Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Book Round-Up. Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and all week long, I’ve been thinking about Ireland, Irish authors and stories that take place on the Emerald Isle. There’s something magical about Irish stories and authors. Depending on the genre, they can be gritty, mystical and give me all the feels. I’ve compiled a list of fourteen books by some of my favorite authors from Ireland. I hope you enjoy my list and would love to hear your recommendations.
The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis
The Four Loves is a book by C. S. Lewis which explores the nature of love from a Christian and philosophical perspective through thought experiments. The book was based on a set of radio talks from 1958, criticised in the US at the time for their frankness about sexTaking his start from St. John's words "God is Love", Lewis initially thought to contrast "Need-love" (such as the love of a child for its mother) and "Gift-love" (epitomized by God's love for humanity), to the disparagement of the former. However he swiftly happened on the insight that the natures of even these basic categorizations of love are more complicated than they at first seemed: a child's need for parental comfort is a necessity, not a selfish indulgence, while conversely parental Gift-love in excessive form can be a perversion of its own.
The Green Road by Anne Enright
By the Booker Award-winning bestselling author of The Gathering, The Green Road is Anne Enright's virtuoso new novel, her most compelling and powerful to date
A darkly glinting novel set mainly in a small town on Ireland's Atlantic coast, The Green Road is a story of fracture and family, selfishness and compassion -- a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we learn to fill them.
The children of Rosaleen Madigan grow up in the West of Ireland, in a world that is about to change. When her oldest brother, Dan, announces he will enter the priesthood, young Hanna watches her mother retreat in sorrow to her bed. In the years that follow, three of the children leave home for lives they could never have imagined. Dan for the frenzy of New York under the shadow of AIDS; Emmet for the backlands of Mali where he learns the fragility of love and order; actress Hanna for modern-day Dublin and the trials of motherhood. In her early old age, their difficult, wonderful mother, Rosaleen, decides to sell the family home, the house she was born in and where she raised her own family, with all its ghosts and memories. Her adult children visit for Christmas, carrying with them the complications of their present lives and the old needs of childhood as they are brought face to face with their mother's ageing and the effects her decision will have on them all.
In this extraordinary and intimate story of one family, Enright has also given us a portrait of our times. This is a major work of fiction by one of the most exciting writers of our time.
The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes
Stella Sweeny writes off her car . . . and his. But is it a blessing in disguise or just a taste of more to come? Entertaining and uplifting, The Woman Who Stole My Life is BESTSELLING author Marian Keyes' intriguing tale of finding true happiness in unexpected places . . .
Ever wished you could trade your life in for a better one?
One day, sitting in traffic, married Dublin mum Stella Sweeney attempts a good deed, collides with a Range Rover and meets a handsome man who wants her telephone number. She thinks he is arrogant and dismisses the incident.
But in this meeting is born the seed of something which will take Stella thousands of miles from her old life, turning an ordinary woman into a superstar and, along the way , wrenching her whole family apart.
Was meeting Mr Range Rover destiny or karma? Should she be grateful or just hopping mad? And can she grab a chance at real, honest-to-goodness happiness now it finally seems within her reach?
Dubliners by James Joyce
Although James Joyce began these stories of Dublin life in 1904, when he was 22, and had completed them by the end of 1907, they remained unpublished until 1914 — victims of Edwardian squeamishness. Their vivid, tightly focused observations of the life of Dublin's poorer classes, their unconventional themes, coarse language, and mention of actual people and places made publishers of the day reluctant to undertake sponsorship.
Today, however, the stories are admired for their intense and masterly dissection of "dear dirty Dublin," and for the economy and grace with which Joyce invested this youthful fiction. From "The Sisters," the first story, illuminating a young boy's initial encounter with death, through the final piece, "The Dead," considered a masterpiece of the form, these tales represent, as Joyce himself explained, a chapter in the moral history of Ireland that would give the Irish "one good look at themselves." But in the end the stories are not just about the Irish; they represent moments of revelation common to all people.
A Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
It began with Benny Hogan and Eve Malone, growing up, inseparable, in the village of Knockglen. Benny—the only child, yearning to break free from her adoring parents...Eve—the orphaned offspring of a convent handyman and a rebellious blueblood, abandoned by her mother's wealthy family to be raised by nuns. Eve and Benny—they knew the sins and secrets behind every villager's lace curtains...except their own.
It widened at Dublin, at the university where Benny and Eve met beautiful Nan Mahlon and Jack Foley, a doctor's handsome son. But heartbreak and betrayal would bring the worlds of Knockglen and Dublin into explosive collision. Long-hidden lies would emerge to test the meaning of love and the strength of ties held within the fragile gold bands of a...Circle Of Friends.
The Man by Bram Stoker
The Man is a 1905 Victorian novel by Bram Stoker, best known for Dracula. A typical Gothic novel, it features horror and romance. The Man has also been published as The Gates of Life.
A lesser known story than Dracula but terrific all the same.
The Glorious Heresies: Winner of the Baileys' Women's Prize for Fiction 2016 by Lisa McInerney
WINNER OF THE BAILEYS' WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016
WINNER OF THE DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE 2016
We all do stupid things when we're kids.
