reviews

Home Cinema at your Local Library

VertigoIf you enjoy film and want to stay in touch with the coolest flicks of all time then your local library is the place to go.

Last years Sight and Sound top ten films of all times featured Hitchcock's Vertigo as number one.

This was the first time that Orson Welles's Citizen Kane was knocked from top notch where it reigned from 1962 to 2002 to second place .

This list is compiled every decade by top film critics from around the world. We are proud to say that Dublin City Public Libraries have six of the best top ten in stock with the other four on order.

Where Were You?

Where were you A very important and fascinating book was published this year, "Where Were You? Dublin Youth Culture & Street Style 1950-2000" by Garry O'Neil and Niall McCormack.

The book is a compilation of photographs documenting social and fashion scenes in Dublin. What sets this book apart is that there are no staged fashion shoots or celebrities, just amazing photographs of everyday people wearing what was in style and ordinary people with extraordinary style.

It's a very intimate account of street culture in Dublin. This feeling of intimacy is directly linked to the way in which the material was sourced. Posters were hung up in cafes, bars and shops around the city asking people to send in photos, rather then all the material being collected in newspaper archives.

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.

Doc Watson Obituary

Trouble in MindDoc Watson was the best American Folk guitarist that lived. He died on the 29 May 2012 at the age of 89. He was born into a musical family and lost his sight before his first birthday. Although he never had a hit record or was in the American Billboard chart, he was a leader of the American folk music that became commercially popular particularly through the Coen Brothers film, "O Brother Where Art Thou?". His distinctive style was born out of playing fiddle parts in a country swing band. Before that the guitar was a background instrument to the ukulele and fiddle. His lightening quick finger and flat picking style is a pleasure to listen to as it accompanies his mellow voice filled with sincerity.

He has won seven Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rocks in the Belly by Jon Bauer

Rocks in the Belly'Rocks in the Belly' by Jon Bauer came to my attention when it was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2012.  As I read this book, I found its subject matter dark, deep and somewhat disturbing. But the plot is free flowing and gripping and the characters are interesting, intense and realistic. Though the character of "Auntie Deadly" does not feature prominently in the story, the author cleverly uses imagery to help create a lasting impression of this person in the readers mind. 

The author also has the ability to draw the reader into commonplace situations which helped me get to know the characters very well. Jon Bauer cleverly creates a sense of foreboding throughout the book. The plot in Rocks in the Belly moves from the life of the narrator as an eight year old boy and his life as an adult. I can sometimes find it hard to read books that move from the past to the present and I can sometimes lose my way in the plot. But the author does this superbly and clearly and it gives an added dimension to the plot and contributes greatly to the storyline. 

From Independence to the IMF - a talk by Conor McCabe

Sins of the FatherA talk "From Independence to the IMF: the Irish Economy and the forces that shaped it" took place on Thursday March 1st at the Central Library. The speaker, historian and author Conor McCabe ("Sins of the Father"), took a historical perspective on economic developments as he maintains only this can allow us see social forces acting over time. Conor's central thesis is that the recent and ongoing bust has its origins in our history dating back to 1922 and the political break with the UK. Decisions were made then and subsequently which favoured the middle classes and classes of middlemen such as bankers, lawyers, stockbrokers and builders to the detriment of real, sustained economic development. A culture of home ownership was also prioritised by offering grants and tax relief favouring again the middle class over the working class.

Picks of 2011, Children's and Teen

There are no cats in the bookPart 3 of my three part comments on my own reading during 2011.  Non-Fiction was the first in the series with Adult Fiction second. This is my Children's and Young Adult or Teen reads.  Some great fantasy is being published in the Teen section and I do enjoy the reads.

I read a lot of books over the last year, approximately 290 of which I noted from the library.

Of all the books I read from the library some stood out, I couldn't pick a small number but I'm going to put them into themes and pick the best of that theme.  Sometimes it's hard to pick just one, the first listed is my favourite, the rest are in no particular order.  This isn't a definitive list, it's a list of books that are readable alone or are the start of a series, that I read during 2011, that stood out above the others and that I would recommend to others.

Adult Fiction favourites of 2011

Sprit Thief I was intending to post this earlier this week, and then I got laryngitis and my doctor determined that I needed rest, so here's part 2 of my 2011 favourites.  Fiction, of a more adult nature, post 1 was Non-Fiction and post 3 will be Young Adult and Children's

I read a lot of books over the last year, approximately 290 of which I noted from the library.

Of all the books I read from the library some stood out, I couldn't pick a small number but I'm going to put them into themes and pick the best of that theme.  Sometimes it's hard to pick just one, the first listed is my favourite, the rest are in no particular order.  This isn't a definitive list, it's a list of books that are readable alone or are the start of a series, that I read during 2011, that stood out above the others and that I would recommend to others.

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