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Haruki Murakami's "1Q84": Book Review

1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiI downloaded Haruki Murakami's 1Q84: The Complete Trilogy on my Kindle just before leaving my home in Iowa, U.S.A. to come here to Dublin for my study abroad semester. I began reading almost as soon as the plane took off, and I immediately fell in love with Murakami's style of writing. I had never before read anything that could be compared to Murakami's prose.

Murakami draws you in with his extraordinary descriptions and images of completely ordinary things. The words he uses are almost clinical, but the way in which he pulls them together paints a picture more vivid than a photograph, and certainly more lyrical. The physical descriptions of his characters, such as Aomame and Tengo, jump off the page so well that they almost seem three-dimensional. I couldn't help but see Murakami's cast before me as I worked my way through the lengthy novel.

Add a Little Romance to Your Bookshelf This Valentine's Day

Essays in Love by Alain de ButtonWith Valentine's Day fast approaching this Saturday, a lot of people have love on their minds. If the sight of cards professing undying devotion, red and pink, and candy hearts are not enough to satisfy your thirst for romance this holiday, consider picking up a romance novel this year from your local Dublin City Library. 

Here are just a few of the titles that you might just end up professing your undying love for once you've finished reading it. Take a look to find a wide variety of romances for any sort of taste. 

Stop Motion Animation in Dublin City Libraries

Lego man

On Wednesday, 19 November and Wednesday, 26 November from 3.30pm – 5.00pm  at Coolock Library artist Aoife Giles taught two workshops for children ages 7 to 11 about how to create stop motion animation videos. 

From flying books to mini Lego explorers, dancing chairs to animating favourite poems or phrases, this workshop gave children the opportunity to bring their library to life. 

Folio Prize Announces Shortlist

Tenth of December by George SaundersOn Monday, 9 February the Folio Prize Chair of Judges William Fiennes, on behalf of the Folio Society, announced the much anticipated shortlist for this year's Folio Prize at the British Library. The prize recognises the best of English language-fiction from all across the globe, no matter the form, genre, or the author's country of origin. 

The Folio Society is a highly regarded publisher of beautiful editions of some of the world's greatest books, and their panel of judges took many months to deliberate on which books they should select.

This year's shortlist includes a rich spread of international voices, as well as both familiar prizewinners and newcomers. Each of the following selected pieces bolsters the role of storytelling as a way of helping us to make sense of the surrounding world.  

Safer Internet Day 2015

Today, Tuesday, 10 February, is Safer Internet Day (SID).  Safer Internet Day is organised by Insafe every year in February to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world. The theme for this year's campaign is the same as last year because of the success of this campaign: "Let’s create a better internet together," and the hashtags are #SID2015 and #Up2Us.

Watch Your Space, Insafe's site created specifically for teens, supports post-primary students as they do something to address the issue of cyber bullying in their local communities for Safer Internet Day.

Harper Lee and Other So-Called "One Hit Wonders"

To Kill a Mockingbird CoverThe recent announcement from Harper Lee that she will be releasing a second novel, a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), was met with a flurry of both excitement from both the press and public. Lee wrote this novel, Go Set a Watchman, prior to writing To Kill a Mockingbird. The book will feature an adult Scout, who has returned to her childhood home of Maycomb to visit her father, Atticus. A print run of two million copies will be released in July of 2015. 

Harper Lee is one of a collection of writers known as so-called "One Hit Wonders," meaning that only one of her novels became a major renowned success. Lee fits this description especially well, as To Kill a Mockingbird was her only published novel, but it won a Pulitzer Prize. Below is a list of other writers, of which you may only know one of their works!

Dermot Healy a new found Treasure.

 Dermot HealyThe first I heard of Dermot Healy was in June 2014. A friend of mine was asked to read through poems to be considered for selection in the Dermot Healy International Poetry Competition. The next day, it was reported on the national news that he had passed away. It had been remarked by another one of my of friends that his work never got the recognition and success it deserved, that he was a much more “interesting” writer than his peers. Interesting can sometimes mean, “you’re not going to understand this…. You thickie!”. I began reading Long Time, No See. Immediately, I got a jolt: the words on the page were formatted like poetry and none of the dialogue was in inverted commas.  I was reluctant to continue as my eyes and brain were in for a different exercise regime. However, my desire to be a know-it-all won through and I’m so glad I persevered.  This is one of the best books I have ever read. Set in an Irish coastal rural community,it starts slowly with a young man visiting his grand uncle.

Searching for Faces of the Past

Man taking part in 1961 Clean the Beach ActI am a student at Trinity College Dublin pursuing my Master’s degree in Public History and Cultural Heritage. I am currently working on a project which will bring both the past and present into focus. It will revitalize photographs of the past and place them into terms of modernity. The attached three images are of people I would like to learn more about and if possible, speak with in order to learn more about their lives, their personal history and memory, and the circumstances of when the photographs were taken. This project will eventually become part of an online image gallery and perhaps a newspaper article. 

Left: The photo was taken in 1961 as a part of Clean the Beach Act. (click to enlarge)

Meet Anne Enright: First Laureate for Irish Fiction

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne EnrightOn Thursday, 29 January, author Anne Enright was named the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction. The honour was presented at a ceremony at the Arts Council by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. 

As the Laureate, Enright will have a three-year term, during which she will teach creative writing  for one semester at University College Dublin and one at New York University, as well as participating in numerous public talks and appearances. In addition, as Laureate she will deliver an annual lecture which will be broadcasted, published, or both. These duties will be bestowed on the future Laureates as well.

The objective of the Laureate will be to encourage a stronger interaction with Irish literature, and the intention of these obligations and appearance is to bring the Laureate more into the public sphere. Each Laureate will also receive €150,000 for their three-year term.

Gilbert Lecture - Pictures

Kevin WhelanThe 18th annual Sir John T. Gilbert Commemorative Lecture, 'Dublin as a global city: through time and space' was given by Kevin Whelan, Director, Keough-Naughton Institute, Notre Dame Centre in Dublin at the Dublin City Library & Archive on Thursday 22 January at 6pm.

A slideshow of photographs from the event is posted below.

 

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