Dublin City Libraries open for 'Browse and Borrow'
4 May 2021
From Monday, May 10, sixteen Dublin City libraries are open for browsing and borrowing from Monday to Saturday. At this point of a phased re-opening there will be no seating for reading or studying, and users are encouraged to keep their visit as short as possible, and to use the self-service kiosks or library app to issue and return items.
Soccer is more than just a game. On Borrowbox there is a wide range of eBooks and eAudiobooks available at the click of a button. They will keep you entertained for hours. Here is a selection of what is available on Manchester United F.C. and its players.
If you are a soccer fan or if you just love sport in general, there are loads of books on Borrowbox that may be of interest to you. If you are soccer crazy like me, then you can delve into the history of players or clubs. Here is a selection of what is available on Liverpool F.C. and its players.
Travel books that will give you serious wanderlust
Level 3 restrictions might make the world seem smaller but there are plenty of ways to scratch that travel itch without leaving your home. These books set around the world will tide you over until it's finally time to dust off your passport.
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.
If you like it dark...fiction reviews for the brave
If you like odd, dark fiction – and I mean really dark – here are some titles you may have overlooked. The best horror stories share at least five elements in common: They explore 'malevolent' or 'wicked' characters, deeds or phenomena. They arouse feelings of fear, shock or disgust as well as the sense of the uncanny – things are not what they seem. There is a heightened sense of the unknown and/or mysterious..Blood Standard by Laird BarronFar better known for his Lovecraftian-style horror stories (see The Night Ocean by LaFarge, below), this is a shamelessly hardboiled thriller with a traditional plot (mob enforcer flees to rural New York to escape his violent past), but a great lead character and some compelling writing makes this more than worth your time. Lee Child or John Sandford fans will probably find a lot to like here. Best of all, if you enjoy this one it’s just the first in a series.The Devil Of Nanking by Mo Hayder (also published as Tokyo)Hayder may be best known for her grim and gothic police procedurals featuring troubled detective Jack Caffrey, but this is one of her stand-alone novels and probably her best – and darkest. Combining a mysterious quest through 1990s Japan with the historically-accurate horrors of the 1937 Nanking massacre, it’s absolutely not for the squeamish. You have been warned. Also available on Borrowbox at the time of writing are her novels Pig Island and Birdman (the first in the Jack Caffrey series).Broken Heart by Tim WeaverThe absolute master of missing-persons mysteries, CWA award nominee Weaver’s recurring character David Raker starts off investigating an impossible disappearance on the Somerset coast. Nothing new for dedicated Weaver fans, but his usual ingenious plotting takes an unexpected turn into the dark history of 1950s Hollywood, with a cult film director so well-drawn you’d be forgiven for looking up his movies on IMDB. Read all 10 in order to get the most from the intermittent story arc, but this is one that can be read out of sequence.Universal Harvester by John DarnielleThis may test your tolerance of oddness, but it’s well worth following Darnielle down his disorientating rabbit-hole to see where it goes. Customers of a video store in 1990s rural Iowa report troubling scenes spliced into their films, and the store owner’s amateur investigation leads... well, not where you might expect. Creepy as hell and excellently written (but if you like clear, tidy resolutions then this may not be the book for you...)The Calling by Inger Ash WolfeA quiet Canadian town is visited by a ghoulishly inventive serial killer; heading for retirement, Police Detective Hazel Micallef is dragged in his wake. The incredibly gothic plot is leavened by a real-as-hell central character with real-as-hell problems. If you think there’s not enough gore in Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope novels then this could be right up your street. A film version made in 2014 starring Susan Sarandon is also worth a look. First in a compelling series.The Darkest Room by Johan TheorinThis is the second in a loosely-connected series of books set on the Swedish island of Oland. (Some characters recur but the books can be read in any order.) Theorin writes Scandinavian noir with a large helping of supernatural creepiness, the latter often based on local folklore. Filled with unease rather than sensation, this is the story of a family from urban Stockholm whose escape-to-the-countryside idyll turns into something much darker. A bit of a slow burn but well worth sticking with.The Night Ocean by Paul La FargeBeginning with Charlie Willett’s obsession with (real-life) controversial horror writer H.P.Lovecraft, and Charlie’s subsequent mysterious disappearance, this is a Russian doll of a book, one story giving way to another and another, combining a wife’s search for truth with speculative fictional biography, literary hoaxes, Mexican history, fandom and way too much more stuff to list. Not just for Lovecraft fans (and if you’re not, the footnotes are a real help), it’s a compelling, meticulous and tricksy literary labyrinth. Complex and mysterious, but highly rewarding.Disturbia by Christopher FowlerBetter known nowadays for his series of novels featuring Peculiar (with a capital ‘P’) English investigators Bryant and May, Fowler began his career as a horror writer. This is more of a dark thriller than straight up horror and features a desperate race around London to solve the riddles in a class-based and increasingly deadly game. Fowler has a passion for – and encyclopaedic knowledge of – the geography and architecture of London, and this turns a standard thriller into something far more interesting. (On the subject of Fowler it’s well worth tracking down his excellent non-fiction work The Book Of Forgotten Authors – essential reading for those who like their books obscure or who have just run out of interesting things to read!)Cabal by Clive BarkerMaybe you last read this over thirty years ago (!); maybe you’ve seen Cronenberg’s Nightbreed; maybe you’ve never even heard of Clive Barker. This tale of a secret underworld of horrific monsters – who may not be as monstrous as the humans who persecute them – is a tightly-written thriller / horror story and more accessible than some of his much longer, more complex works. Barker is known for his disturbing ability to describe the almost unimaginable in stomach-churning detail, but the love story wound though the plot makes this both more tender and less gory than you may remember / expect.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.Submitted by Jennifer in Finglas Library.
