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,
When my parents discovered the Happy Pear in November 2019, I thought to myself, ‘this is going to be another one of their phases’. For instance, a few years ago my father took up jam making. It’s not that my parents can’t cook. On the contrary, they can cook, very well! It’s that, when they decide that they like something, they throw themselves wholeheartedly into it… and then two months later, they have moved on. The jam sugar with added pectin… well, it’s still in the press.So who could blame me for being a tad sceptical, when my mother asked me to borrow two Happy Pear cookbooks from BorrowBox? Being the dutiful daughter that I am, I did. For those of you who haven’t heard of the Happy Pear, they are Irish twins, David and Stephen Flynn. They have written several cookbooks on Vegetarian and Vegan cooking. Part of their philosophy is to get people to eat more fruit and veg and in order to accomplish this; they have made their dishes as tasty and appealing as possible.The Happy PearThe first book that I borrowed was “The Happy Pear’’. It’s the first cookbook by the duo, and I can see why it’s a bestseller! First, it’s packed full of colourful photos showcasing their dishes. It’s really important to me as a reader that I have a good idea of how the finished product should look. The book is divided into sections, breakfasts, soups, mains etc. It’s easy to navigate and the ingredients are simple and inexpensive to source.I have tried many, but not all of their recipes. One of the recipes that stood out to me is the ‘Falafels with Red Pepper Relish’. What I love about this dish is that it is tasty and easy to make. It’s light and perfect for summer. Another favourite of mine is their ‘Thai Coconut, Sweet Potato and Lemongrass Soup’. This recipe has minimal preparation time; it’s ideal for mid-week lunches. Also, check out their ‘Happy Pear House Salad With Pumpkin Seed And Parsley Pesto’. It took me fifteen minutes to prepare and it’s super tasty! What more could you ask for? The final chapter of the book includes a glossary of the pair’s favourite ingredients that they use in their recipes. It explains what each ingredient is and why you should incorporate them into your diet. All in all, for a debut cookbook, this one is a hit!The Happy Pear: Recipes for HappinessThe second book that I borrowed was “The Happy Pear: Recipes for Happiness’’. In my opinion, this cookbook contains more summer recipes than it’s previous counterpart. Which is perfect, because we are right in the middle of summer! One of my favourite recipes in the book is the ‘Ultimate Fifteen Minute Burger’. The burgers can be cooked in the oven or on the barbecue, so you can enjoy this delicious recipe all year round! I can’t get enough of their ‘‘Meatball’ Sub’. It is a versatile recipe that works well for both lunch and dinner. Also, I would recommend that you try the duo’s ‘Quick-Fire Burritos’. It is one of their tastiest recipes and has become quite the go-to recipe for me. It’s so quick to make and if you are on a budget, you can’t go wrong. I am also a huge fan of their ‘Gluten Free Bread’. It’s healthy, tasty and great with homemade jam. A major selling point for me is that their recipes are inexpensive- they work on any budget. The Happy Pear even includes a chapter in the book on budgeting and meal planning. They show the reader how to prepare a week of meals on a small budget. The meals are tasty, healthy and don’t break the bank! I really enjoyed this book. It’s definitely a firm favourite of mine.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 Eimear from Raheny Library.
The strength of a biography of the artist lies in the reader’s desperate willingness to explore and re-examine the fruits of the artist’s labour. On completing William Shatner’s autobiography Up Till Now, I studied the author’s revolutionary interpretation of Henry V (or Henry Five as the author refers to it); his Maoist deconstruction of the role in Michael Langham’s 1953 production led to a reconceptualisation of the art of acting - a counterpoint to Christopher Plummer’s more classical interpretation.To be sure, there are three aspects to this autobiography: firstly, Mr. Shatner has an opinion on everything, his quicksilver mind often leads the reader on an intellectual tangent through a postmodern thicket; secondly, the author is a raconteur of the highest order - his scuttlebug on the film and television industry is only matched by David Niven’s The Moon’s a Balloon; thirdly, his analysis on his approach and practice of his craft.Mr. Shatner’s development of ‘Shatnerism’ - the iconic mellifluous, halting and staccato cadence; his use of the ‘loud whisper’; the iconoclastic urgency - engulfs all the roles he inhabits: observe the sinister Adam Cramer in The Intruder (1962); consider his avant-garde Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar (1955); reflect on his personification of LBJ’s ‘Great Society’ as Captain Kirk in Star Trek (1966-1969). These landmark performances only whetted the appetite of this reader for the work of this acting colossus that I have yet to see. I yearn to see ‘Shatnerism’ in action in the metaphysical horror written entirely in Esperanto, Incubus; or White Comanche (1968) whither Mr. Shatner plays the dual roles of the peyote addicted twin brothers Johnny Moon and Notah.Imagine, if you will, a man, an artist who boldly goes where no other Canadian actor has gone before - narrating an audiobook version of Ulysses: ‘Stately. Plump. Buck Mulligan. Came. From the stairhead. Bearing a bowl. Of. Lather. On which. A. Mirror. And a. Razor lay……………...Crossed.’ Set phasers to stunning.Up Till Now by William Shatner is available to download 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. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox. Members of other library authorities will need to log in using a different link.Submitted by Tom in Drumcondra Library.
