books & reading

A Band of Authors, musical writers and literary musicians

Atomised There is a band you have probably never heard of called The Rock Bottom Remainders. However you will probably know a few of the members pretty well. Stephen King, Amy Tan and Mitch Albom to name a few. They got their name from a publishing term "remainders" which is left over stock of titles which are sold off at discount prices. All proceeds from their gigs and recordings go to charity. Another novelist who has turned the pen to music is Michel Houellebecq. His novel 'Atomised' won the International IMPAC Dublin literary Award in 2002. He released a single called Le Film Du Dimanche (The Sunday Film). It has been likened to Gainsbourg and Jack Brel, a huge compliment!

'A Monster Calls' - double award winning book that everyone should read.

It's being billed as 'an historic moment in children's literature', as Patrick Ness wins the CILIP Carnegie Medal for his novel 'A Monster Calls' (Walker Books). Patrick also won last year for 'Monsters of Men' the third book in his 'Chaos Walking' trilogy (a feat only achieved once before by Peter Dickinson in 1979/80). Uniquely, 'A Monster Calls' has also been awarded the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration - the prize going to Jim Kay for his haunting illustrations that perfectly match the mood and subject of the novel.

Book Cover and Author Photograph L.- R. Patrick Ness & Jim Kay  book cover and illustrator photograph

As a huge fan of this book myself, I set my Book Club to reading it some months ago. They are an open-minded group and accepted my recommendation of this 'children's book' with good grace. Any expectations they had harboured of an 'easy read' were soon abandoned as they became engrossed in this challenging and emotionally mature exploration of grief, bereavement, fear and the consolations of family relationships that are 'good enough'. The overall verdict from our Book Club? - 'Everyone should read this book.' Seems like the CILIP judging panel agreed.

111 Writers, 28 Hours, One Venue!!!

Irish Writers’ Centre: Read For The World: Breaking a Guinness World Record

This weekend Ireland will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for ‘Most Authors Reading Consecutively From Their Own Books’. The title record of 75 is currently held by the Berlin International Literature Festival. This weekend 111 Writers will read for 28 Hours in one venue.

Kick off is at 10am in the Writers' Centre on Parnell Square this Friday the 15th of June and slots of 15 minutes each will run for 28 hours, all through the night, finishing at 2pm on Bloomsday.

Left-Handedness

The Puzzle of Left-handedness by Rik SmitsI grew up in a household where half of us were left-handed, one was ambidextrous (my dad) and the last two were right-handed, even given this my left-handed little brother came home from school frustrated and nearly in tears, he couldn't do his letters, it was so hard.  When my mum (left-handed) saw that his teacher hadn't considered getting him to use his left hand she saw red.  He was shown how to use his pencil in his left hand and everything went fine for him after that (there was a phone call to the teacher as well). This was in the 80s by the way.

Recently I read a book called The Puzzle of Left-handedness by Rik Smits which talks about the anomaly that is left-handedness, something that about 10% of the world's population is, something that has been (and is still in some cultures) suppressed and discouraged, in fact some countries deny the existence of left-handedness in their population, and social mores link left-handedness with uncleanliness.  Rik is left-handed himself and offers little solutions but he writes this noting the differences.  It's an interesting book with interesting insights into how this minor marker can set people apart.

Feeling lucky? WIN HERE....

FEELING LUCKY? Win here…

Win all TEN shortlisted books of the 2012 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award!!!

To celebrate the 2012 winner announcement on June 13 we are giving away 10 full sets of the shortlisted titles.

DUBLIN WRITERS FESTIVAL

Dublin_Writers_Festival

This week the Dublin Writer's Festival is taking place from June 4th - 10th.

There's a taste of everything from philosophy and fiction to poetry, music, film,discussions and workshops. Writers from home and abroad take part in the events. There are some interesting readings and creative writing workshops for children also. It is well worth having a look!  

Smock Alley Theatre 1775

Smock AlleyI love the theatre, I’m fascinated by the spectacle, the costumes, the music, and of course people watching. The heavy smell and flickering images of the wax candles create an atmosphere like no other: combining the formality of church with the excitement and anticipation of the performance to come. All the gentry turn up in their carriages, especially on benefit nights. When it gets really busy the drivers are only allowed to drive the carriages in one direction along the street, they drop their passengers at the door and keep moving.

Modern Mexico's Greatest Novelist, Carlos Fuentes

The Crystal FrontierCarlos Fuentes (November 11, 1928 – May 15, 2012), Mexico's famed novelist and prolific writer, died on the 15th May aged 83 years. He is regarded by many as the father of modern Latin American literature. Aside from his career as a novelist, Fuentes was an essayist and commentator on matters political and cultural, a playwright and screenwriter and an ambassador for his country. Born in Panama (his father was also a diplomat), he spent much of the latter half of his life living in either Europe or the United States, and was fluent in English from an early age. He was the winner of numerous literary prizes, most notably the Cervantes Prize in 1987, the most prestigious Spanish-language literary award.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Cicero

Outdoor Living

I'm staying optimistic that Summer will arrive and we can look forward to long sunny evenings. So while we all come down from the land of soggy books, dripping umbrellas and cloudy skies we can start to get in the mood and think about the outdoor living that lies ahead of us. You can prepare now by checking out the many titles in the library that will inspire you to tidy up and prepare the garden so you’ll be ready to sit back after a long day and relax when the sun does come out.

Here are some titles to get you in the mood! 

Dublin Bookbinding Styles

Ornate bookcoverWhat design features come to mind when we think of 18th-century Dublin? Terraces and squares of classical houses with individual fanlights over each hall door, ornate plasterwork ceilings created by Italian stucco workers, elaborately chased Dublin silverware? Certainly, but perhaps not so well known is one of the quintessential and recognizably “Dublin” elements of design, which can be seen in the fine bookbindings carried out by master craftsmen throughout the century.

Utilitarian sheep and calf bindings were surpassed as the century progressed and gilt ornamentation was given free rein. Fine morocco or goatskin was used in rich deep colours of dark red, crimson, green and sometimes, but more rarely, blue, often with cream leather inlays. However, it was the variety and sophistication of the gold tooling that was characteristic of the finest bindings.

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