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.
‘Alone in Berlin’ and ‘A Whole Life’ - books by German authors.
Our colleague Charlotte is sharing her views on two books by German authors. I always try to get keep in touch with literary developments in Germany which is where I am from. Lately, I have come across two wonderful German novels, one originally published in 1947, the other in 2014. Both celebrate the lives of ordinary people but in very different ways.Hans Fallada (1893 – 1947) was a bestselling German writer during the early 1930s. He published a number of well-known novels about ordinary people trying to get on with life. Eventually, he fell foul of the Nazis and, despite trying to keep a low profile, was under constant threat of persecution. Fallada died in 1947, two years after the end of the Nazi rule. Alone in Berlin, his last novel, was published posthumously. It is one of the first anti-Nazi novels published after World War II. Largely forgotten until re-discovered and translated into English in 2009, it became an international bestseller more than 60 years after its publication.Inspired by the real-life story of a Berlin couple who were executed in 1943 for treason, the novel describes life under the Nazi regime in Germany and the resistance of ordinary people. When Anna and Otto Quangel’s son is killed in World War II, the quiet and unassuming couple decide to call on others to resist the tyranny of the Nazi regime. They distribute postcards with anti-Hitler messages around Berlin. Soon they are being tracked by the Gestapo. Fallada’s novel paints a haunting picture of the atmosphere of fear, suspicion and intimidation in 1940 Berlin and Fallada leaves no doubt what his view of the Nazi regime is. An unforgettable book.In contrast to Fallada’s book, Robert Seethaler’s novel A Whole Life is the work of a contemporary artist. Robert Seethaler is an Austrian writer and well-known actor who has published several books, ‘A Whole Life’ being his best-known work outside of German-speaking countries. It was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize 2016 and The International Dublin Literary Award 2017. Like Fallada, Seethaler writes about the life of an ordinary person, Andreas Egger. Egger lives most of his life in a remote valley in the Austrian Alps. He is an outsider, barely tolerated by the farming family who take him in as an orphan and make him work for his keep. His life is hard and without comforts. Events outside the valley (the book spans the time from 1902 until 1977) are barely mentioned. Egger only ever leaves his valley as a soldier during World War II and on short working trips. Egger’s happiest time is his short, ill-fated marriage to Marie and yet, this is not a sad book. It is a gentle, wistful reflection on life in its simplest form and on the happiness that can be found in acceptance and solitude. A wonderful, tender novel.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.
Thirteen may be considered unlucky for some, but not to the thirteen on the Man Booker Prize longlist which includes three Irish authors this year. Donal Ryan’s "From a Low and Quiet Sea" is his second nomination for the prize after "Spinning Heart" in 2013. Anna Burns and Sally Rooney both receive their first nominations for "Milkman" and "Normal People" respectively. Belfast born Anna Burns was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, now the Women's Prize for Fiction, in 2001 for her debut; "No Bones". Sally Rooney, at 27, is the joint youngest author to be nominated this year. She can add that to an already impressive resume that includes being the 2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. Upon ditching the requirement of the author to be either from the U.K. or the Commonwealth two years ago, the two most recent winners of the prestigious accolade have both been from the U.S. Ireland can hold its head high to have the same number of nominations as the U.S. this year. There is only one previous winner nominated this year, Michael Ondaatje, whose book "The English Patient" was crowned the best Man Booker Prize winner of the last 50 years. This year he is nominated for his captivating novel "Warlight", set in post Blitz London in 1945. In a departure for the prize, this year sees a graphic novel, "Sabrina" by Nick Drnaso, nominated for the first time. Judges are quoted as being blown away by Drnaso's "oblique, subtle and minimal" style in a work that explores the chilling effect of 24-hour news after a girl has disappeared.Farouk's country has been torn apart by war. Lampy's heart has been laid waste by Chloe. John's past torments him as he nears his end. From a Low and Quiet Sea centres around the refugee, the dreamer and the penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a powerful reckoning, one that will bring them together in the most unexpected of ways.In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with the Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous. "Milkman" is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.Connell