Here are some of the most popular titles borrowed by you in 2022, our book-loving Dublin City library members. It’s great to see the One Dublin One Book choice, the Dublin Literary Award winner and some short-listed titles making the list. And always great to see Irish writers featuring so strongly as well.
Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses with Dublin City Libraries
2022 marks the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Considered to be one of the most important and influential novels ever written, this masterpiece of fiction follows Leopold Bloom as he makes his way around Dublin on 16th June 1904.
Have you noticed the Tatty street banners flying high around St. Stephens Green and the one on Liberty Hall recently? Tatty is a novel by Christine Dwyer Hickey, which was first published in 2004, and this year was chosen as the Dublin One City One Book choice.
Irish writer Maggie O’Farrell's novel wins major €33k prize
Maggie O’Farrell has won the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction for Hamnet, her novel inspired by the life and death of Shakespeare’s only son. It was chosen from a shortlist that included the Booker Prize winning Girl, Woman,
During the lockdown, I came upon books in all sorts of ways. Once I had exhausted my supply of library books, I started swapping books with my neighbour, who was in turn, supplying half the street with books! Our very own neighbourhood library. And this was how I chanced upon Irish writer, Andrew Hughes’s, second novel – “The Coroner’s Daughter”. The book is set in Dublin in 1816, known as the year without a summer. A dust cloud (a result of a volcanic eruption in the East) has covered Western Europe leading to freezing temperatures, a permanent fog, and visible spots on the sun. Religious fervour is on the rise, and there are those who say the end of the world is nigh.Against this rather eery setting, a nursemaid is arrested for the murder of her newborn child, only to be found dead days later. This is followed by the discovery of a second body in Blessington Basin. Natural causes or a murderer on the loose? Someone is hiding something, and our heroine, Abigail Lawless is determined to find out who.Abigail is a great character. Only daughter of the city coroner, she is curious, clever, and a scientist at heart. Not character traits that were much admired in a woman in the 19th century. But this is a dangerous game she is playing, and there are those who wish to silence her for good.This book is a real page-turner, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical crime fiction. I particularly loved the descriptions of Dublin in the 19th century, and it was fascinating to read about areas of the city which are now utterly changed. Indeed, Phibsboro Library is just minutes away from much of the action of this novel!The Coroner’s Daughter is available to download on Borrowbox, or you can order it from your local library. Submitted by Lara in Phibsboro Library.Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox. Members of other library authorities will need to log in using a different link.
“Bloomsday,” is thought to be the day that he had his first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle and is named after one of the protagonists from Ulysses, Leopold Bloom. By the time Nora Barnacle and Joyce finally married in 1931, they had lived together for 27 years, traveled the continent and had two children. The couple first met in Dublin in 1904 when Joyce struck up a conversation with her near the hotel where Nora worked as a chambermaid. She initially mistook him for a Swedish sailor because of his blue eyes and the yachting cap he wore that day, and he charmed her so much that they set a date for June 14 but she didn’t show. He then wrote her a letter, saying, “I looked for a long time at a head of reddish-brown hair and decided it was not yours. I went home quite dejected. I would like to make an appointment but it might not suit you. I hope you will be kind enough to make one with me—if you have not forgotten me!”. This led to their first date, which supposedly took place on June 16, 1904. One of Joyce’s signed erotic letters to Nora fetched a record £240,800 ($446,422) at a London auction in 2004.Movie TheatreThere are about 400 movie theaters in Ireland today, but they trace their history back to 1909, when Joyce helped open the Volta Cinematograph, which is considered “the first full-time, continuous, dedicated cinema” in Ireland. More a money-making scheme than a product of a love of cinema, Joyce first got the idea when he was having trouble getting Dubliners published and noticed the abundance of cinemas while living in Trieste. When his sister, Eva, told him Ireland didn’t have any movie theaters, Joyce joined up with four Italian investors (he’d get 10 percent of the profits) to open up the Volta on Dublin’s Mary Street. The venture fizzled as quickly as Joyce’s involvement. After not attracting audiences due to mostly showing only Italian and European movies unpopular with everyday Dubliners, Joyce cut his losses and pulled out of the venture after only seven months. The cinema itself didn’t close until 1919, during the time Joyce was hard at work on Ulysses. (It reopened with a different name in 1921 and didn’t fully close until 1948.)Ernest HemingwayErnest Hemingway met Joyce at Shakespeare and Company, and was later a frequent companion among the bars of Paris with writers like Wyndham Lewis and Valery Larbaud. Hemingway recalled the Irish writer would start to get into drunken fights and leave Hemingway to deal with the consequences. "Once, in one of those casual conversations you have when you're drinking," Hemingway said, "Joyce said to me he was afraid his writing was too suburban and that maybe he should get around a bit and see the world. He was afraid of some things, lightning and things, but a wonderful man. He was under great discipline—his wife, his work and his bad eyes. His wife was there and she said, yes, his work was too suburban. 