staff picks

Notes from Underground

Rathmines basement booksRathmines Library staff are digging deep to let their readers know about some of the great books hidden in the library basement! Readers may not be aware that there is a whole floor of books stored below the library – though they may have seen “Basement” marked in bright yellow letters on some of the books they have requested.

Sincerely, Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen"Well my friends have gone, and my hair is grey and I ache in the places that I used to play."
The opening lines of Tower of Song 1988.

In the early nineties I was struck by a song I heard a woman singing on the radio. These lines stuck in my head:

“So you treated some woman to a flake of your life/and when she returned, she was nobody’s wife” (Famous Blue Raincoat).

A scene of infidelity and double betrayal so neatly wrapped up. My jaw dropped when I found out Leonard Cohen had written it and that the original line was “you treated my woman to a flake of your life” this perspective gave the lines even more weight than before.

Crime Fiction Anyone?

Donna LeonCrime fiction books are forever popular, as a look at any weekly bestsellers list will demonstrate. Think 'The Girl on the Train' (which I've just finished reading, and enjoyed), it's been a bestseller for umpteen weeks. Liz Nugent was topping the Irish bestsellers for a number of weeks recently with 'Lying in Wait', while James Patterson's name features regularly on such lists, albeit with books penned by other authors.

Right: Donna Leon in Dubray Bookshop, Dublin, April 2013. (See larger image)

Most of my reads are of crime novels in translation, as I like to travel the world a bit, at least in print. This literary journey recently took me even as far as Argentina and new-to-me author Claudia Pineiro (see below), an author I might not have discovered if it weren't for the International Dublin Literary Award. The inclusion of novels in translation adds greatly to the standing of this Award and differentiates it from most other book awards, and you could do worse than visit the Award site where you will be presented with hundreds of books to choose from, many in translation.

A story a day keeps the doctor away

ReadingGreat news! Scientists have shown reading is good for your health (unlike some other sedentary activities we enjoy!). According to a new study, reading for 3.5 hours or more a week can add 2 years to your life (Read the full study via Science Direct, available at your library). 

The short story is an ideal way to get get started on your healthy reading habit, especially if you feel too busy to commit to a book. It's the perfect length for coffee breaks, commutes, lunch in the park or just before bedtime. And with so many excellent collections and interesting new anthologies out there, you have no excuse! This short stories reading list features historical fiction, crime, the best of Irish and international writing, so there's something for everyone.

Nails, Axes, Mirrors. And Love! Much ado about Crime

crime titlesIt is all too infrequent these days that I get a chance to post here on the blog regarding my crime fiction reads. It's not to say that I haven't been reading of late, far from it, but it does mean that I can struggle a little to recall the story line details of the many books I have read since my last post and how exactly I felt about them. But let me try at any rate. The following five books are either of an Italian, Thai, French or South African flavour, and I'm glad to say that none of them will disappoint. So read on!

Author Spotlight #1 - Michael Morpurgo

Michael MorpurgoWe decided to kick off our new series of regular blog posts on individual authors by putting the spotlight on that most prolific and popular of children's authors, Michael Morpurgo. A decision heavily influenced I might add by Michael's presence in Ireland right now to attend a big family event in the Concert Hall in Cork this evening.  Michael could be heard on RTE radio's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' show yesterday morning when he was interviewed by Claire Byrne. If you missed it, you can listen to the interview online (c.16 minutes in length).

Right: Michael Morpurgo (Source)

Henning Mankell Passes, RIP

Henning MankellHenning Mankell, that giant of Swedish, indeed European, crime fiction writing, has sadly passed away at the age of 67. He had been suffering from cancer. Though not exclusively a crime writer, his Kurt Wallander (pronounced vahl lahń’ der) crime series are known the world over and are must-reads for all fans of the crime fiction genre. The Wallander TV series has also proved a big success, viewers in this country may have been lucky enough to view the series on BBC 4.

Crime Reads can be Guilty Pleasures

crime titlesIt's been some time since I've had the chance to share with you my crime reads, so when I do get the chance there is guilty pleasure aplenty. This time round I am focusing on books from the Nordic region, with titles in translation from Swedish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Danish authors. Now this concentration might be no surprise to anyone who follows my posts here on the library blog, as I am an avid reader of crime titles in translation, Nordic writers having a particular appeal for me. But not exclusively, as you will see next time round when I will venture further south to France and Italy and even to Thailand and South Africa!

But back to the present, and I have to start with a BIG favourite of mine, Norway's Karin Fossum, and the 7th title in the Inspector Sejer Series, The Murder of Harriet Krohn 4.5 stars.

Jake Gives Advice on Pet Care!

JakeFiona from Dog's Trust brought her friend Jake the dog to Pearse Street Library on Wednesday, 8th July 2015, where she (Fiona that is, not Jake!) showed the children all they needed to know about looking after a pet.

Fiona and Jake are also appearing in Ballymun, Phibsboro', Pembroke, Pearse Street and Raheny during the same week.  Check our Events' Listing for details.

Lemaitre's Camille wins the CWA International Dagger

Camille'Camille' by Pierre Lemaitre (translated by Frank Wynne, published by Quercus, March 2015) was last night announced as the winner of the Crime Writers' Association (CWA)  International Dagger. For my part I am delighted with the selection, even though I haven't yet read this, the third in the trilogy starring Commandant Camille Verhoeven (what an admission!). The first two titles I can highly recommend, and if 'Camille' is anything like as good then I have no hesitation in saying that the selection is well justified. Let me quickly add that I presently await the arrival of my library copy; I expect it any day now.

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