‘The book is better’ is a well rehearsed librarian’s film review. Well usually the book is better, but in this case, ‘Jaws’ is the original summer block busting film and a watershed (pardon the pun) in cinema history. You can’t turn on the television these days without ‘Jaws’ or the sequels being screened on one station or another. Everybody can quote the lines, wear the t-shirt, and play the theme tune on the piano. But what of the book from which it originated?To some extent the success of the film resulted in the book being eclipsed and latterly somewhat dismissed. But the novel sold 5.5 million copies in USA by the time the film was even released. Written by Peter Benchley, published in February 1974, ‘Jaws’ spent 44 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The film rights to the book were bought before it was even published, with the film directed by Steven Spielberg shot and released shortly after in June 1975. So it’s got to be worth a read right?FilmThe characters are recognisable from the film, but differ in many regards. Similarly the story varies on major areas of plotline, not least who survives to tell the tale, and the fate of the fish. The story is pretty much akin to the film - a great white shark is dining on bathers off the coast of Amity a seaside resort town, Long Island, New York.The local police chief tries to temporarily close the beaches to keep bathers from harm, and figure a way to deal with the shark. He finds there are more slippery fish to deal with on land than the one in the water. Particularly in wrangling corrupt Mayor Vaughan and his selectmen who want to retain those tourist dollars and keep the beaches open for financial health of Amity.The chief must hire Quint and Hooper’s expertise, leave his wife and kids, and take to the seas to deal with his community’s pest control issues. So far so familiar, but there are key differences which make this an edgier take than the film, and may for some, be unpalatable.Chief Martin Brody born and bred in Amity is a blue collar cop, wary of the well healed out of towners who invade the island every summer. He is a man of duty and pragmatism in service to his community. Quite a lot of the films lighter moments are channelled through Spielberg’s chief Brody. But Benchley’s Brody is sullen; he wears his working class roots in earnest, his police stripes with great pride, and his authority with dedication. Benchley’s Brody is wracked with self doubt and insecurities about his worth and potency. He is driven by a will to prove his value and protect those around him.BookBook version Ellen Brody is a different fish to the film version Ellen Brody. Benchley’s Ellen Body is to an extent a trophy wife. She’s a step up for Brody from his own people. She’s missing her life before marriage and children. She fears she settled for Martin Brody. Her need to feel vital sees her turn sexual predator, her flirtations leading to subsequent infidelity that will either drive her away from or back into her husband’s arms. She’s not the Spielbergian archetypical Mom and certainly won’t be offering anyone coffee ice-cream.Mayor Larry Vaughan is willing to sacrifice consumers to keep beaches and business open. Exploiting the coastal environment in which he exists, he maintains devotion to the almighty dollar. Benchley doesn’t give Vaughan a moment of humanity – he’s not a crazy anchor motifed suit wearing caricature. There is no ‘My kids were on that beach too’ moment of redemption here. Vaughan is the villain. In fact it transpires in the book Vaughan is actually protecting a real estate deal with mafia investment. To Mayor Vaughan the shark is an economic problem, not a public health issue. Benchley’s Mayor Larry Vaughan is the manifestation of rogue materialism. Vaughan eventually cuts his losses and does a runner.Ichthyologist Matt Hooper is a charmless man. He is a rich graduate, slick, egotistical and unlikable. He is a man of science, but conversely not a man of reason. Potentially he may be able to control nature, but as we see he cannot even curb his own desires. His dalliance with another man’s wife, in satisfying his lust and realising his blinkered selfish will, is a harbinger of wherein lies his fate. His scientific equipment and college earned education are all there is between him and the shark. There is no bottle of red and white wine, this Hooper doesn’t care about anyone except himself.Quint is a professional shark hunter the skipper on a small vessel called the Orca. Quint is the indigenous sage. He knows things about his local environment. He has learned through experience not books. Quint though is driven by his will to conquer and master all he surveys. He uses instinct and brute force. Quint in the book is particularly cruel and nihilistic- a harpoon too far in the books case. (I have to say at this point that Robert Shaw’s ‘Indianapolis Speech’ is the best scene in ‘Jaws’ bar none, maybe even the best film monologue ever. ‘So eleven hundred men went in the water, 316 men came out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb’. But Benchley didn’t write it).The shark is dispassionate, a