Welcome to the third entry in our blog series 'Lost in the Stacks' - recommendations by Dublin City Libraries staff exploring overlooked gems and helping you find your next read!Our entry today comes from one of our wonderful librarians, Jessica, and looks at some of the best essay collections in our libraries!Essay CollectionsIs there a greater joy than settling comfortably with a beverage of your choice and reading a well-crafted essay?There is a particular form of literary alchemy that takes place in the best essays - the fusion of the personal with social commentary combined with a stylistic elegance. Often offering a unique perspective on a cultural moment or a brief window into another world, a good essay has a habit of staying with you long after the pages have turned and the book is closed.Here is a selection of the very best essay collections for you to enjoy. If you'd like to borrow any of the books discussed below, simply click on the book cover or title to be taken to the reserves page, where you'll need your library card and PIN to request the book.1. Pulphead: dispatches from the other side of America by John Jeremiah SullivanPulphead is a fascinating collection of essays exploring pop culture and subcultures of American life fused with memoir and aspects from the writer’s own life. Written with a gentle wit and probing intelligence, it is hard to resist reading the entire collection in one go.2. Changing my mind: occasional essays by Zadie SmithThis is a fabulous collection of Zadie Smith’s book reviews, film reviews and non-fiction prose. Witty, honest and refreshing, it is a pleasure to dip in and out of.3. Naked by David SedarisDavid Sedaris has cornered the market in humorous memoir based essays. The stories here are sardonic, wry and darkly hilarious with a touch of pathos and just the right amount of hindsight and self-knowledge to balance the comic absurdity.4. Men explain things to me by Rebecca SolnitThe title essay of this book has gained iconic status since it was published but each of the essays in this book are powerful reminders of why we need feminism. Essential reading.5. This is the story of a happy marriage by Ann PatchettAnn Patchett is best known as a novelist but this book collects her earlier non-fiction articles. This is a fabulous collection of personal essays and memoir pieces that explore key moments in her life. Her writing is warm, engaging, and shining through with humour and kindness.
Fiona from Dog's Trust brought her friend Jake the dog to Pearse Street Library on Wednesday, 8th July 2015, where she (Fiona that is, not Jake!) showed the children all they needed to know about looking after a pet.Fiona and Jake are also appearing in Ballymun, Phibsboro', Pembroke, Pearse Street and Raheny during the same week. Check our Events' Listing for details.Above: Jake got a little tired from all the effort at Pearse Street Library. Bless him!We have a wide ranging selection of books and other material on pet care, just some of which you can see in the photo below taken from a recent display in Pearse Street Library. Jake insisted the following list of just some of the titles you can borrow have a heavy emphasis on dogs, his favourite subject (!) (with links to the catalogue):Cats and DogsOwning a Pet DogHow to Look after Your Pet DogLucy the Dog100 Facts on Dogs and PuppiesMy Pet PuppySmall Pet CareYour Ultimate Pet Guide(Click image above to see larger version)
The Dublin Festival of History has just come to a close, after a very successful run. It covered a huge variety of topics, ranging from the Battle of Clontarf to the Spanish Civil War, and hopefully the festival will have whetted your appetite for more exploration of our past. Public libraries offer plenty to read on all of the subjects covered in the festival, and plenty of other historical topics besides. Witches, Spies and Stockholm SyndromeThe medieval period of Ireland is not well known, with very little research available on it, and this book goes a long way in filling the gap. Written in a chatty style, it explores a violent and precarious time, describing the conflict between Gaelic-Irish and Anglo-Norman, where family feuds would easily rival the Hatfields and Mccoys. It encompasses dentistry, transport, the empowerment of the peasantry, the first Irishman to visit China (1320s: who knew!), the Black Death, fire laws, and football. The only issue with this book is the lack of an index, otherwise a great read. Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a DayWritten in the style of a modern travel guide, this accessible and witty book brings to life the expression ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’, covering all aspects of ancient Roman life: where to stay, what to eat, tourist attractions, nightlife, shopping. Very evocative, and proof that history doesn’t have to be dusty and dry. Speaking Ill of the DeadA collection of lectures given by historians, including David Norris, which first aired on RTÉ Radio 1. The premise is simple: each picks a deceased person from Irish history, whose sainted reputation irritates them, and invites us to look at these people from another angle. Termed ‘counter-hagiography’, it’s all done in a refreshing spirit of non-bias and redressing the balance, and covers a range of people from the famous to the obscure. Best quote: ‘Maud Gonne – always the reliable eejit…’ Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!One of the talks in the festival saw Diarmaid Ferriter discussing counterfactualism with Richard J. Evans. Otherwise known as ‘what-if’, it explores the different roads we could have gone down if such and such an event had played out differently. This book examines possible scenarios for us had World War One never happened: for example, without WWI, Lebow reckons we would have had neither WW2 nor the Holocaust; and that poverty would have been eliminated in the developed world. Balancing this, the American civil rights movement could not have taken place and Rosa Parks would have been firmly kicked off the bus. A very thought-provoking read. Mount Street ClubA local history gem, this is the story of the Mount Street Club, set up as a philanthropic society in the 1930s to combat Dublin’s widespread unemployment of the time. At its peak it had hundreds of members, who were enabled to find dignity through self-sufficiency, gaining international recognition for the club’s ideals. It includes lots of fascinating photos of Dublin from the 30s onwards.
Lou Reed passed away on the 27th of October 2013.He was one of the most influential figures in rock music. His first band The Velvet Underground is probably solely responsible for any "Indie Music" we hear today. However he is most famous for two songs, "Walk on the Wild Side" and Perfect Day". The former was a hit in 1972. A most unusual chart song with sparse arrangement of an infectious backing vocal, two note bass line and spoken styled melody of lyrics about transsexuals and prostitution inspired by characters of the pop artist Andy Warhol's hangout, The Factory. The song surfaced again in 1990 as it's memorable bass line was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest as the backbone of their song "Can I kick it?". The latter was "Perfect Day" (the b side to Walk on the Wild side) which had a resurgence in the film Trainspotting and was released by an all star cast as a charity single in 1997. Both songs were featured on the album Transformer.The Velvet Underground were formed in 1964 and played as the house band in Andy Warhol's Factory. Reed and John Cale were the main composers. Their first Album The Velvet Underground and Nico is so unusual, some tracks sound like Bo Diddley duelling with a violin and other tracks are so achingly beautiful and simple the album is hard to forget. There is no point in me trying to explain it, just listen! It is still one of the most unusual records I have ever heard. When you look back to what was happening in the charts at the time, Nancy and Frank Sinatra, The Doors, the world was not ready for The Velvet Underground.The album only sold 30,000 copies, but as musician Brian Eno said "each one of those people who bought the record started a band".Lou Reed went on to record twenty solo albums after The Velvet Underground disbanded. He died of complications following a liver transplant.His life partner is artist Laurie Anderson.
Christmas Holidays - time to curl up with a book...