'Jim could do with a spot of that lion hunting.' We would go out to drink and Joyce would fall into a fight. He couldn't even see the man so he'd say, 'Deal with him, Hemingway! Deal with him!'"Shakespeare and CompanyJoyce began writing Ulysses in 1914, and by 1918 he had begun serializing the novel in the American magazine Little Review with the help of poet Ezra Pound.But by 1921, Little Review was in financial trouble. The published version of Episode 13 of Ulysses, “Nausicaa,” resulted in a costly obscenity lawsuit against its publishers, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, and the book was banned in the United States. Joyce appealed to different publishers for help including Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press but none agreed to take on a project with such legal implications (and in Virginia Woolf’s case, length), no matter how supposedly groundbreaking it was. Joyce, then based in Paris, made friends with Sylvia Beach, whose bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, was a gathering hub for the post-war expatriate creative community. In her autobiography, Beach wrote: All hope of publication in the English-speaking countries, at least for a long time to come, was gone. And here in my little bookshop sat James Joyce, sighing deeply.It occurred to me that something might be done, and I asked : “Would you let Shakespeare and Company have the honour of bringing out your Ulysses?”He accepted my offer immediately and joyfully. I thought it rash of him to entrust his great Ulysses to such a funny little publisher. But he seemed delighted, and so was I. Undeterred by lack of capital, experience, and all the other requisites of a publisher, I went right ahead with Ulysses.Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox. Members of other library authorities will need to log in using a different link.
Charles Dickens, one of the most popular and accessible novelists died 150 years ago in June 1870. His novels are still popular and they have been adapted for television and cinema. They have been turned into popular musicals on stage and screen. Many novelists have acknowledged his influence and expressed admiration for his novels.At the age of twelve he was sent to work in a blacking factory by his affectionate but feckless parents. From these unpromising beginnings, he rose to scale all the social and literary heights, entirely through his own efforts. When he died, the world mourned, and he was buried - against his wishes - in Westminster Abbey. Yet the brilliance concealed a divided character: a republican, he disliked America; sentimental about the family in his writings, he took up passionately with a young actress; usually generous, he cut off his impecunious children.Dickens created an array of memorable characters - Miss Havisham dressed in her wedding finery every day since she was jilted at the altar in Great Expectations. The contrasting characters Mr. Micawber and Uriah Heep in David Copperfield. In David Copperfield, the novel he described as his favorite child, Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure. One of the most swiftly moving and unified of Charles Dickens’s great novels, Oliver Twist is also famous for its re-creation through the splendidly realized figures of Fagin, Nancy, the Artful Dodger, and the evil Bill Sikes of the vast London underworld of pickpockets, thieves, prostitutes, and abandoned children. Victorian critics took Dickens to task for rendering this world in such a compelling, believable way, but readers over the last 150 years have delivered an alternative judgment by making this story of the orphaned Oliver Twist one of its author’s most loved works.His novels were originally published in instalments in weekly or monthly magazines. This is the reason there are some dramatic “cliffhanger” scenes which made the reader want to know what happened in the next instalment. This helps to make them “pageturners” for modern readers. (It also allowed Dickens to get feedback from his readers about what they thought of his stories and characters before he had finished his novel!)There are 24 ebook and eaudiobook copies of Dickens’ novels available on Borrowbox and you will also find there an excellent biography of the author by Claire Tomalin.Claire Tomalin is the award-winning author of eight highly acclaimed biographies, including: The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft; Shelley and His World; Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life; The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens; Mrs Jordan's Profession; Jane Austen: A Life; Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self; Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man and, most recently, Charles Dickens: A Life. A former literary editor of the New Statesman and the Sunday Times, she is married to the playwright and novelist Michael Frayn.Submitted by Philip in Finglas Library.Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox. Members of other library authorities will need to log in using a different link.