cold eyed monster, with no anthropomorphic traits, its motivation is pure survival. The shark can be read as anti-capitalist allegory, the shark as a basic threat to profit that must be eradicated. Or the shark may represent the unpredictable force/ mans primal fear of nature. Or some sort of castration symbolism and comment on modern manhood. Or whatever you’re having with your chips and mushy peas. The shark in the book ‘Jaws’ doesn’t have the same fate as the film.The shark hunting in the book is a matter of livelihood, and prestige. The relationship between the men on the Orca is tense and terse – ego reigns. They do not get along and seem to really hate each other. There is no bonhomie, no joining together. They are all motivated by separate drives. If they just put aside ego and operated as a collective, for the greater good, they might stand a better chance of survival. But with this individualism - who lives, who dies is unpredictable – can they redeem themselves?Book versus filmSo why bother with the book if the film is so good? Well the book is a solid page turner and a great summer read. It is a rawer take on all scores than the film. ‘Jaws’ can be read in COVID-19 days as a teaching on the pandemic, the economy, on political mistrust. A basic indiscriminate force of nature threatens death upon a society already beset by problems. Politicians protect the economy ahead of public health. Business as usual reigns in the hopes the contagion will kill only a few in its lifetime and burn itself out.Alright it may be regarded as a dime store read but it actually has a literary lineage. ‘Jaws’ greatly resembles Henrik Ibsen’s play ‘An Enemy of the People’ in which the mayor of a small spa town copes with a water contamination that might drive away the tourists and the town’s chance of survival. The comparisons to Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ too are inevitable, with the pursuit at all costs of a large fish. And it’s not so far-fetched as you’d imagine either - the book is reminiscent of the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, where fatalities numbered 4, and 1 seriously injured by a bull shark.‘What had once seemed shallow and tedious now loomed in memory like paradise’, Peter Benchley.Submitted by Sleeve Notes Drumcondra Library.
Now that you have seen almost every movie and TV show ever made you have probably realised that it is no coincidence that great books, in the right hands, often make great movies and television.From Normal People, and Game of Thrones, to The Lord of the Rings and The Godfather, now is a great time to read the original book versions using either our ‘Call and Collect’ service. And, if you are having problems finding an item don’t forget to try the “Ask a Librarian” service.Normal People by Sally RooneyConnell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years.This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us - blazingly - about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney's second novel breathes fiction with new life.Longlisted Women's Prize for Fiction 2019. Longlisted Australian Book Industry Award 2019. Winner Costa Book Award 2018. Submitted by Manus in Pearse Street Library.Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader if you prefer too! 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.
For the love of libraries: The Library Book by Susan Orlean
On the morning of 29 April 1986 a fire broke out in Los Angeles Public Library. It became the biggest library fire in American history: it raged for more than seven hours, destroying more than 400,000 books and badly damaging the building. The people of Los Angeles were distraught because they loved their library.When Susan Orlean, a writer and journalist with ‘The New Yorker,’ moved to Los Angeles in 2011, this crime was still unresolved: how did the fire start? Was it set deliberately and if so, why would someone want to burn down a library?Orlean was fascinated and launched her own investigation into the fire. She reviews the police files, studies the physics of fire and the investigation of arson while at the same time referencing the history of library fires. She re-examines the case of the potential suspect and talks about her own love of libraries, merging true crime with history, biography and investigative journalism.What she discovers is truly fascinating but ‘The Library Book’ is much more than just a crime story: it is a declaration of love for libraries.In trying to understand the fire and its impact on Los Angeles, Orlean delves into the world of libraries. She writes about all the things libraries do, the people who use them and the library staff who work there, introducing the reader to this ‘intricate machine, a contraption of whirring gears’ and the role it plays in the lives of people and communities.To me, this book feels like a warm hug for library lovers everywhere. I absolutely loved it. So if you are like me and love libraries and want to find more about them, this is the book for you.Submitted by Charlotte from Kevin Street LibraryAccess 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.
