The Next Best Book Club discussion


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message 1: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments This might not be an easy question, but I know you are all so great....
As I came to live in Dublin not long ago, I would like to read some books by Irish writers or set in ireland, even better if it is Dublin. But I would like to connect it to the winter challenge. Anybody any ideas? I have already a book with the word winter and I am reading an over 700 pages book, so not for those two.

message 2: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) Angela's Ashes? That's the only one I know - never read anything about Ireland. I should really.

message 3: by Jen B (new)

Jen B (jennybee618) Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite Irish writers. I think a couple of her books have been made into movies - Tara Road and Circle of Friends (but I don't know if you've already seen those). Most of hers are also quite lengthy, too...some maybe over 700 pages.

message 4: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Flann O'Brien

At Swim-Two-Birds
The Third Policeman

Not sure how to relate Flann O'Brien to the winter challenge -- there's no category for "read a book in which the characters inspire to overthrow the narrator and seize control of their destinies" or "read a book in which people and bicycles develop unnatural relationships."

message 5: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) OK - I just read the last two books of a trilogy by Nora Roberts. The whole series is set in Ireland.

Born in Fire
Born in Ice
Born in Shame

Ice was the best of the last two.

message 6: by A.J. (new)

A.J. I forgot, Roddy Doyle.

The Commitments
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
The Woman Who Walked into Doors

Again, I don't know how to fit those into the winter challenge, but....

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 1736 comments Books by Nora Roberts I would think would definitely qualify as romances. Maybe also those of Maeve Binchy.

message 8: by Laura (last edited Dec 11, 2008 06:47PM) (new)

Laura (apenandzen) For the trilogy - you could read them as books in a series OR as a book with a winter weather word in the title (Born in Ice) - oh and they are all romance novels, as Susanna said.

message 9: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Funny ones all of to the winter challenge?? :-)
But thanks for the suggestions. I adore Maeve Binchy books, but Angela's Ashes makes me already negative and sad just thinking about it....

Oh thanks Laura, the romance novel would be good. The winter word I have read one already, was planning on reading HP 3 and 4...but could change it.
I always wanted to read Roddy Doyle too but first want to do the wintr challenge.

message 10: by Bettie☯ (new)

Bettie☯ Tana French is mighty good - suburban Dublin settings

message 11: by Donna (new)

Donna | 137 comments Hi Jeane, Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane is an interesting short book about growing up in Ireland in the 1940s and 50s. Also there are 2 noir mysteries by Benjamin Black (aka John Banville)Christine Falls and the sequal The Silver Swan which are set in Dublin in the 1950s.

I agree with Bettie that Tana French's books are mighty good too.

message 12: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Thank you thank you
Tomorrow I am applying for my library card here and from then
Donna and Bettie your suggestions are new to me but sound really interesting.

message 13: by Petra X (new)

Petra X (PetraX) Hi there Jeane. George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats and Samuel Beckett were all born in Dublin and all won the Nobel Prize for literature. GBS is very entertaining.

message 14: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Andrew: I bought this - Flann O'Brien At Swim-Two-Birds - 8 centuries ago and it's still sitting on my shelf. What's it like?

I forgot, Roddy Doyle.
Rover Saves Christmas by Roddy Doyle

message 15: by JG (The Introverted Reader) (last edited Dec 13, 2008 01:11AM) (new)

JG (The Introverted Reader) For the "Read a book and it's sequel" you could read The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga and The Rebels of Ireland: The Dublin Saga, but they're both pretty long. Looks like you've already got the first one on your tbr shelf though.

Edit: OR you could read The Princes of Ireland for the "Read a book whose title contains king, queen, etc.) and then read Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows for the "read a book and its sequel." Be warned that this is really a trilogy and you just might have to finish it though! :-)

For the "Read A Historical Fiction Book Featuring A Famous Historic Personality" challenge you could read The Wild Irish: A Novel of Elizabeth I and the Pirate O'Malley.

