books & reading

Celebrating 75 years of Finnegans Wake

Shannon Colleens May 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of the publication of Finnegans Wake.  To celebrate Dublin City Public Libraries hosted the wonderful Sinead Murphy and Darina Gallagher performing Here's Comes Everybody! a musical journey through Finnegans Wake.  

This performance explores the musical pulse at the heart of Finnegans Wake. The irreverence and subversion of Joyce's comic masterpiece is evoked through parlour song, music hall, nursery rhyme, folk song, street ballads, sea shanties, hymns, carols and the American songbook. James Joyce filled his work with music and in Finnegans Wake there are almost 1,000 song references and allusions. These songs create the dreamlike transformations of the Porter- Earwicker family and express the ambience and cadences peculiar to the city of Dublin.

D-Day, 70th Anniversary

D-Day. Into the Jaws of Death70 years ago today the Allied forces landed on the Normandy beaches, thus beginning the Allied invasion of German-occupied Western Europe (Operation Overlord). The Normandy landings on D-Day, codenamed Operation Neptune, involved the largest seaborne invasion in history. A myriad of books have been written about the war, the events of June and afterwards, and a myriad of documentaries and films have appeared on our TV screens ever since.

Utah, Gold, Omaha, Juno, Sword - the names of the Normandy beaches where thousands of landing craft poured ashore. Over 160,000 soldiers crossed the English Channel on D-Day, and many soldiers lost their lives before they even left their landing point. Then too there was the airborne assault, with thousands of planes involved, soldiers landing behind enemy lines in order to secure bridges and other strategic points.

International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award: Have you picked your winner?

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner will be announced next Thursday, 12 June. Have you had the chance to read many of the books on the shortlist? And if so, have you picked your winner yet? Kay Sheehy has been reviewing the shortlist on RTÉ Radio 1's Arena and you can listen back on Arena's Books podcasts.

Books shortlisted for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Rathmines' Literary Heritage: A Sense of Place

Rathmines can boast a rich literary heritage having played host to many leading literary figures including James Joyce, William Carleton, George Russell and Paul Durcan. "A Sense of Place", a literary evening held at Rathmines Library, honoured the rich literary life of the area. Local writers Evelyn Conlon, Adrian Kenny, Siobhán Parkinson and Fintan Vallely read selected pieces of their work and discussed the locality and how it may have influenced their writing. The evening was chaired by Niall MacMonagle and also featured Fintan Vallely playing a jig called "The Barley Grain" on the flute.

Rathmines literary wall

Literary wall at Rathmines Library celebrating the literary heritage of Rathmines and beyond

This event took place on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 at 6.30pm, at Rathmines Library and was part of the programme celebrating Rathmines Library 1913 - 2013 100 Years at the Heart of the Community.

What's in a Title?

p>Mercy aka The Keeper of Lost CausesThe Keeper of Lost Causes aka MercyWhat's in a title, you may ask? Well, clarity you hope, but might I suggest instead, confusion and sometimes too time wasted. Whatever am I talking about, you might wonder. Let me ask - how often have you went looking for a book, only to discover that the title you seek is not the title that resides on the library bookshelf or the bookseller's for that matter? How often have you started to read a book only to soon get a feeling you've read it before? What I am getting at is the confusion that can abound because of the habit of publishers of releasing the same book under different titles. Sometimes it's a case that titles differ depending on the market (e.g. UK v US) but also too the title can change in the same market with the release of a new or paperback edition. And if that isn't confusing enough, book covers change too!

A case in point is a favourite author of mine, Denmark's Jussi Adler-Olsen, writer of the Department Q crime series, which to date consists of five titles in Danish, four of which have so far been translated into English and all of which have different UK and US titles:

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson - a review

Review by Pembroke Library Reading Group

Bookcover: Crow Lake by Mary Lawson is set in Canada – the narrator has grown up in remote rural East Ontario, and has studied in Toronto, where she is now a lecturer.

The story looks at how four children cope in the year after the sudden death of their parents. The oldest, Luke, 19, has given up teacher training to bring up his sisters, aged 7 and 1½.  At the end of the year Matt, 18, has secured a scholarship, but has to take responsibility for the pregnancy of Marie Pye, the orphaned girl next door, and exchanges an academic career for fatherhood and running a farm.

The narrator, Kate, is 7 at the time of their parents’ death and very attached to Matt. Members of their community step in to help and the boys work for Mr. Pye next door after school. The Pyes have a multi-generational dysfunctional history of fathers bullying their children. Tragic circumstances bring Matt and Marie Pye together.

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark - a review

Bookcover: Memento Mori by Muriel SparkReview by Bookends Reading Group, Cabra Library

Gerry, the Librarian who (very ably) looks after our Reading Group, suggested we read Memento Mori for this Bealtaine Books review submission on the basis that we might enjoy it as it is a funny book.  We almost all did find it funny to varying degrees although, interestingly, Gerry himself didn’t enjoy it.  In summary the book is about a group of interconnected old people who start to receive phone calls reminding them that they must die from an unidentified caller who sounds different to each hearer.

Patricia loved the title and cover, but due to other commitments didn’t get time to read it as well as the other two books we read that month.  Grace was not mad about it but Noreen described it as a little gem.  Marian found it very funny and particularly loved the geriatrician character.  Ada said she got a great laugh from the book and loved all the characters.  Sheila enjoyed all the characters as they were well-drawn and had great back stories but considered the ending did not do justice to the book and not because there was no unveiling of the phone caller but more because it just petered out.  Ada also did not like the ending.  Noreen made the point that although the book deals with serious issues like getting old and the quality of health services and could have been morbid, it certainly wasn’t. 

One Family Day at Iveagh Gardens– Sunday 18th May

Dublin City Public Libraries were joined by No Strings Theatre Company and storyteller Daria Walsh in promoting books and reading in the Library Tent in Iveagh Gardens on Sunday, 18th May. The Libraries' presence in the Iveagh Gardens formed part of the One Family’s Annual Family Day Festival.

View the following photo slideshow of some of the activities that took place in the Libraries' tent.
 

African Writing: Celebrating Africa through Story

Africa Day, the day designated to celebrate African Unity is on 25th May this year. Events are taking place throughout Ireland from 19th – 25th May. The highlight being Africa Day Dublin, a fun-filled family festival celebrating African culture in Farmleigh, Phoenix Park.

Why not celebrate Africa Day with a good book? We have selected a few books here to help you celebrate Africa through story.

Book cover Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Book cover: Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela Book cover: The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna  Book cover: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Japan donate translated Japanese books to Central Library

Ms Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian with Deputy Head of Mission Mr Kojiro Uchiyama. Photo: Embassy of Japan in IrelandOn 8 May 2014, 12 works of Japanese literature donated by the Japanese Literature Publishing Project (JLPP) to the Central Library of Dublin in March 2014, were made available for the public to borrow.

This donation was initiated by the JLPP, which was founded to promote modern Japanese literature to the world. Under this programme, overseen by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, works of Japanese literature published over the past 150 years are selected by a committee of literary professionals, translated into various languages, and published overseas.

Photo: Ms Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian with Deputy Head of Mission Mr Kojiro Uchiyama. Photo: Embassy of Japan in Ireland

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