books & reading

Stranger than Fiction: Our favourite non-fiction books of 2014

Bookcover: Hidden City by Karl WhitneyWe read a lot here in Dublin City Public Libraries and it's not just fiction that takes our fancy. There is so much to learn and discover when you open the covers of our favourite non-fiction reads. And when it comes to non-fiction, the varied interests of Dublin City Public Libraries' staff really become apparent! Here are our top non-fiction reads of 2014:

Two books about Dublin caught our eye this year:

Hidden City: Adventures and Explorations in Dublin by Foot, Bike, Bus, Train and Tram: In the Sewers and Underground Rivers; Along the Edges and Behind the Hoardings by Karl Whitney.
"Beautifully written book that takes you off the beaten track to journey through some of the secrets of our capital city. Just the right mix of scholarship and adventure"
Gill<--break->

Our Favourite Fiction of the Year

bookcover: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard FlanaganObviously one of the major perks of working in a library is you have access to thousands of fantastic books everyday. And in Dublin City Public Libraries we really do love our books! Here are just a few goodies from our shelves that we enjoyed reading this year and would like to recommend to you.

Watch this space in January for more book recommendations when it will be the turn of the book lovers who attend one of our many book clubs.

Winning the Man Booker Prize seems a sure fire way of catapulting a book into the most borrowed list. The winner of the Man Booker Prize this year The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan is no different and is highly sought after.

First Ever Young Adult Book Prize Shortlist Announced

YA Book Prize 2015It's so nice to see books written specifically for young adults getting due acknowledgement. Here, in the inaugural Bookseller YA Book Prize, ten such titles by ten different authors have been so acknowledged by their inclusion on the shortlist, with the winner to be announced on the 19th March 2015.

The ten shortlisted titles (with links to the library catalogue where we have them) are:

Goose – Dawn O'Porter (Hot Key Books)
Salvage – Keren David (Atom/Little,Brown)
Only Ever Yours – Louise O'Neill (Quercus)
Ghosts of Heaven – Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)
Trouble – Non Pratt (Walker)
Lobsters – Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen (Chicken House)
Finding a Voice – Kim Hood (O'Brien Press)
Say Her Name - James Dawson (Hot Key Books)
A Song for Ella Grey - David Almond (Hodder Children's Books)
Half Bad – Sally Green (Penguin)

Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Winners

Bookcover: Dubliners 100The winners of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards were announced last night, 26 November.

Irish poet Paul Durcan was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 by Paula Meehan, Ireland Professor of Poetry, and bestselling author Jeffrey Archer was presented with the inaugural International Recognition Award by broadcaster George Hook.

All winning books are available to borrow in our libraries.

Five Irish authors on Longlist for 2015 International IMPAC Dublin

2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award LonglistThe Longlist for the 2015 International IMPAC Literary award has been announced at Dublin City Library and Archive today, Monday, 24th November. The 142 books on the longlist were nominated by libraries in 114 cities and 39 countries worldwide. 49 titles on the longlist are books in translation, spanning 16 languages and 29 are first novels. In this, the 20th year of the award we are delighted that five Irish books have made the longlist.

The five Irish titles nominated are:

Danger is everywhere in Dublin this spring!

Bookcover: Danger is Everywhere by David O'DohertyHave you ever wondered is your teacher a vampire or is your pet cat in fact a dangerous tiger? This spring we are inviting boys and girls in Dublin to become qualified ‘dangerologists’ by reading Danger is Everywhere by David O’Doherty as part of our Citywide Reading Campaign for Children. This fun book, which is similar in style to the Wimpy Kid books, points out the dangers of everyday objects from your schoolbag and pet cat to the dangers of having a party or brushing your teeth.

This book has great illustrations by Chris Judge and will appeal to both girls and boys of mixed reading abilities. There will be author and illustrator visits to public libraries as well as city-centre based events to promote this campaign. The final event of the campaign will take place as part of the St. Patrick’s Festival. More details will be available over the coming months.

The Most Borrowed Books in 2014

Irish Times Survey photoThe Irish Times today (Mon, 17th Nov) published a story - "Survey reveals the most borrowed library books in Ireland" - listing,as the title states, the most borrowed books in Irish public libraries in the year to date. Dublin City Public Libraries contributed to the survey of course, and for your delectation we reproduce below some of the data we furnished. Topping the fiction list in Dublin City is the winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 'The Sound of Things Falling' by Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez. Interesting to note also that the list is dominated by titles on the Award shortlist. The most popular non-fiction title has been the book selected for last April's Dublin: One City, One Book reading initiative, 'If Ever You Go: a Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song'.

The top children's title, 'The Powers: the Not-So-Super Superheroes' by Kevin Stevens, in fact topped the overall list here in Dublin City, while the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series has proven to be the best read series by some distance. As if to demonstrate the 'power' of library reading initiatives, 'The Powers' was the 2014 Citywide Read for Children choice. 

(titles links below are to the library catalogue)

The Cream of the Milk: reading by poet Pauline Hall

The Cream of the Milk is a broadsheet which celebrates thirteen Irishwomen from Irish history and mythology, some of them fair, none of them middling. It is published in a limited edition of 250 with original clerihews (short humorous poems) by Pauline Hall, embellished with full colour illustrations by Alan Nolan, and biographical notes.

Watch a video of Pauline reading from The Cream of the Milk at Pearse Street Library, with accompanying illustrations by Alan Nolan, on 17th September 2014.

Crime Fiction of a Truly International Flavour

Crime sceneMy crime fiction reads have taken me to many lands and long may that continue. In my previous blog post I visited Italy, Iceland, Sweden, South Africa and Botswana. In this latest compilation of crime reads I revisit Italy and South Africa, while also venturing to the USA, Sweden, Norway and France.

IreneStarting with France and moving in a clockwise-direction, we first encounter Pierre Lemaitre, whose book 'Alex' I have covered previously and thought very highly of. Now it is time to mention 'Irene' 4.5 stars, the prequel to 'Alex', yet which followed it in translation. But reading 'Alex' first, as I did, can prove a bit unfortunate for obvious reasons, so I do recommend you stick to the proper order if you haven't yet read either. And read you must, for I can't recommend this author highly enough. He writes so well, and he is excellent on plot, characterization, atmosphere and tension building. But there is a word of caution: his portrayal of violence is not for the meek, and may put off some. So while you would be forgiven for moving quickly on at some points, you should not let it detract from your pursuit of otherwise top quality crime writing, which both 'Alex' and 'Irene' are. It would be good to know though that an author of Lemaitre's obvious talent could produce just as capable a work without the need for such graphic depictions of violence.

Contemplating our past

History scrollThe Dublin Festival of History has just come to a close, after a very successful run. It covered a huge variety of topics, ranging from the Battle of Clontarf to the Spanish Civil War, and hopefully the festival will have whetted your appetite for more exploration of our past. Public libraries offer plenty to read on all of the subjects covered in the festival, and plenty of other historical topics besides.

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