Sebastian Barry is an Irish novelist, playwright, and poet, he was named laureate for Irish Fiction 2019-2021. He is noted for his literary writing style and is one of Ireland’s finest writers. His book Secret Scripture won the 2008 Costa Book of the year. He also won the Costa Book of the year in 2017 for his book, Days without End, becoming the first novelist to win the prestigious prize twice. Each of his novels imagines and expands the history of one of the author's ancestors and he mines his colourful family history for stories.Secret Scripture by Sebastian BarryThis is the story of Roseanne McNulty who is nearing her hundredth birthday in the mental hospital where she was committed as a young woman. The hospital is about to close and her psychiatrist finds himself intrigued by the story of his elderly patient. This book charts her life. The author writes about loss, broken promises, and failed hopes. This is a beautiful and disturbing book to read. It’s an astonishing story told with sadness and grace and illuminates the history of the skeleton in the cupboard, it is an incredibly moving and emotional story of love, grief, religion, and life in Ireland. This is a novel about the damage done by men to women and also to themselves. The act of telling her story is redemptive.The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian BarryThis is a story of a man with good intentions that have some disastrous consequences. He is exiled from a country that rejects him but which he loves nonetheless. Eneas McNulty lives his life in the shadow of the sentence haunted by his memories and by strong ties to a place that he is barred from forever. He is forced to flee Sligo, his friends and family. This is a heartbreaking story about the gentle Eneas McNulty caught up in the deadly politics that came with Irish Independence. Barry does a great job of creating the atmosphere of the time following the end of World War One. The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty recounts the history of a lost man. The author vividly creates Eneas’s warm humanity and his tenderness is powerfully portrayed and casts a gentle light on the hardship around him.Days Without End by Sebastian BarryWinner of the Costa Book Award this story is about two young Irish men leaving the great Irish famine behind them to travel to America. Thomas McNulty takes us through American history with his best friend, and partner, John Cole - joining the army to make a living. They experience hardship together where hunger and no shelter is hard to bear but they survive and grow deeper in love. It’s a violent lyrical vision of America in the making. Sebastian Barry has created complex individuals who find themselves caught up in the horrors of war. It’s a masterpiece of atmosphere and language It’s a novel you will not forget. There are two main threads in this novel: the love story between Thomas and John, and America.Submitted by Geraldine in Drumcondra Library.Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox. Members of other library authorities will need to log in using a different link.
