staff picks

the war to end all wars

Red poppies for remembrance. White poppies for a peaceful futureAs you’re probably aware, last year we entered what’s being called the decade of commemoration. It began with the centenary of the lockout, and continues now with the onset of World War One. This war was such a catalyst: The world was a completely different place at the end of those four years than it had been at the start of them; and the sheer bad luck of that generation, finding themselves plunged into a maelstrom, is heartbreaking. The centenary brings a surfeit of material, and with it a danger of overkill, but that will pass, and the commemorative material and research will be invaluable down the line. In the meantime, here is a sample of both fiction and non-fiction looking at the war from different viewpoints.

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.

Crime Catch-Up!

book jacketsI've fallen so far behind with my book reviews (being amply complimentary to myself in calling them such!) that I had to revisit the archives in order to discover when I last posted and about what. In fact it was back in late May, and in my defence I declare that work and life has been too 'involving' and not afforded me the time to indulge myself in the pleasurable pursuit of putting on paper (metaphorically speaking) my thoughts on the books I read and then sharing those here on the library blog.

While I have read quite a few crime novels over the past couple of months, I will restrict my mention here to five of those, in so doing jumping from southern Europe to northern Europe and finally to the southern portion of the African continent.

Desert Island Picks

DESERT ISLAND PICKS

desert islandSo. If you were marooned on a desert island, and could have only one book, one film, and one cd with you, what would they be? Frankly I’m doing well to get it down to five of each: choosing just one is incredibly difficult, and, in a couple of months time, I’d probably give completely different answers. It all depends on what mood we’re in, and where we are in our lives. So I’ve simply gone with: which ones do I keep coming back to over time. Feel free to post your own up.

D-Day, 70th Anniversary

D-Day. Into the Jaws of Death70 years ago today the Allied forces landed on the Normandy beaches, thus beginning the Allied invasion of German-occupied Western Europe (Operation Overlord). The Normandy landings on D-Day, codenamed Operation Neptune, involved the largest seaborne invasion in history. A myriad of books have been written about the war, the events of June and afterwards, and a myriad of documentaries and films have appeared on our TV screens ever since.

Utah, Gold, Omaha, Juno, Sword - the names of the Normandy beaches where thousands of landing craft poured ashore. Over 160,000 soldiers crossed the English Channel on D-Day, and many soldiers lost their lives before they even left their landing point. Then too there was the airborne assault, with thousands of planes involved, soldiers landing behind enemy lines in order to secure bridges and other strategic points.

It's Almost a Crime!

I can see in the dark, Therapy, Daddy's Girl, CockroachesAs I approach the end of a book my thoughts turn to what I'll read next, but I never really worry on that score as I have a ready-made (long) list of titles to read and it is usually a case of which one of two or three titles ready to hand I pick up first. And for certain that list never gets any shorter as fresh discoveries are made and soon to be published titles are announced. So happy days! I'd nearly go so far as to say that it's almost a crime not to have a book to hand or to have had the pleasure of one recently.

And that pleasure for me goes on, so let me share with you here some of my recent crime fiction reads, all in the hope that I might lead you to a book or three that help keep you from committing that aforementioned crime of omission!

2013: My (Crime Fiction) Year in Review

2013 5-star readsUpon reading a blog post recently where book reviewers highlighted their favourite crime fiction reads of 2013, I got curious as to how my year just gone had fared in similar respect. So I took a look back over my 2013, what I had read, what I had thought of the various authors and their books, and in so doing see what overall impression I was left with, and what books made it to the top of my list.

Right: The Top 4 of 2013 (see below for more details)

I should preface what is to follow by stating that most, but not all, of the books I read tend to be either recently published or, if in translation, recently translated. After reading a book I give it a star rating, 5 being the maximum number of stars. Anything that gets 3.5 stars or more I can well recommend, 3 stars is borderline, while anything less disappointed. The star system of course is not a precise measure, but can be used as a rough rule of thumb. But enough of that!

Playing Catch Up with Some Crime Reads

It's been some time since I last posted about crime fiction, November it was, in fact I last reviewed my own reads on the 7th November. So time to catch up, not another moment to be lost! I have in fact been reading away, and here I am going to mention five books I read before Christmas, and unusual enough for me, it is my second time to read one of these. That book is 'Echo Park' by American Michael Connelly, while I will also mention two books by Sweden's Hakan Nesser and a book each by Italians Andrea Camilleri and Maurizio De Giovanni. 

Echo ParkThough I missed Michael Connelly's visit to Dublin in late November, I thought it a good time to revisit his Harry Bosch series, it being some time, years even, since I had last read him. My choice was 'Echo Park' 3 stars, for no particular reason other than it being ready to hand. 'Echo Park' was first published in 2006 and is the 12th in the series featuring Los Angeles detective Harry Bosch. In it a convicted killer is ready to admit to a killing thirteen years previously as part of a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty, a case Harry was involved in but which remained unsolved. Harry over the years had revisited the case time after time to see if any further progress could be made, but never to any avail, despite his resolute belief in the guilt of one particular suspect. And now this new development suggests that his long time chief suspect was innocent all along.

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.

Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker

NutrackerThis Post was submitted by our Guest Blogger, Amy Connolly.

I recently saw a Christmas bucket list of things everyone should do before the Christmas holidays and one in particular caught my eye; see a live performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. This entry jumped out at me because I received tickets for my birthday to see The Monica Loughman Ballet School perform The Nutcracker in the Convention Centre, Dublin. Dublin City Public Libraries has many items in stock that will allow you to accustom yourself to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. There are children's books that will allow little ones to become familiar with the story behind this ballet and there are also CDs in the Music Library which allow you to hear the incredible and awesome compositions of this 19th century Russian genius. I particularly recommend Swan Lake for the uninitiated.

Feedback