and Marianne both grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. But they both get places to study at university in Dublin, and a connection that has grown between them despite the social tangle of school lasts long into the following years. Sally Rooney's second novel is a deeply political novel, just as it's also a novel about love. It's about how difficult it is to speak to what you feel and how difficult it is to change. It's wry and seductive; perceptive and bold. Normal People will make you cry and you will know yourself through it.As a nation that has the most Nobel Laureates per capita in the world, Ireland has always punched far above her weight in the literary world. Donal Ryan, Anna Burns and Sally Rooney continue the hallowed Irish tradition of captivating their readers with their touching and unflinchingly human stories. We wish them the very best of luck and hopefully one of them will be the fifth Irish Man Booker Prize winner.The Man Booker Prize Longlist:Snap, Belinda BauerMilkman, Anna BurnsSabrina, Nick DrnasoWashington Black, Esi EdugyanIn Our Mad and Furious City, Guy GunaratneEverything Under, Daisy JohnsonThe Mars Room, Rachel KushnerThe Water Cure, Sophie MackintoshWarlight, Michael OndaatjeThe Overstory, Richard PowersThe Long Take, Robin RobertsonNormal People, Sally RooneyFrom a Low and Quiet Sea, Donal RyanPress on the Man Booker:Three Irish Authors nominated for Man Booker Prize 2018 (Irish Times)First Graphic Novel nominated for Man Booker Prize 2018 (The Guardian)About the Man Booker:The Man Booker Prize is one of the world's most famous literary prizes for contemporary fiction. From 2014 eligibility for The Man Booker Prize was extended to include novels originally written in English and published in the UK, regardless of the nationality of their author. Previously it was only awarded to the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.
I love books; reading books; buying or borrowing books; thinking about what I’ll read next, and of course, talking about books . I think I’ve been part of at least one book club (if not two or three) for the last ten years. Whether its friends, colleagues, my local library or part of an independent bookshop (shout out to Bob in the Gutter Bookshop for the excellent book clubs he runs!), being in a book club has always seemed like a great way to share an experience that can be so personal and make it communal.As a Historian-in-Residence working with Dublin City Council and through Dublin City Libraries it made perfect sense to me to bring the two together… History + Libraries = a new History book club! But would the book club format work for history books? With fiction, the standard genre for any book club, it’s all about your opinion. Did you like the book, the characters, the plot, the style of writing…etc. You don’t have to be an expert on the subject of the book to discuss it. Whereas with a history book club would people feel that had to already be familiar with the historical content of the book before giving their opinion on it? There is such a huge interest in history in Dublin; in local, Irish and international history, I thought I’d take a chance. So began two new History book clubs in Terenure and Pembroke Libraries. So far they’ve been going great!We started off with Lucy McDiarmid’s At Home in the Irish Revolution which both groups found interesting if challenging to read the whole thing. Since then we’ve read a great variety of books, on different time periods, different parts of the world, and different styles of writing history. All of these books have been available to borrow through the brilliant service of Dublin City Libraries. We’ve discussed each book with an open mind, looking at the sources used, the style of writing and how convinced we were by the historians arguments. We’ve gone from Ireland to Russia, China, the Americas and back again! I also took the opportunity to tweet Irish historian Marie Coleman (Queen’s University Belfast) to let her know one of our monthly books was The Irish Sweep: A History of the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes. She was delighted to hear this and asked the group for their opinion and feedback. All of these fascinating history books have been discussed at our monthly meetings in the branch libraries which have been so wonderfully facilitated by the branch librarians (without whom this wouldn’t have been possible!).Here’s to many more history chats in the future! Maeve Casserly, Historian-in-Residence, Dublin City Council