Book recommendations from Eimear from the relief staff panel, one historical true crime and a mix of fiction genres. With the brighter days and good weather making an appearance these book ideas might take your mind off things for a short time and give you a much needed break. Fiction writing can teach us a lot about society and humanity. Reading fiction contributes to a person's moral psychological development and their ability to have empathy or understanding. It enhances out ability to connect with each other. It makes us a little bit more aware and informed.Tell Me Everything If you ‘re looking for a compulsive page-turner full of psychological suspense, why not check out this impressive debut by Cambria Brockman? New to Hawthorne College, Malin quickly finds her feet amongst a tight-knit circle of friends. There is Gemma, the artsy but insecure theatre major; John, the handsome and wealthy New Englander; John’s cousin Max, the shy, quiet pre-med student; Khaled, the group jester and prince from Abu Dhabi; and of course Ruby, a beautiful art history student. However, Malin has a troubled past, one that she’s good at hiding. She has developed a knack for projecting a carefree appearance, but behind the scenes she’s calculating, cunning and has mastered the art of detecting the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of others. Fast-forward to Senior Day, just before graduation, Malin’s secrets and those of her friends are revealed. As Malin races to preserve her perfectly cultivated image, her missteps set in motion a chain of events that end in a murder. Whilst fragile relationships hang in the balance and close alliances shift, Malin tests the limits of what she is capable and how far she will go, to stop the truth from coming out. Tell Me Everything is a dark and twisty tale, the perfect thriller for summer!The Doctor’s Wife is Dead. Nenagh, Co.Tipperary. 1849. Ellen Langley, the wife of prosperous local doctor and surgeon Charles Langley, has just died after a short illness. Ellen had been sick for a number of years with consumption, but in the days before her death, her physical condition deteriorated rapidly. Several doctors attended Ellen in her final days and noted her symptoms. It appeared as though Ellen had died of English Cholera. At least, this was the conclusion of the five doctors who carried out the post-mortem. But in a remarkable turn of events, the coroner’s jury refused to accept the verdict. The circumstances surrounding Ellen’s death raised questions. Why had Charles Langley written a letter requesting an inquest into his wife’s death whilst she was still alive? Why was she buried in a pauper’s coffin? Why wasn’t the jury allowed to interview Mrs. Langley’s servants? Why was Charles Langley adamant that one witness in particular,shouldn’t be called to give evidence? Dr. Langley’s contempt for his wife was widely known and it isn’t long before new evidence surfaces and Charles Langley finds himself on trial for his wife’s murder. Following every twist and turn in the case, The Doctor’s Wife Is Dead tells the story of an abusive marriage, the double standards in Victorian Law, and the brave efforts of ordinary people to hold the person responsible to account. I really enjoyed this account of a nineteenth century true crime. It was very well researched and it gives the reader an honest account of Victorian life in Ireland. I couldn’t put it down!The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh.When Sarah and Eddie meet, sparks fly. It seems that Sarah has finally met Mr. Right. After spending seven blissful days together, Eddie departs for a pre-booked holiday to sunny Spain. Sarah has no doubt in her mind that Eddie will call, but he doesn’t. Sarah’s friends try to persuade her to forget him, but Sarah is certain that something has happened and that there has to be reason for his silence. There has to be! What if the reason for Eddie’s silence is a secret, the one thing you two didn’t share with each other?The Women of Primrose Square.This is another great read from popular Irish writer Claudia Carroll. Frank Woods at number 79 Primrose Square is about to turn fifty. Naturally, he wants to celebrate and so he tries to organise a party to mark the occasion. The problem is no one wants to go. Not even his wife and children, who all have other plans! Frank arrives home on his birthday, to find that his family have thrown him a surprise party. Standing in the doorway is Francesca, not Frank. As Francesca transitions, her relationship with her family becomes difficult and she decides to rent a room from her cantankerous neighbor, Violet Hardcastle. There, she makes friends with Emily Dunne, who has just gotten out of rehab and is desperate to make amends. Gossip quickly spreads through Primrose Square and it’s not long before relationships are tested. One thing is for sure, nothing in Primrose Square will ever be the same again.Leaving Time.Jodi Picoult is a prolific and popular writer, and this title is one of my favourites. Jenna Metcalf’s mother Alice went missing in the wake of an accident when Jenna was just three years old. It’s been more than a decade since her disappearance and Jenna refuses to believe that her mother would have abandoned her. Undeterred, Jenna frequently searches the Internet for clues into her mother’s whereabouts. Determined to find her mother, Jenna enlists the help of discredited psychic Serenity Jones and Virgil Stanhope, the detective who originally investigated Alice’s case. As the truth unfolds, Jenna’s memories start to fit with the events described in her mother’s journal, and the trio realise that when you ask difficult questions, you often get difficult answers. Leaving Time is a bittersweet tale of love, loss and the refusal to give up.Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN.Members of other library authorities will need to access BorrowBox using a different link.