books & reading

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

Visit the library and enjoy the experience

Magazines – What are held here?

Irish Garden Magazine cover

The Business Information Centre has in excess of 160 magazine titles in print, including some of the newest and most topical editions – fancy browsing through TIME magazine or Business and Finance to find the latest current affair issues or something more local such as tending and nurturing your garden with The Irish Garden.

This collection includes a wide variety of subjects encompassing both business and general reference material. Are you interested in any of these topics?

accountancy, agriculture, arts, banking, building, business, education, employment, EU, finance, franchising, health, law, marketing, management, tourism, and training and gardening, angling, auto and wildlife many many more besides…

Dublin: a City Made of Stories?

Pictured left-right: Nessa O'Mahony, Ellen Rowley, Garett Fagan, Kelly Fitzgerald and Niamh PuirséilWhat do we think of when we think of Dublin?

How has the history and physical shape of the city influenced its poems, songs and stories? How do poems, songs, stories, history and the built environment create our sense of Dublin as a city? Join Garrett Fagan, for a lively panel discussion on what makes Dublin the city that it is.

Pictured left-right: Nessa O'Mahony, Ellen Rowley, Garrett Fagan, Kelly Fitzgerald and Niamh Puirséil

Listen to a recording of ‘Dublin: a City Made of Stories?’ Poets, folklorists, historians and city geographers discuss how poems, songs, stories, history and the physical space create our sense of Dublin as a city. This event was organised by Garrett Fagan, and was held in the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street on Saturday, 12 April as part of Dublin: One City, One Book 2014.

If ever you go - Katherine Tynan 'Sheep and lambs'

Sheep and lambs by Katharine Tynan'Sheep and lambs', this charming poem always cheers me up because spring is my favourite time of year, and Easter is my favourite festival, and when I read this poem, or hear it being sung or recited, it brings to my mind a time of beauty, hope and renewal.

It also transports me back to a sunlit classroom, the day before I was to go home for my Easter holidays, when one of my teachers read this poem to the class. It was the first time I had ever heard it and so, for me, it will always be associated with thoughts of home, family and childhood Easters.

If ever you go - Dublinesque by Philip Larkin

Postcard of O'Connell Street DublinIn the early 1950s (1950-1955) the English poet Philip Larkin lived in Belfast, where he was working as Librarian in Queen’s University. While there he made a number of visits to Dublin.

During this time he wrote many of the poems which made up his first major collection The Less Deceived (1955). The proposed collection was rejected by several English publishers, leading Larkin to submit it to the Dublin based Dolmen Press in 1954. But they also declined to publish it. Despite this rejection and a generally negative view of Dublin, expressed on a number of occasions to friends (“I prefer Belfast to Dublin - not architecturally of course, but architecture isn’t everything.” Selected Letters of Philip Larkin, P182), he retained enough memories of the place to evoke it in a later poem ‘Dublinesque’.

If ever you go - Grafton Street 1772

Rocque's Map of 1765, showing Grafton StreetSamuel Whyte founded the English Grammar School at 75 Grafton Street in 1758 and he became one of the most influential teachers of 18th-century Dublin. His plan of education was inclusive: he aimed to give the best education to both boys and girls, Catholics and Protestants. Related by marriage to Thomas Sheridan, poet and theatre manager, Whyte benefited from Sheridan’s patronage and his network of friends when he first set up his academy. Whyte put special emphasis on poetry and public speaking, his students were required to perform in a play as part of their annual examinations. His success can be measured in the careers of his students, he was the teacher of Thomas Moore, the poet, John O’Keeffe, the actor and dramatist, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the dramatist, and Robert Emmet, the patriot, renowned for the eloquence of his speech from the dock.

If Ever You Go...to Louis MacNeice's Dublin

Book cover: Collected Poems by Louis MacNeiceI was delighted to discover that this year's One City, One Book, If Ever You Go, A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song, includes one of my favourite poems, entitled Dublin by Louis MacNeice. This poem may seem like an odd choice, as MacNeice paints a picture of a city in decline, however, Dublin at this time, with 'her seedy elegance', (p. 8) holds a great fascination for me.

Anyone with an interest in genealogy, who has used census returns or street directories such as Thoms, will immediately recognise MacNeice’s Dublin. His description of a Dublin tenement with its,

…bare bones of a fanlight,
over a hungry door
. (p. 7)

Feedback