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.
If you’ve ever been trapped reading a boring book to a young person, I feel your pain. These books are NOT boring. They’re really well written, beautiful and interesting. Even better, they’re about magic, strange happenings, special powers, and mysterious characters. What’s not to love?Cream Buns and Crime is the perfect collection of short stories for buddying young detectives. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are famous for solving murder cases, but there are many other mysteries in the pages of their casebooks. Join them as they solve two new, never-before-seen cases and pick up some helpful tips along the way. The perfect story for Nancy Drew’s everywhere.A Question of Magic. Serafina’s life takes an unexpected turn when she receives a letter from her great-aunt Baba Yaga, who by the way is a powerful witch! Summoned to her great-aunt’s cottage to begin her new life, Serafina finds it difficult to leave her family and the boy she loves behind. As she gets familiar with her new role, Serafina learns that strangers can ask her one question and she must tell the truth… but telling the future doesn’t necessarily mean knowing the right answers. E.D Baker’s re-imaging of Slavic folklore captures its readers from the first page and reminds us to be careful with what you wish for! I loved that Baker was able draw from Slavic folklore. Baba Yaga is such a famous character and it is nice to see her being written about in the 21st century. In her own unique way, bestselling author E.D. Baker has crafted a funny and romantic story that combines some fabulous details from the original Slavic tale, with a wonderful new twist!Strange Star. Villa Diodati. Switzerland, 1816. It’s a dark and stormy night. Four freethinkers join their host Lord Byron at his estate for a night of chilling tales. Felix, Byron’s serving boy, cannot wait for the night’s festivities to begin. He plans to hang onto every morbid word! Frantic banging at the door quickly brings the night’s festivities to a halt. A young girl is at the door and she needs help.Her clothes are in tatters and a strange scar is clearly visible on her neck. The story is far from over because a monster rides in her wake! Strange Star is another great hit from author Emma Carroll. Beautifully written, haunting and sinister. I couldn’t put in down.Submitted by Eimear from the Relief Staff Panel.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.
As the pandemic mandated lock-down largely continues, albeit with some welcome easing on the horizon, there are still some wonderful opportunities for a little gentle escapism with a huge array of eBooks and eAudiobooks available with Dublin City Libraries using Borrowbox. Please note that you will need your Dublin City library card number and PIN and also to download the BorrowBox app.'Sidney Chambers and the persistence of love' is the sixth installment in the popular 'Grantchester' mystery series by James Runcie which began in 2012 with the publication of 'Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death'. It hews fairly closely to the formula of the traditional British 'cosy' genre (a sub-genre of crime writing in which the reader is largely spared direct exposure to the murder or gore; boasts an amateur sleuth and an attractive bucolic setting). It opens in 1971 when Archdeacon Sidney Chambers, his seven year old daughter, Anna and elderly labrador, Byron, literally stumble on the corpse of a bohemian folk singer who, mysteriously, is carrying a basket laden with an array of highly poisonous flowers and herbs. Struggling to juggle the impact this discovery might have on young Anna, Sidney investigates and encounters a world filled with obsession, home made drugs, free love and yet more death.One of the most attractive features of Runcie's writing is the multiple overlapping plots and developments that never feel forced or artificially truncated which he dips in and out of throughout his work and it is not just murder which our protagonist must face but an array of more mundane challenges, also. From a frighteningly efficient and disruptive, new parish secretary, to an auction art attribution mystery, or the mishandling of the church collection or even simply the little travails of finding a suitable wedding anniversary gift for his wife. Runcie slips back and forth, effortlessly, between them with a genuine lightness of touch and excellent pacing Somewhat unusually for a cosy mystery, there is a sexual assault sub-plot but this is handled sensitively and while it does not shy away from the emotional suffering and horror of the event, the reader is, thankfully, spared some of the more harrowing details of the attack.Runcie also has a truly sublime turn of phrase. At several stages throughout, I actually had to pause and go back simply to re-read a line or paragraph that was particularly striking or attractive (something of a rarity when i am reading crime fiction) and his deceptively simple use of language lends a fluidity and ease to his writing so that immersion is readily facilitated making this a genuine pleasure to read. I was most pleasantly surprised to pause reading at one point and discover that far more time had passed than I imagined.One of the joys of this series of works is that Chambers comes across as a genuinely human character. This is not a flashy, cold Poirot or Holmes that astounds us with superhuman cognition or pyrotechnic intellectual gymnastics but a normal, flawed man with all of the limitations and foibles that this entails. From forgetting his wedding anniversary, to worrying about the upbringing of his child, to dealing with awkward work colleagues or regretting flashes of jealousy he is believable both as a religious and father and husband but yet maintains an innate decency, compassion and humanity as he tackles matters both criminal and theological, alike.It should be noted that there are recurring characters from previous installments and this is the sixth installment in the series; while I do not feel there is an impediment to jumping in in, some readers may prefer to go through the works in order to derive maximum enjoyment of them. Happily, all five of the previous volumes are also available via 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. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox. Members of other library authorities will need to log in using a different link.