Ryan Cusack's grown up faster than most - being the oldest of six with a dead mum and an alcoholic dad will do that for you.
And nobody says Ryan's stupid. Not even behind his back.
It's the people around him who are the problem. The gangland boss using his dad as a 'cleaner'. The neighbour who says she's trying to help but maybe wants something more than that. The prostitute searching for the man she never knew she'd miss until he disappeared without trace one night . . .
The only one on Ryan's side is his girlfriend Karine. If he blows that, he's all alone.
But the truth is, you don't know your own strength till you need it.
A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle
An historical novel like none before it, A Star Called Henry marks a new chapter in Booker Prize-winner Roddy Doyle's writing. It is a vastly more ambitious book than any he has previously written. A subversive look behind the legends of Irish republicanism, at its centre a passionate love story, this new novel is a triumphant work of fiction.
Born in the slums of Dublin in 1902, his father a one-legged whorehouse bouncer and settler of scores, Henry Smart has to grow up fast. By the time he can walk he's out robbing, begging, charming, often cold, always hungry, but a prince of the streets. At fourteen, already six foot two, Henry's in the General Post Office on Easter Monday 1916, a soldier in the Irish Citizen Army, fighting for freedom. A year later he's ready to die for Ireland again, a rebel, a Fenian, and, soon, a killer. With his father's wooden leg as his weapon, Henry becomes a republican legend - one of Michael Collins' boys, a cop killer, an assassin on a stolen bike, a lover.
Flawed: A Novel by Cecelia Ahern
Celestine North lives a perfect life. She's a model daughter and sister, she's well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she's dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.
But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.
In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which obedience is paramount and rebellion is punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde
On the surface, Sir Robert Chiltern is an ideal husband—he has an impressive role as a member of the House of Commons and is always respectable in public and in private. His wife, Lady Chiltern, is proud of their privileged life. What she does not know is that Sir Robert’s initial rise to power was founded in slightly shady circumstances, and over the course of twenty-four hours, these past indiscretions threaten to come to light, and the fate of the Chiltern’s marriage is soon at stake.
One of Oscar Wilde’s most popular plays, An Ideal Husband originally ran for more than one hundred performances. Well received by critics for its wit, humor, and excellent characters, An Ideal Husband solidified Oscar Wilde's position as one of the most talented dramatists of the Victorian period.
A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works by Jonathan Swift
The originality, concentrated power and "fierce indignation" of his satirical writing have earned Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) a reputation as the greatest prose satirist in English language.
Gulliver's Travels is, of course, his world-renowned masterpiece in the genre; however, Swift wrote other, shorter works that also offer excellent evidence of his inspired lampoonery. Perhaps the most famous of these is "A Modest Proposal," in which he straight-facedly suggests that Ireland could solve its hunger problems by using its children for food. Also included in this collection are "The Battle of the Books," "A Meditation upon a Broomstick," "A Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit," and "An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity in England." This inexpensive edition will certainly be welcomed by teachers and students of English literature, but its appeal extends to any reader who delights in watching a master satirist wield words as weapons.
The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen
The Last September is Elizabeth Bowen's portrait of a young woman's coming of age in a brutalized time and place, where the ordinariness of life floats like music over the impending doom of history.
In 1920, at their country home in County Cork, Sir Richard Naylor and his wife, Lady Myra, and their friends maintain a skeptical attitude toward the events going on around them, but behind the facade of tennis parties and army camp dances, all know that the end is approaching the end of British rule in the south of Ireland and the demise of a way of life that had survived for centuries. Their niece, Lois Farquar, attempts to live her own life and gain her own freedoms from the very class that her elders are vainly defending. The Last September depicts the tensions between love and the longing for freedom, between tradition and the terrifying prospect of independence, both political and spiritual.
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales by William Butler Yeats
-- Nobel Prize winning writer and poet W.B. Yeats included almost every sort of Irish folk in this marvelous compendium of fairy tales and songs that he collected and edited for publication in 1892.
-- Yeats was fascinated by Irish myths and folklore, and joined forces with the writers of the Irish Literary Revival. He studied Irish folk tales and chose to reintroduce the glory and significance of Ireland's past through this unique literature.
Mother America by Nuala Ní Chonchúir
In Mother America and other stories mothers tattoo their children and abduct them; they act as surrogates and they use charms to cure childhood illnesses. The story ‘Letters’ sees an Irish mother cling to love of her son, though he abandoned her in New York, where loneliness is alleviated only by letters she cannot read. In ‘Queen of Tattoo’, Lydia, the tattooed lady from the Groucho Marx song, tries to understand why her son is a bad man. Set in Ireland and America, as well as Paris, Rome and Mexico, these stories map the lives of parents and the boundaries they cross. Ní Chonchúir’s sinewy prose dazzles as she exposes the follies of motherhood as well as its triumphs. Once again she spotlights the contradictions and fierce loves that shake up the life of the family.
Who’s your favorite Irish author and why? Share in the comments below and don’t forget to share using the buttons below. See you next week!
MRS N, Book Addict