I love the long, warm, bright summer evenings - but the long, chilly, dark winter evenings have their charms too, as long as I have something good to read. The girls in my house have stored up some special reads for those lazy days between Christmas and New Year. We've had to banish the chosen books from sight so we're not tempted to start reading immediately - there lies grave danger of no present buying, pudding making, tree trimming or other essential ingredients of Christmas. Daughter Number One is hoarding Caitlin Moran's 'Moranthology' - she enjoyed 'How To Be A Woman' and no doubt we'll all dip into this anthology if we get a chance. Her second choice is another anthology, 'We Have a Good Time, Don't We?' by Maeve Higgins. Having loved Maeve's quirky comedy routines and television appearances (especially 'Fancy Vittles' with her sister Lily Higgins) she is looking forward with mounting pleasure to meeting Maeve again in print. If Maeve's recent columns in the Irish Times as stand-in for Róisín Ingle are any indication, the book should be a great read (I'll be waiting in line to grab it as soon as she puts it down).Daughter Number Two is a history addict and has ordered the O'Brien Press graphic novel 'At War With The Empire' by Gerry Hunt - it will be an historic moment in itself if I can keep it out of her hands until after Christmas. She will also probably re-read 'The Fault In Our Stars' a sad and funny coming of age novel by John Green. In fact, given enough time curled up in her new dinosaur 'onsie' she will probably read her way through John Green's entire back catalogue.Both of them will spend many competitive minutes scanning 'Where's Larry' - Ireland's answer to 'Where's Wally' - to find Larry the Leprechaun at the Cliffs of Moher, Newgrange, the St. Patrick's Day Parade and, my favourite, Puck Fair (who says you have to grow up?)And me? I've squirreled away 'Standing in Another Man's Grave', the new Rebus novel by Ian Rankin - fans don't need an explanation. I might also try 'Brother Grimm' by Craig Russell, as recommended by a fellow blogger on this site - who could resist the joint lure of crime and fairytales? Neither daughter is a crime fiction fan (yet) so I won't have to fight to keep the books to myself - though I reserve the right to steal glances at their choices. Roll on the holidays!All seven of our holiday reading choices are available in Dublin City Public Libraries - though you might have to join a waiting list for the more popular titles (or ask Santa). Ten seems to be the magic number for lists, so I'd love to hear your three suggestions to finish the holiday reading list - go on...tell us - who will you be curling up with this Christmas?
A very important and fascinating book was published this year, "Where Were You? Dublin Youth Culture & Street Style 1950-2000" by Garry O'Neil and Niall McCormack.The book is a compilation of photographs documenting social and fashion scenes in Dublin. What sets this book apart is that there are no staged fashion shoots or celebrities, just amazing photographs of everyday people wearing what was in style and ordinary people with extraordinary style.It's a very intimate account of street culture in Dublin. This feeling of intimacy is directly linked to the way in which the material was sourced. Posters were hung up in cafes, bars and shops around the city asking people to send in photos, rather then all the material being collected in newspaper archives.O'Neil travelled around Dublin meeting people to look through their albums and hear about the scenes that were happening at the time. He also received material from different parts of the globe offered by people who had emigrated. The chapters are organised by decades starting with the 50s and 60s.Each chapter has a very readable preface setting the scene for that era by mentioning clubs,dances, streets and shops that were frequented by young people. They also include quotes from people who were interviewed, here is a very good one from the 50s and 60s "You dressed like your folks or you look like you were dressed by your folks". The pages of photographs also have ticket stubs from gigs, posters and flyers for clubs and really cute adverts from the time.It also documents the violence that sometimes surrounded street culture for example the Boot Boys and Skinheads in the seventies. So from suave suits in the sixties to break dancing, skateboarding and raving in the nineties I would highly recommend buying this book. If you've been stuck out in the suburbs for a while borrow or buy this book and you will remember just how colourful Dublin can be.Another interesting layer to this book is O'Neil's collaborator Niall McCormick who is a great graphic artist based in Dublin. Has designed book covers for O'Brien and Lilliput press. After you have enjoyed "Where Were You?" feast your eyes on Niall's website.
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Cicero
I'm staying optimistic that Summer will arrive and we can look forward to long sunny evenings. So while we all come down from the land of soggy books, dripping umbrellas and cloudy skies we can start to get in the mood and think about the outdoor living that lies ahead of us. You can prepare now by checking out the many titles in the library that will inspire you to tidy up and prepare the garden so you’ll be ready to sit back after a long day and relax when the sun does come out.Here are some titles to get you in the mood! The Room Outside, designing your perfect outdoor living space by David Stevens, photographs by Jerry HarpurComplete Garden Manual, consultant, Adam Pasco, contributors, David Stevens [et al.] Keith Floyd Cooks Barbecues by Keith Floyd How to Identify Butterflies by Richard LewingtonThe Bedside Book of the Garden, D.G. Hessayon
101 things you thought you knew about the Titanic.