Lately there have been a number of books with witchy themes. Not so much the pointy hat black cat and broom toting middle aged spinster toiling over a cauldron witch. But women who are different, the outsider who does not conform, the outcast who does not comply, and are therefore a danger. Women perceived to be subversive and confrontational just for showing intellect and independence, for having a connect to nature and old traditions. They deal with tales where there is dissonance between public opinion and personal reality. The books have many other common themes from the rehabilitative nature of female friendship, to the unyielding grip of the past in our present circumstances. The stories variously play women as villain, victim, and heroine, and a combination of all three. But witch? Well you’ll have to read the books and decide for yourself.Burial Rites by Hannah Kent Burial Rites centres around Agnes Magnusdottir a servant of no means from north Iceland condemned to death. She is accused of murder after the bodies of two men known to her, one her master, are found slaughtered and burned. She is confined to an isolated farm through a bleak and claustrophobic Icelandic winter to await execution. Her story is told through her interaction with Toti, an inexperienced local priest who is preparing her to meet her fate. And via her friendship with the compassionate Margaret, wife of District Officer Jonsson and mother to their fearful daughters, on who’s farm she stays. Supposedly morally ambiguous: an ‘inhumane witch’, a calculating ‘bloody knowing’ villain, murderous Agnes is gradually revealed. Burial Rites is inspired by the true story of the last woman put to death in Iceland in 1829. Hannah Kent’s first novel, inspired by a trip to Iceland as a teenager, it was much lauded for evoking a sense of place – cold unforgiving - that reflects in the attitudes of its inhabitants. Her writing style successfully and at times poetically conveys the time and mores it is set in without becoming burdened by historic detail. And goes some way to right the unjust treatment Kent felt Agnes received when originally researching the case for a PhD. But did Agnes do it?The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave In a storm off the coast of Norway in 1617 the island men of Vardo perish whilst setting off for fishing grounds. They leave behind a remote island populated almost entirely by their widows and children. The women divided turn either to God or the old Sami religion. Some wait on the structured governance and charity of the region, whilst others take matters into their own hands and begin boat fishing and herding themselves. Maren is resourceful and headstrong enough to try more independent means to survive. Soon she befriends and acts originally as handmaid and tutor, and then as more to Ursa the newly arrived Commissioner’s wife. But Absolom is vainglorious in his ambitious pursuit of authority on the island. He fixates on the tendency in some islanders towards the old religion, and on survival pursuits he sees as manly in the women. As paranoia and suspicion take hold he readies himself for an assault on all that is ungodly. Millwood Hargrave’s usually writes for young adults and this is an initial venture into adult fiction. The strong characterisation and narrative required to pass muster with younger readers is evident in this book, as is her skill as playwright and poet. She builds tension to a fateful climax - but will Absolom bring King Christian’s laws on witchcraft to bear on his wayward flock?The Familiars by Stacey Halls Stacey Halls’ background as an article writer and editor for magazines undoubtedly helped her excel at suspenseful storytelling and writing in a clear uncluttered way. Another debut novel, The Familiars is set in 1612 at the time of the Pendle witch trials. A pregnant 17 year old Fleetwood Shuttleworth finds a letter not intended for her to read. Having suffered a number of miscarriages, it is written that she will not survive the pregnancy. But as mistress of Gawthorpe Hall she must fulfil her husband Richard’s right for an heir, her existence depends on it. By chance she meets Alice Gray a young local girl and midwife who promises to help her. But Alice’s medicine draws from the old ways and its practice throws Alice into suspicion. Will the women and their friendship survive a Lancashire where men’s wont is to destroy anything which is deemed contrary?Watch our how-to video on Borrowbox.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.Submitted by Drumcondra Library