I've never heard of her, but Nuala O'Faolain's name jumped out for the "read a book by an author who died in 2008" challenge. She is Irish.

The Other Side of the Story: A Novel is pretty good, but I'm having a hard time making it fit into the challenge. Maybe if your new year's resolution is to write it would work (two of the main characters are writers) for the new year's resolution challenge.

The Deception of the Emerald Ring is another fun little book that I'm having a hard time fitting in. It's the third of a series (the only one set in Ireland), but they do mostly stand alone. It would definitely fit as a romance, and it might possibly fit as a mystery if you really stretch it.

Singing Bird also might work as a mystery. Not a murder mystery, but the lady is trying to figure out who the birth mother of her adopted daughter is.

Any of our general suggestions that don't really work for anything else could be made to work for the "check a book out from your local library challenge" or maybe even the "pick out a book from your tbr list" challenge.

Wow, this got crazily long. Sorry! Once I really started thinking about it, I started thinking of all kinds of books set in Ireland. And I do agree with the others that Maeve Binchy is really good. I hope that this was of some help!

message 16: by silvia (new)

silvia  | 282 comments I'm thinking oscar wildehe was irish, you ca use it for the movie/book task

also james joyce although I dont know how to squezze him. I've read the dubliniers a short stories anthology and liked it(he's hard to read)

message 17: by A.J. (new)

A.J. I bought this - Flann O'Brien At Swim-Two-Birds - 8 centuries ago and it's still sitting on my shelf. What's it like?

Strange but good. Very original. And funny, although some of the humour is kind of obscure. I suspect that the less you know about Ireland, the less it will make sense.

The upshot is you have a student/writer (somewhat Stephen Dedalus) writing a novel, in which the characters rebel against the roles in which the author casts them. The book is reflexively about writing as much as anything else.

message 18: by Liz M (new)

Liz M 10. Read A Book With A Title Containing The Name Of A Body Part (Eg. Hand, Nail, Finger, Toe, Etc).
The Girl with Green Eyes or Bad blood

9. Read A Book With December, January, Or February In The Title.
Wild Decembers

4. For Valentine’s Day: Read a Book with the Word Love, Romance, Kiss, Valentine, Cupid, Sweetheart or Heart in the Title.
The Love Department or
Lovers of Their Time and Other Stories

message 19: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Wow JG, should have come on this page before going to the library this morning!!!!!

message 20: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Thanks Andrew, I'll stick it back on my to read list... *sigh* I don't read nearly as fast as I used to. I fall asleep too quickly, positively narcoleptic in me old age...

message 21: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Do keep coming with the suggestions!!! They might maybe not really help with my winter challenge :-))) but they do with my TBR shelves!!!!

message 22: by Bettie☯ (new)

Bettie☯ not a book as such - but radio drama called Baldi, soft crime detection series with a priest as protagonist.Set in Dublin and very popular as most of your new neighbours will indubitably attest too.

message 23: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Bettie, do you mean this is not in book version? It sounds interesting. i like crime, detective stories.

message 24: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments I changed the title and left winter challenge out ebcause we have a spring challenge that has really ireland in it and I want to find great ones too for jsut reading.

message 25: by Bettie☯ (new)

Bettie☯ Jeane wrote: "Bettie, do you mean this is not in book version? It sounds interesting. i like crime, detective stories."

it was a series done on BBC Radio - it was very good. Yes there is an Irish section for March which should help in your selections. Did anyone mention Father Ted to you? My last Irish read was about the Magdelaine Launderies - a screen play but the most memorable and help historical guides are those two by Rutherfurd.

So many books etc etc etc


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Em....many Irish people hate Angela's Ashes, because McCourt romanticises something that wasn't romantic at all- people lived in the most awful squalor imaginable back then, and it wasn't half as fun as McCourt makes it out to be.

Father Ted is brilliant!!!!

message 27: by Mosca (last edited Mar 02, 2009 10:48AM) (new)

Mosca | 828 comments Jeane, I know you are looking for novels. But my favorite short story writer is William Trevor. For a few years now, I have been randomly reading selections from The Collected Stories whenever I feel the need for a short read. So far, I have yet to be disappointed by any of them.

This is a large book, since it is mostly an anthology of stories already published in earlier collections.

Trevor has written several novels; and I have read none of them. But I have discovered that his short stories are superb. And most all take place in Ireland; a good many take place in Dublin.

message 28: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) Marelis wrote: "Juliet marillier's Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, Child of the Prophecy, and Heir to Sevenwaters. I am on the second book and am mesmerized by the series. I do not know what I will do..."

Ditto, I have got to get Heir to Sevenwaters, I only found out about it not long ago from another member here. Will have to re-read the series first though.

message 29: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Mosca wrote: "Jeane, I know you are looking for novels. But my favorite short story writer is William Trevor. For a few years ..."

The photo on the cover convinced me to put it on my list....

message 30: by Dianne (new)

Dianne Ascroft | 16 comments As others have already said, Maeve Binchy's novels will give you a good introduction to Irish life. One of her latest, Heart and Soul, captures modern Dublin quite well. If you want to learn about country life a few years ago (and some things still haven't changed) you could read Alice Taylor's books such as The Parish and To School Through the Fields. Kerry Hardie's The Bird Woman gives a good insight into Northern and southern Ireland.

I particularly enjoy memoirs and novels from the mid-twentieth century. When life gets too hectic, it's refreshing to step back into a simpler era for a while. Again Alice Taylor's books will do that for you or Bryan Gallagher's Barefoot in Mullyneeny or Michael McLaverty's Call My Brother Back.

I liked the stories I heard about life in that era so much that I researched it and wrote an historical fiction set in 1940s Ireland. I could just see the era and the people in my head as I wrote - it was a wonderful experience!

Good luck with discovering Ireland. It's different from many other places but after almost 20 years in the country I don't regret moving here.

Dianne Ascroft,
author of 'Hitler and Mars Bars'

message 31: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Also Ahern her books give you a good idea of how Dublin is. Whenever I read one of her books and later walk in Dublin centre there are so many things I remember from her books even if I hadn't been there eyt. I knew things about Dublin before coming to live here.

message 32: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments I am reading The Red and the Green which is setin 1916 in Dublin. You get a good story with different characters mixed with an importan tmoment in Irish history, the easter rising in 1916.

message 33: by Bridgit (new)

Bridgit | 475 comments My absolute favorite book set in Ireland is Frank Delaney's "Ireland" - it is an epic novel that travels a storyteller throughout the country as he tells tales from the beginning on Ireland's history through the present day. Fascinating and beautiful. Makes me really miss the emerald isle...

message 34: by Carrie (new)

Carrie | 1 comments I've read a pretty substantial amount of Irish authors and these are some of my favorites:

Edna O'Brien - one of my all time faves "House of Splendid Isolation" is incredible as is "Mother Ireland"

Nuala O'Faolain - "Are you Somebody" is fantastic

Maeve Binchy - nice long reads full of endearing characters

Marian Keyes - smart and funny chick lit

Roddy Doyle - love his ascerbic tounge.

Morgan Llywelyn - she's written a great deal of historical novels from ancient Ireland to modern times.

message 35: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 142 comments Morgan Llywelyn as mentioned, is excellent, she did historical books and at least one set closer to modern times that intricately details some of the experiences behind the troubles. Her work has never disappointed me, in any form.

Another very lovely read set in Ireland and just steeped in the mythology there is The Grey Horse by R.A. MacAvoy. Gorgeous, fun, just the right degree of humorous, and I know the author backed her research by experience.

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Books mentioned in this topic

At Swim-Two-Birds (other topics)
The Third Policeman (other topics)
The Woman Who Walked Into Doors (other topics)
The Commitments (other topics)
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Nuala O'Faolain (other topics)
William Trevor (other topics)
Morgan Llywelyn (other topics)
R.A. MacAvoy (other topics)