globalization and urbanization, economics and politics, and the environment. Geography touches all of these to some degree I think but the last time I did any geography was in my leaving cert 18 years ago. What I'm looking for at the moment is an introduction to these subjects in an informal but fairly rigorous manner. Also if there are any accessible journals or blogs people can recommend that would be excellent.


  • Global Shift by Peter Dicken is pretty good for Economic Geography which is what I used for Globalization last year and you can probably find some of the older editions fairly cheap. Urban Geography by Michael Pacione wasn't bad either that I recall of it. Not sure of blogs as its not quite my interest but maybe some else might be able to suggest something.

  • Actually a good book in general and one that you'll find interesting with bits of geography peppered in it (along with some other stuff) is Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. They also have Freakonomics radio, it's worth listening to the podcasts they're really interesting.

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  • Eugh, even hearing about urbanization, politics and economic geography gives me the shivers, forgotten how much I really loathed human geography.

  • Each to their own. It's been a very long time since I was an undergrad, so no book recommendations from me, but I preferred the human geography side of things to the physical side.