Is “Spark Joy, an Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying” really a life changer or just another fashion trend? Is the ‘queen of tidying’ deserving of her title? Marie Kondo’s chuck it if it doesn’t spark joy method of tidying is a great way to tackle the often tumultuous job of tidying providing a guide to the decision making necessary in choosing the things you really want to bring with you into the future.Kondo has made tidying her life’s work. She did a thesis on tidying in college and went on to become a successful author and business woman with her own American TV series. The KonMari method of tidying is based on a simple philosophy of love it or chuck it but she has never said it was easy. Taking a journey with Kondo involves commitment, visualisation and discarding along with master classes in folding, sorting and storing. Tidying by category and sticking with the work order and the criterion promises to bring about a new order not just in the home but across life. The book is beautifully illustrated with simple but effective childlike drawings.By following the KonMari method of tidying a value system is developed that simply cannot exist with accumulating clutter and therefore becomes a plan for life. Kondo helps people hone into their feelings to identify the items that ‘spark joy’ breeding confidence in deciding what they should keep and what to let go. She believes that for successful tidying a transfer of concentration from what you want to get rid of to what you want to keep is necessary. The result is a positive mindset and a perspective which when applied regularly in the home transfers across to all life allowing a new setting and a joyful future.As a self professed tidying freak Kondo found that restoring order in the home was a way to relieve anxiety. In these Covid times as we are spending more time then ever in the home and garden we have an opportunity to look around us and take care of our possessions. Many have taken to tidying with gusto but it can be overwhelming. Kondo explains tidying as the act of self confrontation achieved by facing the mess we have created head on allowing for the restoration of order. As mess and clutter are often indicators of unhappiness, practising the KonMari method of tidying can result in a change in outlook.Kondo, always respectful of the individual, insists that a person should never be forced to tidy if they don’t wish to.There is a deeply spiritual dimension to Kondo’s simple philosophy on tidying. She approaches her work with a grace and reverence rarely seen in the western world. Her driving force is her wish to share her message and bring joy into peoples lives, a laudable ambition. There is a history in Japanese culture of treating things with special care. Kondo often startles people when she goes on her knees to thank the house before embarking on a tidying spree. She recommends thanking each item individually for service rendered before discarding referring to the Japanese tradition of treating things with reverence acknowledging “the pathos of things.”She believes that by taking the time to sense an entity’s essence and it’s transience we can connect and be touched by nature, art and the lives of others. Reconnecting with the world is empowering and stimulates empathy enabling us to be kinder to ourselves and each other. In the western world we live in a consumer based society which often ceases to recognise our basic needs as social beings for a happy life resulting in high anxiety, a growing phenomena of our age. Perhaps if we put our houses in order we’ll arrive at a place where we can care for the things and the people who serve us well not only in this time of pandemic but in the everyday.Marie Kondo has earned her title of ‘the queen of tidying’ and her claim that adherence to the KonMari system of tidying as life changing is true. Submitted by Liz, Pearse Street 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.
Robin Stevens is an American-born English woman author of children's fiction, best known for her Murder Most Unladylike series. She has spoken of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction as an influence on her work.First Class Murder Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are holidaying on the famous Orient Express. No sooner have the girls boarded the train than it becomes clear that all the passengers in first class have something to hide. Then out of the blue, a piercing scream can be heard from one of the cabins, and a wealthy heiress is found dead. The heiress’s cabin was locked from the inside, the killer has vanished and the girls are called into action! However, the girls aren’t the only detectives onboard. There is tough competition from the other sleuths, who are just as determined to crack the case and save the day!Top Marks For MurderDaisy and Hazel are back at Deepdean, just in time for the schools fiftieth anniversary. Plans are being made for a weekend of celebrations and everyone is looking forward to the weekend’s festivities. However, trouble is brewing. In the girls’ absence, Deepdean has changed. Daisy has lost her title to a new girl-and many of Hazel and Daisy’s old allies have become their sworn enemies! Then, to make matters worse, the girls find themselves witnesses to a ghastly crime, in the woods beside Deepdean. Certain that the crime is linked to the school’s anniversary, the girl’s find themselves in a race against time to save their beloved school. Top Marks For Murder is the perfect book to keep kids occupied this summer. A great read for junior sleuths everywhere. I really enjoyed it!Death in the spotlight No sooner are Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells back from their recent adventures in Hong Kong than their detective skills are called upon once more. Hazel and Daisy are just about to embark on a brand new challenge: acting! But it’s not long after the duo arrive at London’s Rue Theatre that disaster strikes! Jealousy, threats and horrible pranks quickly spiral out of control- then a body is found. There’s a killer on the loose. Now the girls must solve the case before the murder strikes again.Arsenic for TeaHazel Wong and Daisy Wells are spending the holidays at Fallingford, Daisy’s family home. It’s Daisy’s birthday and Daisy’s mother is throwing a tea party to celebrate. The whole family is invited, even eccentric Aunt Saskia and dashing Uncle Felix. No sooner have the guests arrived than Daisy realises the party isn’t for her at all. Naturally, Daisy is angry. Then, one of the guests takes seriously ill. Things don’t add up- and the girls soon realise that everything points to poison! To make matters worse, no one can leave Fallingford because of the heavy storm. With no help in sight, the Detective Society must do everything they can do uncover the truth. They must be careful though, because no one is quite who they seem.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.