What is the special appeal of historical fiction? I know that for me it offers an extra layer of escapism and storytelling that is one of the reasons I love to read. History already has all the best storylines and drama! I am a recent convert to eAudiobooks – the BorrowBox app is easy to use, all you need to do is log on with your library card and pin, download and listen. I can’t imagine any greater luxury at the moment than to just sit, listen and be entertained.Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and read by Sarah GadonMid 19th century Canada – servant girl Grace Marks is only sixteen years old when she is convicted for her part in the murders of two people. She claims to have no memory of the event but is nonetheless given a life sentence. Years later she is asked to tell her story to a doctor leading a group of reformers seeking a pardon for Grace. Based on a true story, this fascinating and colourful story grips from the start to the finish.Sarah Gadon who played Grace Marks in the recent Netflix adaptation narrates the eAudiobook. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton and read by Jot DaviesA special treat for fans of golden age detective writers, this murder mystery is set in a big house, there’s a crumbling mansion, a ball, heaps of butlers and assorted servants, intrigue, revolvers, mistaken identities, mysterious letters – literally everything you could wish for in a gloriously daft concoction….but wait…this book also has an original and compelling hook: the main character has to relive the same day 8 times to try and stop the murder but each time in the body of a different character. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar and read by Juliet StevensonAn atmospheric and spellbinding romp through Georgian London that contains the barest hint of magical realism. Immersive prose and rich historical detail makes this an absorbing read. When widowed merchant Jonah Hancock finds himself in possession of a mermaid, he quickly becomes the talk of the town. And when his path crosses with courtesan Angelica Neal, his life changes trajectory but in a way that neither of them were prepared for. (Also, I would listen to almost anything if Juliet Stevenson read it aloud to me.) Transcription by Kate Atkinson and read by Fenella WoolgarInitially set in the world of British espionage during WW2 when the book opens in 1940, it follows the main character Juliet through to the 1950s and 1980s, jumping backward and forward in time. The choices made by eighteen year old Juliet when working as part of an agency to secretly monitor British Fascist sympathisers will echo through the rest of her life. This is an immensely satisfying and enjoyable novel to read, Kate Atkinson is such a skilled writer that the surprises when they come are wholly unexpected and there is a genuine tension for the reader. 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.Submitted by Jessica in Cabra.
More great recommendations from our colleague Lara in Phibsboro Library. History defines the Deep South as the original seven states of Confederacy, although the term was first used long after the Civil War ended. Before the war, the region was known as the “Lower South" and included Georgia, Florida, northern Alabama, North Louisiana, East Texas, and Mississippi. The term "Deep South" is defined in a variety of ways: most definitions include the states Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana.Oh, but don’t you love that feeling when a good book grabs you and won’t let you go? I’ve just finished Attica Locke’s latest novel Heaven, my Home and can’t wait to read more of her work. Texas Ranger, Darren Matthews, is fighting fires on all fronts. His marriage is just about hanging on, his mother is blackmailing him, and his career is on the line. Against the backdrop of a newly elected Donald Trump and fresh waves of racial violence, Matthews is sent to a sleepy town in East Texas to investigate the case of a 9-year-old boy who goes missing on Caddo Lake.The child is the son of a white supremacist who is currently in jail, and the main suspect is a black man. The story is fast moving and gripping, and the author writes superbly. The murky waters and twisted trees of Lake Caddo serve as a metaphor for all that is hidden beneath the surface of this divided community. Heaven, my home, was nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award longlist this year. Locke’s novel, Pleasantville, is also available and I look forward to reading that next!Diane Chamberlain is another American writer, who writes gripping stories set in the Southern states, where respectable facades often hide scandalous truths. Her latest book, Big Lies in a Small Town, weaves two stories together. In 2018, Morgan Christopher, is released from prison on one condition: that she restore an old post office mural in the Southern town of Edenton. The mural hides a darker story however, of jealousy, madness and murder.The story switches back to 1940 when a young woman called Anna Dale, wins a national competition to paint a mural for a post office in a sleepy town in North Carolina. This is a gripping read. If you enjoy this, The Stolen Marriage, by the same author is another page turner where a marriage is not all that it seems, and where everyone is hiding something. There have been many strong female writers who have written about life in the southern American states, often focusing on the continuing legacy of slavery and racial divisions.To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has become a modern American classic, still much loved sixty years after its publication in 1960. Although classed as a children’s book, it is a wonderful read for any age. I can still remember the first time I read this book in my twenties. I walked around the house reading it as I went, unable to put it down. Told through the eyes of six-year-old Scout, the story recounts the trial of a black man who is accused of raping a white woman in a small town in Alabama. Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, is the lawyer who defends the black man, and is the moral compass of the novel. Loosely based on elements of Harper Lee’s own life, this book was her only published work until Go Set a watchman was published in 2015.Beloved by Toni Morrison is another American text which deals with the horrors of slavery and the psychological impact on those who were enslaved. Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1987 for Beloved. It was inspired by the true story of Margaret Garner who escaped slavery by travelling over the border from Kentucky to Ohio. She was pursued by slave hunters and killed her 2-year-old daughter so that the child would not grow up in slavery. In the story, the family is haunted by the ghost of her baby daughter. The book was adapted into a film in 1998, starring Oprah Winfrey in the leading role.Mildred D. Taylor is most famous for her classic children’s book, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, which was published in 1976 and won the Newbery Medal the following year. The story follows the story of the Logan family, a poor black family who struggle to survive at the height of the Depression in rural Mississippi. Racism is a constant theme in this, and the later books in the series. Her latest book All the days past, All the days to come is the final book of the series on the Logan family.Watch our how to video on Borrowbox.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
For most of us, our world has temporarily shrunk to the four walls around us, and the streets and roads of our locality. As someone who loves to walk - on the beach, up a mountain, through the woods – I feel the loss of this freedom. I spoke to a good friend yesterday who lives in a cottage in rural Sligo. She can no longer visit the sea to swim and has taken to submerging herself in a container of icy water instead. It’s a poor substitute but it’s keeping her sane.I find my 2km walk around my neighbourhood is doing the same job for me. Every day, I take my two boys, and we walk the same route. We look at the daffodils and tulips that are popping up on the green. We notice the Dublin mountains in the distance and whether the clouds are covering their peaks. We admire the colourful paintings that children have stuck up in their windows. They bounce a football, rev their scooters and run on empty roads. I marvel at the signs of nature everywhere, even on these suburban streets. We pass their empty school which is eerily silent, and we fall silent too. There is something about walking. Something healing about putting one foot in front of the other and noticing our world around us. Here are some recommended memoirs and travel books on the (sometimes life-changing) power of walking.The Salt Path by Raynor WinnIn 2013, Raynor Winn and her husband became homeless. Their home was repossessed by bailiffs after a bad financial investment. At the same time, Raynor’s husband, Moth, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Armed with a handful of cash, a tent, and 2 cheap sleeping bags, the couple in their fifties, decided to walk the South West coast path in England. They walked 630 miles from Somerset to Dorset; wild camping and surviving on pot noodles, cups of tea and the odd bag of chips. This inspirational memoir is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of love. Nominated for the Costa book awards in 2019.Wild by Cheryl StrayedIn 1995, following the death of her mother and the breakdown of her marriage, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed decided to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail on the West Coast of America. Strayed, starting in the Mojave Desert, hiked 1100 miles through California and Oregon to Washington State. A novice hiker and woefully unprepared, she struggled to make it through the difficult terrain. Along the way, she was forced to face up to her inner ghosts and demons. This bestselling memoir was also adapted into a film of the same name starring Reese Witherspoon in 2014.A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonIf you feel like reading something funny in these dark days, Bill Bryson is your man. A Walk in the woods recounts the attempts of Bryson and his friend, Stephen Katz, to discover their wild side on the Appalachian Trail; a 2100 mile trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. Katz dreams of a nice meal and a warm bed, while Bryson focuses on staying alive. Their story was also made into a 2015 film of the same name, starring Robert Redford.Walking one step at a time by Erling KaggeFrom the author of “Silence: In the age of noise”; comes this beautiful meditation on walking and what it can do for our bodies and minds. Kagge, a Norwegian explorer and adventurer, was the first person to achieve the Three Poles Challenge – the North Pole, the South Pole and the summit of Everest.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.Members of other library authorities will need to access BorrowBox using a different link. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox.