Baby, it's cold outside...

Canada is caught in the grips of a deep freeze. So what better time to stay “next to the fire”, at least figuratively, and read a good book? If you write and/or deliver speeches and presentations, here are three great choices. All of them are available in hard copy and ebook format too.

• How To Write & Give A Speech - Joan Detz marked the 30th anniversary of her classic guide by giving it an overhaul. The 2014 version includes new examples, references to current technology and a section on social media. I'll review the book in more detail in the new year.

• MacSparky Presentations Field Guide - David Sparks, cohost with Katie Floyd of the Mac Power Users podcast, has created an e-book on how to plan and prepare a presentation. The guide's dozens of screencasts and audio interviews add up to a rich media experience.

• Words Like Loaded Pistols - Author and journalist Sam Leith explores the way speechmakers and presenters from Aristotle to Obama have used rhetoric to persuade, inspire, cajole, bamboozle, thrill and misdirect. And he does it with lots of humour and witty references to current events.