Tom Crean

In a small village in County Kerry called Annascaul, there is a pub called "The South Pole Inn". It is an unusual name for a pub found in a small village in Ireland, thousands of miles away from the Antarctic. But the pub has direct links to Tom Crean, the man who originally owned it.

Tom Crean

An unsung hero, Tom Crean - Antarctic survivor by Michael Smith

Tom Crean was born on 20th July 1877, near Annascaul. He was one of ten children. Times would have been hard on the farm and Tom Crean officially enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1893. He had not yet celebrated his sixteenth birthday.

The Testament of Jessie Lamb Wins Science Fiction Award

The Testament of Jessie LambBritish novelist Jane Rogers has won the UK's top science fiction prize, the Arthur C Clarke Award, for her novel 'The Testament of Jessie Lamb'. Rogers has been a prize winner before, but this is her first venture into science fiction. The book was also on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize last year.

'The Testament of Jessie Lamb' is the story of a 16-year old girl who wants to save humanity after an act of biological terrorism releases a deadly virus which only affects pregnant women. It would seem that the book is  somewhat of a surprise but popular winner.

Females and Folk in Musical Books

Under the Ivy There's some lovely stuff in our new stock, I came across these gems.

I'll start with Under the Ivy: The story of Kate Bush. Kate Bush.... need I say more? No, but I will remind you that she was the first female artist ever to have a UK number one with a self penned song at the age of nineteen. This book is a series of interviews with people who worked closely with her throughout her career. To quote the Mojo Magazine (which is held in the Music Library) it's a "compelling examination of her music". Get your boxfresh copy now.

Of James and John

Mural in Cannery Row - the only remains of the fish canneries today

As Dublin: One City, One Book 2012 draws to a close and we come to the end of 'Dubliners', I am thinking back to last month when I was in California and stopped in Monterey at Cannery Row. This is the background of one of my favourite authors, John Steinbeck, and set me thinking about these writers and where they come from.

James Joyce and John Steinbeck - both world renowned writers, both part of the very fabric of their home place, and both the authors of seriously weighty, literary novels.

Steinbeck had his first success with a lighter work, 'Tortilla Flat', a series of humorous stories about the paisanos who lived around the fish canneries of Monterey just after WW1.

Right: Mural in Cannery Row - the only remains of the fish canneries today.

The International John McGahern Seminar

John McGahernLast year the Digital Projects Section of Dublin City Public Libraries engaged in a fruitful collaboration with the International John McGahern Seminar and The John McGahern Yearbook, Vol. 4 received widespread acclaim in the  National Media. We are only too happy to draw attention to this year's event which takes place in Carrick-on-Shannon on 24-26th May. John McGahern is recognised as one of the finest Irish writers and his work is indelibly linked to his home county. The John McGahern Seminar is one of the literary highlights of the summer and hopefully Pop Zeus will see some of ye there.

Shopping for books in Dublin: 1782

Rocque's Map of Dublin 1756

Of all the wonderful shops in the city I love the bookshops best. In the past they congregated in Skinner Row, but now, since the mid 1770s, they have more visible presences on Dame Street and in the little courts off it. I love the way they display their new publications outside the front door or pinned to the door post. You can smell the fresh ink and feel the lovely texture of the new paper. I love the leisurely atmosphere as readers slowly work their way around the shop examining all the exciting new books and pamphlets.

Fiction and Fact (?????) for Musical Books.

Hello again,

this Month in Musical Books I have picked a great piece of fiction by Irish writer Claire Kilroy titled 'Tenderwire'.

tenderwireThe narrator, Eve Tyne is an Irish solo violinist who's life is turned upside down when she acquires a rare del Guso violin and is possessed by its sound and beauty.

The acquisition transforms her career and is almost symbolic of her private life which is spiralling out of control. This is a really well written fast paced read with some clever unexpected twists. Check it out.

LifeThe other one I've chosen is 'Life' by Keith Richards.

I was ill over Christmas and confined to bed so the size of this volume didn't put me off. Also I could not drink and the hardest thing I was consuming was lemsip so at least I could celebrate the festive season by proxy of Keith Richard's hell raising. 

Walking Talking Books

The Help'Let me tell you a story'...who can resist that invitation? With longer evenings and warmer weather I have no more excuses for postponing my 'fitness programme'. So out come my walking books and I am out the door with my favourite walking companion - an audiobook.

No more boredom, no more pedometer watching, no more short cuts. I can even go the extra mile and still look forward to the next walk. And the high moral ground is luxurious - exercise of body and soul!

The Fiscal Compact Treaty

EuroEuropean UnionOn May 31st, you will be asked to vote in a referendum to decide if Ireland is to ratify the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union/TSCG, otherwise known as the Fiscal Compact Treaty or the Stability Treaty. But, if polls are to be trusted, many people  are somewhat at sea when it comes to the treaty, knowing what it is about, what a 'yes' or 'no' vote might mean, and consequently unsure as to how they themselves will vote.

So, to get you started on the path to understanding, let us point you to a few online resources that might help get you to where you need to be come polling day!

Ladies' Fashion at The Turn Of The 20th Century

Fancy Ball Costumes.

A vital aspect of fashion is its relationship to society at large. In recent years this has become considerably more complex. Everyday life is influenced by what people do, what they say, and more importantly what they wear. The clothes we are seen in say a great deal about ourselves than many may realize, and that in fact we are presenting a statement to the world. Without uttering a sound we are giving out clues about our social background, economic status, general likes and dislikes, and moreover how we view ourselves. Fashion is tied to society in more than one way: it is produced out of economic, political, and technological conditions as well as shaped by the social and cultural aspects that surround us in everyday life.