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nostalgia telly

Television in the 1970s didn’t just consist of Mart and Market, and Garda Patrol: there were some classic television series around at the time, which kept the nation entertained for months on end – this was possibly due to the lack of choice available, or maybe times were just simpler! These are all available on DVD from your local library, so hit the sofa with a tin of biccies and take a trip down memory lane....

I ClaudiusBased on the Robert Graves novels, I Claudius, was originally shown in 1976, with an all-star cast including Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, and Brian Blessed (without his beard – worth it to see that alone!). The story of the stammering Claudius, regarded as the family idiot, who eventually became emperor of Rome, is full of intrigue, plotting, counter-plotting, and some downright insanity, with Caligula and Nero being particularly memorable in the insanity stakes.

Feel the Chill with Icelandic Crime Novels!

Tainted Blood, aka Jar CityIn light of the showing of the Icelandic film 'Jar City' on BBC Four this coming Sunday night (8th May), I thought the occasion definitely warranted mention here of the wonderful crime novels emanating from Iceland. The two principal writers responsible for ensuring Iceland a prominent place on the literary crime scene are of course Arnaldur Indriðason and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.

Indriðason is the author of 'Jar City' 4 star (probably better known under the title 'Tainted Blood'), one in the excellent series starring Inspector Erlendur and set in and around Reykjavik. Though I would say Reykjavik is portrayed in the book as a somewhat dark and austere place, a friend assures me it is in reality far from that, and well worth a visit. I wouldn't doubt him for a moment! Erlendur has his own personal and family difficulties of course (which crime detective has not?), which only adds to the well-crafted storylines. And they are so well-written (and translated) too of course.

Quirky Reads from Bloomsbury

Publishers The Bloomsbury Group have a series of handy-sized books that are well worth taking a look at if you like a quirky read. The series consists of books mainly from the early 20 century, many of which had fallen out of print. Readers can suggest books they think should be revived. The series is attractively packaged, and contains some real gems.

Mrs Harris goes to ParisMrs Harris goes to Paris’ by Paul Gallico is the story of a London charlady who sets her heart on owning a Christian Dior dress, and scrimps and saves until she has enough money to fulfil her unlikely dream. Her trip to the House of Dior introduces her to new friends, adventures, and perspectives on life.

POTTER MANIA!!!!!

Harry Potter DVDsWith the release of the final Harry Potter movie this summer (on July 15 for those who are counting the days like me!!), and the release of the latest Harry Potter movie on DVD, it’s never too late to become a Harry Potter fan, (or like me read all the stories again in preparation for the film!)All seven Harry Potter novels and DVDs are available to borrow in Dublin City Public Libraries or you can reserve them online using your borrower number and pin number. Your borrower number is on your library card and if you do not have a pin number you can get it at your local Dublin City Public Library.

Italian Crime Novels Aplenty

August HeatItalian, or Italian-based, crime novels I have always enjoyed, and there are plenty of authors to choose from. My favourite has to be Andrea Camilleri, the Sicilian writer and creator of Inspector Salvo Montalbano. The Montalbano series are full of humour, the Sicilian landscape, Sicilian society and food! Montalbano loves his food! There is not a concentration on the mafia, just in case you might think there might be, which for me is good, but it is never far away. The crimes can be of ones of passion or greed or revenge, and the author does not go into morbid details, which may be a relief to some also. I always wait impatiently for the next instalment of Camilleri's genius. The first in the series is The Shape of Water (English translation 2002, original Italian 1994), while I await the arrival this June of the twelfth in the series, The Track of Sand. Each book has been such a huge pleasure to read, I always hate getting to the end.

Norwegian Crime on the Rise!

Jo NesboI just recently finished reading 'The Leopard', the latest novel from Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian crime writer often compared to Steig Larsson. He was recently in Dublin and in conversation with Irish writer John Connolly in Easons, and I was thrilled to be able to attend and hear him speak. Also got a signed copy of 'The Snowman', so am a happy camper!

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