The book "101 things you thought you knew about the Titanic.... but didn't" is a fascinating study of some of the myths and half-truths that have arisen since that fateful morning of April 15th 1912. (Growing up in Cobh, I reckon I've heard 99 of them!) Author Tim Matlin dispels many of these popular legends using primary sources such as the US Inquiry and the British Inquiry, both of 1912. He also shows that many of these stories are indeed true. The myths are neatly separated into categories such as: The Ship, Omens, Passengers, Collision, S.O.S etc.Below are a few examples to whet your appetite:Titanic was genuinely believed to be unsinkable. This is true as she was designed to stay afloat with any of her two watertight compartments flooded. The glancing blow Titanic received from the iceberg was not foreseen, as it had never happened before according to maritime records.Titanic was filled to capacity on her maiden voyage. False; she was about half full carrying 1,308 passengers out of a total capacity of 2,603.If Titanic had struck the iceberg head-on, she would not have sunk. This is true according to evidence given by Edward Wilding, one of Titanic's designers. He cited the case of the Arizona, which 34 years previously hit an iceberg head-on and survived. Titanic's bows would have been crushed in for 80 or 100 feet but she would have remained afloat according to Wilding. Titanic broke in half as she sank. Yes. This was not discovered until 1985 when her wreck was found on the seabed. Her bow section lay 650 metres North of her stern section.More women were saved from the Titanic than men. False. 338 men were saved and 316 women. This is because only about 25% of the people (passengers and crew) were women.You can find more books on the Titanic in our catalogue.
I read a lot of books over the last year, approximately 290 of which I noted from the library. Over the next few weeks I'm going to pick out a few that stood out from the herd. This week is Non-Fiction.Of all the books I read from the library some stood out, I couldn't pick a small number but I'm going to put them into themes and pick the best of that theme. Sometimes it's hard to pick just one, the first listed is my favourite, the rest are in no particular order. This isn't a definitive list, it's a list of books that are readable alone or are the start of a series, that I read during 2011, that stood out above the others and that I would recommend to others.Non-fiction is a tricky selection, there were some others during the year that were excellent cookbooks or excellent knitting books but these are the more readable, or with chunks of interesting text. I had to draw a line somewhere and these were the ones I found it difficult to put down. With Wooden Sword : A Portrait of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington by Leah Levenson is by far the book that gave me the most interesting non-fiction read this year. About a man who was a pacifist and feminist and was killed during the 1916 rising. A man I had never really heard much about until this book happened to cross my desk travelling elsewhere. I suppose I should really thank the person who underlined huge chunks of this book in pencil, without them and my having to erase it I would never have been caught by this bookContemporary Irish Knits by Carol Feller - an interesting exploration of Irish mills and a modern twist on some patterns. I had been eagerly anticipating this one when I heard about it's release and I wasn't disappointed.Delusions of Gender - Cordelia Fine - interesting look at some of the gender assumptions and research.Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot - tragic and sometimes scary story of one woman's impact on modern medicine, after her death!
Rachel Allen’s new cook book 'Easy Meals. Over 180 Delicious Recipes to get you Through your Life' is now available to borrow from Dublin City Public Libraries. Included in her new book are lots of quick and trouble-free recipes and plenty of great ideas such as her one pot recipes and recipes that have just five ingredients.As always her book is full of colourful pictures and has lots of interesting and original combinations of ingredients for example Pork, Chorizo, Haricot Beans with Red Wine and Chickpea and Aubergine Salad.Some of my personal favourites include her; Oreo Chocolate Fudge Sundae, Cinnamon Baked Apple, Bacon and Potato Gratin, Tarragon Chicken and Lemon Pasta with Crème Fraiche and the Baked Mushroom Risotto. Rachel has an extensive collection of cookery books and DVD’s which are available to borrow from Dublin City Public Libraries.Other Rachel Allen titles available in Dublin City Public Libraries include: Entertaining at homeHome cooking.Rachel’s Favourite Food at home.Rachel’s Favourite food for living.Bake. or alternatively, her DVDs are also available:Rachel’s Favourite Food.Rachel’s Favourite Food at home.Rachel's Favourite Food for Friends.