We are delighted to announce that Lia Mills’ novel Fallen, published by Penguin Ireland, is the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2016.We are also delighted to announce that, for the first time, Dublin will team up with Belfast for a 'Two Cities One Book' Festival. 2016 will see a partnership with Libraries NI (the library authority for Northern Ireland) so that next April readers in Dublin and Belfast will engage with the same book at the same time. The initiative was launched at noon today (14th) by an tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD.Fallen, which tells the story of Dubliners against the backdrop of the dramatic events of Easter Week 1916, is a literary contribution to Dublin City Council's 1916 centenary programme.An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh said "I am delighted that as part of Dublin City Council’s 1916 commemorations, the Dublin: One City One Book Festival is joining with Belfast city through Libraries NI to celebrate the wonderful novel Fallen by Lia Mills. As a fellow Dubliner, I want to congratulate Lia on this, her third novel, and wish her every success with it. Tá mé cinnte go mbeidh an-éileamh ar an leabhar agus go mbainfidh léitheoirí Bhéal Feirste agus Bhaile Átha Cliath taitneamh as an úrscéal staire fíorthráthúil seo. I congratulate Dublin City Libraries for this first time collaboration with Libraries NI."Above: View photo slideshow above of the launch. (Some photos, credit: Jason Clarke Photography (see flickr photos))The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys said "There are many ways to tell the stories of 1916. Historians will provide us with the factual accounts of the events of the Rising, but novelists like Lia Mills can add layers to that narrative. By focusing on personal stories, with which we can all identify, we can discover what daily life was like for the citizens who were caught up in a series of tumultuous events which changed this country forever. I am delighted that this book has been chosen for next year as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, the moment when we as a nation will commemorate the events of 1916."Commenting on the project, Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, said:"This is a great opportunity to encourage people in both cities to read and discuss the same book and the project supports one of Libraries NI's core aims of promoting reading and literature. The timeframe and the chosen book is particularly relevant considering next year's planned commemorative events for the Decade of Commemorations for World War One and for the Easter Rising, both significant historical events which form the backdrop of the novel."Dublin City Librarian Margaret Hayes says "Dublin: One City One Book 2016 will be the eleventh year of this annual programme . Fallen is a novel which through its characters, plot and narrative tells the story of ordinary Dubliners caught up in the historic events of Easter 1916 and is a perfect choice for Dublin: One City One Book 2016. I am especially pleased that readers in Dublin and Belfast will jointly explore this book and share their reading experiences in a first time collaboration of 'Two Cities, One Book'."Lia Mills said, "I’m delighted that Fallen has been chosen for the Dublin: One City One Book festival in 2016. The festival is such a positive boost – for books and for readers. I wanted this novel to explore a fresh perspective, starting with the question: what would it be like to find your city taken over by forces you don’t recognise? The participation of Libraries NI adds a new and exciting dimension to the festival. I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can do."Fallen, published by Penguin Ireland, is the third novel from Dublin author Lia Mills. Through the experiences of its central character Katie Crilly, the novel explores the challenges of day to day living in a conflict situation alongside contextual subjects such as education and votes for women. It vividly depicts the various and conflicting allegiances faced by Irish soldiers in the First World War and those supporting the cause of the rebellion.A full programme of events in both cities, offering opportunities to engage with Fallen in a range of contexts, will be announced in March 2016.Since its inception in 2006, the Dublin: One City One Book Festival has encouraged everyone to read a book connected with Dublin during the month of April. The initiative is led by Dublin City Council's Public Library Service as part of Dublin's UNESCO City of Literature designation and is supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.Today's announcement follows a highly successful Dublin: One City One Book Festival in 2015. The book choice was 'The Barrytown Trilogy' by Roddy Doyle. Events booked out quickly and the books in the trilogy were among the most borrowed books from Dublin's public libraries this year.Previous books featured in are 'At Swim Two Birds' by Flann O’ Brien (2006), 'A Long Long Way' by Sebastian Barry (2007), 'Gulliver's Travels' by Jonathan Swift (2008), 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker (2009), 'A Picture of Dorian Grey' by Oscar Wilde (2010), 'Ghost Light' by Joseph O’Connor (2011),' Dubliners' by James Joyce (2012), 'Strumpet City' by James Plunkett (2013) and 'If Ever You Go: a map of Dublin in poetry and song', edited by Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth (2014).Visit the Dublin: One City One Book website, and on Twitter; hashtag #fallen2016.