Three Borrowbox Recommendations

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book titleThree book recommendations from our colleagues that may whet the appetite in these strange days. Grapple with James Joyce, or dip in and out. I'm doing that! What have you got to lose? A ghost story that is good any time of the year. Sure some of us are having Jaffa Cakes for breakfast. And a novel that teaches us about the importance of human relationships. We all understand that now with social distancing and lockdown. Just some ideas to be getting on with. All you need is your Dublin City Library card and PIN and off you go...

Miss walking through the streets of Dublin? Our colleague Eileen from Dolphin’s Barn Library asks: why not try Ulysses?
book titleI was reminded of it when Stephen King recently tweeted “Well, I finally got around to ULYSSES, the James Joyce joint”. So… before you roll your eyes and reach for the reins of your literary high horse, King can write, loves libraries and dogs, and is sceptical about the current federal power. Back to Ulysses, King’s description is probably the most accurate: if you know the streets of Dublin, you will feel very at home with this book; and if you’re Irish, you will completely relate to the lingo in the dialogue. I read it in my late twenties, I didn’t “get” all of it back then but when I’d finished, I felt like getting a t-shirt printed saying “I’ve read Ulysses”, like people who get t-shirts printed listing all the marathons they’ve run. Look, you’ve got the time. It will be like taking a walk through Dublin (which you can’t do at the moment!). You might not finish it or understand all of it, but at least you will have tried. And in the words of the great Samuel Beckett (another sometimes hard to “get” Irish writer): “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Enjoy!

How Fear Departed From the Long Gallery
book titleThis short ghost story by E.F. Benson is a little gem and comes recommended by our colleague Lucy in Rathmines Library. It’s a Christmas tale and so not exactly seasonal, but it’s one than can be appreciated any time of the year. It begins bright and funny, but then changes tone. It is poignant with a confident use of language to describe the different reactions of the Peveril family to the ghosts. Benson can be severe on his characters if they digress. His tone is cool but he really makes you care and wonder how you would have measured up had you been one of his characters. E. F. Benson was the writer of the Mapp and Lucia series.

In Search of Silence
book title“What seems to be coming at you is really coming from you” – Rabindranath Tagore; India’s first Nobel laureate. This quote is taken from this book and neatly summarises the kernel of it.  Bringing the reader on an inward and outward journey, the author reflects on and processes her life before and after the death of her husband by suicide. In a thought-provoking, poetic and witty manner, she deals with issues such as grief, mental health, identity, living alone, womanhood, ancestral heritage and beliefs. Describing her travels to places off the beaten track in India, Nepal and New Zealand, her journalistic eye is apparent with the close attention to detail given. This same attention, with the findings of various sociological studies also discussed, is simultaneously turned on her inner landscape as she finds her way back to “the fire inside” for love and living. In its essence, this book is a meditation on the significance of the relationship with both oneself and others.
It come highly recommended by our colleague Mairead from the relief staff panel.

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