staff picks

Recent Crime Reads

At Night All Wolves are GreyIt's time to update you on some of the crime novels I have read in recent times. Hard not to notice that Nordic writers are ever present, no apologies, I am still working my way through the expansive library of Nordic crime fiction. But nice too that some of those Nordic authors mentioned here were new to me, as was the South African Deon Meyer. Always interesting to find someone new. But mentioned here too is one of my perennial favourites, Colin Cotterill. 

First up is 'At Night All Wolves are Grey' (1986) 4 stars by Gunnar Staalesen.

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.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Cicero

Outdoor Living

I'm staying optimistic that Summer will arrive and we can look forward to long sunny evenings. So while we all come down from the land of soggy books, dripping umbrellas and cloudy skies we can start to get in the mood and think about the outdoor living that lies ahead of us. You can prepare now by checking out the many titles in the library that will inspire you to tidy up and prepare the garden so you’ll be ready to sit back after a long day and relax when the sun does come out.

Here are some titles to get you in the mood! 

Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

Where the Wild Things areMy daughter texted me yesterday...'Maurice Sendak died!'. If she had been at home we would probably have re-read Sendak's classic 'Where the Wild Things Are' and acted out a 'Wild Rumpus' for old times sake. She might even have donned a variation of a wolf suit (as a child she dressed for half a year as Robin Hood and another half a year as Batman, so she has form). Instead, we made do with watching YouTube clips and following #wildrumpus on Twitter.

Stephen King is King

11.22.63Recent winner in the mystery/thriller category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes for his novel '11.22.63', Stephen King is a name so well known that little introduction is needed; think The Shining, Carrie, It, Misery, Christine, Pet Sematary, Salem's Lot, Insomnia, to name just a few. I think it interesting that he has won this award insofar as I have seen it said that in the past critics have not viewed him as a serious writer. But whatever the views of the critics past or present, such a view if it is held has never detracted from his popularity with the reader.

As an aside, also nominated in this category was Irish author Eoin Colfer for his book, 'Plugged', and the subject of a previous post here on our blog.

'11.22.63' is the story of a time traveller from 2011, a young teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, who gets the chance to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald. 

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. 

Females and Folk in Musical Books

Under the Ivy There's some lovely stuff in our new stock, I came across these gems.

I'll start with Under the Ivy: The story of Kate Bush. Kate Bush.... need I say more? No, but I will remind you that she was the first female artist ever to have a UK number one with a self penned song at the age of nineteen. This book is a series of interviews with people who worked closely with her throughout her career. To quote the Mojo Magazine (which is held in the Music Library) it's a "compelling examination of her music". Get your boxfresh copy now.

Fiction and Fact (?????) for Musical Books.

Hello again,

this Month in Musical Books I have picked a great piece of fiction by Irish writer Claire Kilroy titled 'Tenderwire'.

tenderwireThe narrator, Eve Tyne is an Irish solo violinist who's life is turned upside down when she acquires a rare del Guso violin and is possessed by its sound and beauty.

The acquisition transforms her career and is almost symbolic of her private life which is spiralling out of control. This is a really well written fast paced read with some clever unexpected twists. Check it out.

LifeThe other one I've chosen is 'Life' by Keith Richards.

I was ill over Christmas and confined to bed so the size of this volume didn't put me off. Also I could not drink and the hardest thing I was consuming was lemsip so at least I could celebrate the festive season by proxy of Keith Richard's hell raising. 

Bram Stoker Centenary

Bram StokerAlthough the Dublin: One City, One Book choice for April this year is James Joyce's 'Dubliners', it is timely to remember that the choice for April 2009 was 'Dracula' by Dublin-born writer Bram Stoker; timely because April 20th this year marks the 100th anniversary of Stoker's death (20th April, 1912).

About Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker was born in Dublin's Marino Crescent on November 8th, 1847. After an early life plagued by illness, he went on to graduate from Trinity in 1868 with a Masters Degree in mathematics. His early work life was as a civil servant in Dublin Castle, while he was at the same time a freelance journalist and theatre critic.

101 things you thought you knew about the Titanic.

titanicThe book "101 things you thought you knew about the Titanic.... but didn't" is a fascinating study of some of the myths and half-truths that have arisen since that fateful morning of April 15th 1912. (Growing up in Cobh, I reckon I've heard 99 of them!) Author Tim Matlin dispels many of these popular legends using primary sources such as the US Inquiry and the British Inquiry, both of 1912. He also shows that many of these stories are indeed true. The myths are neatly separated into categories such as: The Ship, Omens, Passengers, Collision, S.O.S etc.

Below are a few examples to whet your appetite:

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