staff picks

Recommended Reading: Coming of Age Adult Fiction

In Between DreamsThe journey into adulthood isn't the same for everyone. Each person has their own coming of age story, and literary characters are no different. Perhaps that's what makes coming of age fiction so appealing; it's so much easier to read about the struggles of a fictional character than focus on our own! In any case, the tragic, heart-warming, and sometimes even hilarious coming of age tales can be entertaining to any sort of audience. Read on for a few stories in this genre that are recommended by your Dublin City Public Library & Archive.

Fun and Quirky Fiction

Boys and Girls by Joseph ConnollyMiserable weather got you down? This time of year requires the occasional pick-me-up, and a funny or quirky fiction title could give you just that. Who needs a comedy show to make you laugh when you have a humourous piece of fiction at your fingertips? Find some examples of such titles below.

In Boys and Girls by Joseph Connolly, you can find a unique tale of romance and friendship, all while having a few laughs as well. The story tells the tale of a woman named Susan, who, oddly enough, wants two husbands. She doesn't want an affair mind you, she just wants two husbands. The ensuing relationship between Susan, Alan, and the new husband, Blackie, create a whole new question of married life and the humourous, mundane, challenging and tender moments that take place in the every day. Susan and Alan's 15-year-old daughter Amanda is also thrown into the mix. The story is written in view of the character's inner monologues rather than regular prose, which adds to the overall quirkiness and uniqueness of the story. The surprising bond and friendship that arises between the two husbands also gives this book a different edge than most, as the camaraderie between two males is not one often much discussed in literature.

Haruki Murakami's "1Q84": Book Review

1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiI downloaded Haruki Murakami's 1Q84: The Complete Trilogy on my Kindle just before leaving my home in Iowa, U.S.A. to come here to Dublin for my study abroad semester. I began reading almost as soon as the plane took off, and I immediately fell in love with Murakami's style of writing. I had never before read anything that could be compared to Murakami's prose.

Murakami draws you in with his extraordinary descriptions and images of completely ordinary things. The words he uses are almost clinical, but the way in which he pulls them together paints a picture more vivid than a photograph, and certainly more lyrical. The physical descriptions of his characters, such as Aomame and Tengo, jump off the page so well that they almost seem three-dimensional. I couldn't help but see Murakami's cast before me as I worked my way through the lengthy novel.

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.

More Crime Reads to Savour

Gone GirlIn recent months I have continued apace with my crime fiction reading, and here I share with you just some of those reads, they being books by Gillian Flynn, Donna Leon, Thomas Enger and Fred Vargas. So read on!

Who at this stage is not familiar to some degree with the story that is 'Gone Girl' 4.5 stars seeing how the film version was such a hit? Gillian Flynn's book, upon which the film is based, has proved a huge success, being the 25th bestselling adult fiction title of all time and spending 8 weeks at the top of the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list. 'Gone Girl' is the classic tale of a wife going missing and the finger of suspicion regarding her disappearance pointing at her husband. Where is Amy Dunne, and has loving husband Nick got something to do with her disappearance?

Our Children's Books of the Year

Bookcover: The Sleeper and the SpindleHere are just a few of the magical children's books we enjoyed reading both  to the children in our lives and ourselves!

The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Chris Riddle
"My favourite childrens book was Neil Gaiman's The Sleeper and the Spindle - a retelling of Sleeping Beauty/ Snow White."
Marc

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne 
"There have been many books about the First World War published this year but this book is a story told from a unique angle. A children's story that can be enjoyed as much, if not more, by adult readers."
Ronan

Irish comedians have been making children and librarians laugh this year!
Moone Boy: The blunder years by Chris O'Dowd and Nick V. Murphy and Danger is Everywhere by David O'Doherty, illustrated by Chris Judge

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.

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.

To err is human, to arr is pirate

Skull and crossbonesOk, I stole that heading, but in a blog about piracy, a bit of thieving is only to be expected. Of course, the romance of piracy is very different from the reality, which usually meant an outlaw life of hardship and brutality – and still does; nevertheless the romantic view lives on, and is especially celebrated every year on September 19: International Talk Like A Pirate Day. This is a convention that’s been going on for a good few years now, and has a substantial following, replete with costumes, grog, and pretty much every cliché going. Say arr.

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