staff picks

New for Children this Christmas!

PosterLest we should forget our younger borrowers this Christmas (Joking! However could we!!), here are just some of the new books and DVDs we have in our branch libraries in readiness for Christmas. Or anytime in fact!

Browse the list of DVD and book titles below, each of which links to its respective catalogue record where you can get further details and check on availability.

Christmas Fiction Reads for Adults

Calling Mrs Christmas, Carole MatthewsChristmas can be such a hustle and bustle time of year as we all know, and one of the best ways to escape all that hustle and bustle is to engross yourself in a good book when you can and partake of the many pleasures that reading brings.

To help you on your way, we have compiled some Christmas-themed reads for you.

Calling Mrs Christmas, Carole Matthews.
Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born. Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children, so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her loving partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients. When millionaire Carter asks Cassie to join his family on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go. Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.

Lou Reed

Lou Reed passed away on the 27th of October 2013.

Lou Reed Transformer album cover

He was one of the most influential figures in rock music. His first band The Velvet Underground is probably solely responsible for any "Indie Music" we hear today. However he is most famous for two songs, "Walk on the Wild Side" and Perfect Day". The former was a hit in 1972. A most unusual chart song with sparse arrangement of an infectious backing vocal, two note bass line and spoken styled melody of  lyrics about transsexuals and prostitution inspired by characters of the pop artist Andy Warhol's hangout, The Factory. The song surfaced again in 1990 as it's memorable bass line was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest as the backbone of their song "Can I kick it?". The latter was "Perfect Day" (the b side to Walk on the Wild side) which had a resurgence in the film Trainspotting and was released by an all star cast as a charity single in 1997. Both songs were featured on the album Transformer.

A Scare at Halloween!

The BansheeToday is Hallowe'en, and for many that means a time to scare and be scared! So below we have some scary reads to suggest to you that hopefully will not mean sleepless nights!

Hallowe'en is sometimes thought of an American feast, with its trick-or-treating, pumpkins, fancy dress parties and scary movies, but long before this – indeed, as far back as Celtic times - our ancestors celebrated Samhain, the beginning of the dark time of the year. In that regard, our Ghost Town Image Gallery showcases the Irish, and specifically Dublin, traditions of past times, with more than a nod to the celebrated Gothic writers and the haunted places of the city. It introduces viewers to such supernatural characters as the evil Dolocher and the murderess Darkey Kelly and also to gentler spirits such as that of Archbishop Marsh.

Irish Crime Fiction in a Healthy State

Broken HarbourI've been meaning for so long to do a post or three on Irish crime fiction, and the weight of guilt for not so doing before now has finally proved enough of a catalyst to get me across that line, thankfully.

But where to start?  In light of the fact that the shortlist for the Irish Book Awards (IBA) "Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award" is to be announced on the 31st October, I thought I would start with a mention of what books published over the past year might find themselves in the running. I have to say in that regard that Declan Burke's 'Crime Always Pays' blog has been an invaluable jump-off point and is well worth a visit if you want to keep informed about the Irish crime fiction scene. Last year's IBA winner by the way ('Broken Harbour' by Tana French) was selected from a shortlist of six, and I will revisit last year's winner and shortlist on another occasion (and soon!).
(Update: 'Irregulars' by McCarthy added, 30 Oct.)

Jonathan Stroud - The Bartimaeus Trilogy. A Must Read for Every Fantasy Fan

Post by Fabienne Sauberlich.

The Amulet of Smarkand"The temperature of the room dropped fast. Ice formed on the curtains and crusted thickly around the lights in the ceiling. Then two yellow staring eyes materialized in the smoke. "Hey, it was his first time. I wanted to scare him"."

This is the beginning of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy, a fantasy series that is all at once fantastic, thrilling and funny, with two main characters that will immediately capture your heart.

So what's it about? The story is set in a world where wizards are the most powerful people, and humans without magical powers are lower class people. Wizards conjure up demons to work for them, but they treat them like dangerous slaves knowing that a demon will take every chance he gets to kill his master.

What is Read in Germany?

Post by Fabienne Sauberlich.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryYes, of course there are some German authors whose works only appear in German, so unfortunately most of you won't be able to read them. But there are too a lot of international authors we Germans also like to read. And sometimes looking at what is read in other countries can give you ideas as to what books you shouldn’t miss out on.

If you want to know what books are read most in Germany you should have a look at the so called "Spiegel Bestsellerliste".  This list comes out weekly so you may also want to look at earlier ones. Below is the list for this week, and if you find something interesting watch out for it, you might even get it in your local Library.

Suspense and Thrills with a Psychological Component

Sebastian FitzekPost by Fabienne Sauberlich.

In Germany his books regularly occupy the top positions on the bestseller lists when they first come out, in fact his first book 'Therapy' kicked the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown right off the number one position in 2006. Some of his books have been translated into English and have made their way over to us. Have you already guessed who this post is about? It is of course about Sebastian Fitzek, an author I have enjoyed very much and as you see I am not alone.

Blood, Bandits and Dark Nights: Most Recent Crime Reads

In my last post (8 August) I discussed four titles from yes, Nordic climes, two being Swedish, one Finnish and one Icelandic. While Nordic writers tend to dominate my reading, they are by no means the only crime writers on my list, case in point being my posts on French crime fiction, Italian crime fiction, and my post on writers from as far afield as Australia, the US, Laos and Africa.

While this my latest update does include two Nordic titles, it also includes an Italian and a South African, and it is the latter that I will start with, as it is the book that excited me the most and which I am only dying to share with you.

City of BloodThe book is 'City of Blood' 5 stars, and it is the debut novel of M.D. Villiers (Martie de Villiers), a South African living in London. Set on the dangerous streets of Johannesburg, it is the tale of Siphiwe, a 19-year old orphan who, after rushing to the aid of a woman stabbed on the street, unwittingly gets caught up in the turf war between two rival and dangerous crime lords, one South African, the other Nigerian. With the danger to him and those close to him ever growing, he has to have his wits about him and forge alliances with criminals and police alike in order to survive. The story is told mainly through Siphiwe's eyes.

The French Crime Fiction Challenge

I think it fair to say that the Nordic countries have not got it all to themselves after all! What might I be referring to, you may ask? The market in crime fiction of course. But maybe some of you never thought they had to to begin with - after all we have always had a wealth of crime fiction emanating from the United States and from Britain, and you could add to that several others including the Italians and in recent times the Irish too. I have to say it IS great to see Irish crime fiction writing blossoming in recent years, a subject I really must blog about soon.

DivaBut there is another jurisdiction we must visit and pay tribute to also, and that is France. Crime fiction is hugely popular in France; I have read where it says one in five books sold there is a crime novel. As a bit of an aside, I recall many years ago seeing Diva (1981), that wonderful french film about a Parisian mail courier (Jules) in possession of two highly sought-after tapes: the first containing a rare recording of an American opera singer with whom he has fallen in love; the second is a tape slipped into his bag by a young woman just before she is murdered. The unwitting Jules finds himself being pursued by a gang of drug-dealers who will do anything to get their hands on the cassettes. A marvellous film, do borrow the DVD from the library when you get the chance (and sitting on the shelf in Pearse Street Library as I write!).

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