reviews

Lost in the Stacks/Short Stories2

logoWelcome to the thirteenth entry of our blog series 'Lost in the Stacks' - with recommendations by Dublin City Libraries staff. This one was submitted by Brian from the Relief Panel/Home Delivery Service for Cocooners. In his introduction to Donald Barthelme’s ˈSixty Storiesˈ, David Gates reports that Barthelme once described the typical short story as being ‘constructed mousetrap-like to supply, at the finish, a tiny insight typically having to do with innocence violated’.

Newly added Bestselling authors

logoIn the strictest academic terms, a romance is a narrative genre in literature that involves a mysterious, adventurous, or spiritual story line where the focus is on a quest that involves bravery and strong values, not always a love interest. Here’s the thing: sometimes, you just want to read a good love story. Or at least, something with a few dramatic swoons. But a romance novel, per se? Nothing so gaudy or slapdash for you! You need real literature. Well, here’s the answer: a selection of romantic books that will rev your motor (emotional or otherwise) but don’t fall into that taboo category of cheap paper and cheaper storylines.

Graphic Novel recommendations

logoRBdigital Comics makes some of the the best comic titles from major brands and independent publishers available for free to Dublin Library patrons, with something for all ages and tastes. Graphic novels are much longer and tend to be much more complex. While a comic book will tell a story over many issues, graphic novels more often have their storylines wrapped up in only one or two books. This blog is brought to you by our colleague, Kevin, in Kevin Street Library. 

On Borrowbox: If Walls Could Talk by Lucy Worsley

coverLiz Buckley here reviews If Walls Could Talk; An Intimate History of the Home by Lucy Worsley, available as an eBook from Borrowbox. If on loan, you can reserve a copy.

I read this book at the start of the Corona virus pandemic in Ireland. I was really fascinated to learn of the dire consequences that ignorance, myth and misinformation had on world health down through the ages. Poor sanitation in the home and at local level was behind several pandemics throughout history and the spread of germs from person to person or animal to person is an ongoing battle and often misunderstood.

Book Review: Americanah

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieI picked up a copy of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie after I saw it on the shortlist for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2014. I had been lacking cultural diversity in my literary diet, and thought after reading the premise of the novel that it might provide the perfect dose for my deficiency. 

The novel takes place in Lagos, Nigeria, and as the author herself is also Nigerian, the book holds a certain familiarity that is unmistakable when a writer is crafting a tale about their own place of origin. Before opening its pages, I had an embarrassing, chasmic lack of knowledge about anything Nigerian. After 477 pages however, the novel has given me 100x the information that I knew before regarding Nigeria and its people, as well as a keen interest in learning more. 

And now, onto the story itself. A quick summary...

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.

Thicke'ing' all the right boxes but leaving 5 Marooned

Music CDThis Post was submitted by Guest Blogger Amy Connolly.

I saw Maroon 5 perform in the o2 in late January of this year. I had waited a long time to see them as they were initially supposed to be in Dublin June 2013, but postponed their dates by nearly half a year! As their new date did approach I was pleased to see that Robin Thicke was their support act! In fact, I think, as the date got closer, I was more looking forward to Robin Thicke than Maroon 5.

Blurred LinesRobin Thicke's performance on the night was fantastic. Everyone there seemed to enjoy it. He made use of every inch of the stage strutting his stuff. His songs were fun and light with bags of swagger. I would definitely get a ticket to see him again. If you would like to hear his album 'Blurred Lines' check out the deluxe edition available at the Music Library. His performance of his chart-topping hit 'Blurred Lines' on the night was fantastic. It was bouncy, fun and had everyone moving to the beat. Thicke is an all round entertainer; he can sing, he can dance and most importantly he can draw every single member of his audience in to enjoying every moment he’s on stage.

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. 

A 'Killer' Show: Live in Dublin

Day and Age by the KillersThis Post was submitted by our Guest Blogger, Amy Connolly.

A 'Killer' Show: Live at the o2 Arena and Phoenix Park Dublin

The Killers released their new album 'Direct Hits', a best of collection recently. Their previous album 'Battle Born' hit the shelves in late 2012 and gave me the opportunity to see them play live not once but twice during 2013! It was very interesting seeing them perform in two very different venues. They are equally amazing to listen to in the enclosed environs of the o2 arena and the outdoor setting of the Phoenix Park in July. Both venues providing great sound quality and listening experiences for fans. My boyfriend and myself attended their sell-out show in the o2 in February, the tickets were a gift for my boyfriend’s birthday, and he had a fantastic night, particularly listening to his all time favourite song 'Mr. Brightside'. The rock band’s show was energetic and called for lots of dancing throughout the night.

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