Monday, 28 November 2011

Lolita by Vladimir Naboko

The story of Humbert Humbert, poet and pervert, and his obsession with 12-year-old Dolores Haze. Determined to possess his "Lolita" both carnally and artistically, Humbert embarks on a disastrous courtship that can only end in tragedy.

A World of love by Elizabeth Bowen

An uneasy group of relations are living under one roof at Montefort, a decaying manor in the Irish countryside. When twenty-year-old Jane finds in the attic a packet of love letters written years ago by Guy, her mother’s one-time fiance who died in World War I, the discovery has explosive repercussions. It is not clear to whom the letters are addressed, and their appearance begins to lay bare the strange and unspoken connections between the adults now living in the house. Soon, a girl on the brink of womanhood, a mother haunted by love lost, and a ruined matchmaker with her own claim on the dead wage a battle that makes the ghostly Guy as real a presence in Montefort as any of the living. (Random House Inc.)

Friday, 25 November 2011

"The Top 10" Count Down as voted by our Reading Groups!

Do you agree? Vote for your favourite in our great read survey! 
Have we missed your favourite? Let us Know...
10: A Short History of tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewycka

9: The Corrections by Joanathan Franzen
8: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

7: Atonement by Ian McEwan

6: Fire in the Blood by Irene Numirvosky

5: The Essential Chekhov by Anton P Checkhov

4: The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

3: Middlemarch by George Elliot

2: That they may face the rising sun by John McGahern

1: Dancer by Colum McCann

Watch out for..

I was a boy in Belsen by Tomi Reichental
Tomi Reichental, who lost 35 members of his family in the Holocaust, gives his account of being imprisoned as a child at Belsen concentration camp. He was nine-years old in October 1944 when he was rounded up by the Gestapo in a shop in Bratislava, Slovakia. Along with 12 other members of his family he was taken to a detention camp where the elusive Nazi War Criminal Alois Brunner had the power of life and death. His story is a story of the past. It is also a story for our times. The Holocaust reminds us of the dangers of racism and intolerance, providing lessons that are relevant today.
(Featured on Today with Pat Kenny – Tuesday, 6 December 2011)


Revolution: A Photographic History of Revolutionary Ireland 1913-1923  by Padraig Óg Ó Ruairc
The period from 1913 to 1923 in Ireland's history of rebellion, is undoubtedly the most significant. The period takes in the revival of interest in all things Irish around 1913, the heroic Easter Rising of 1916, the bloody War of Independence 1919-1921 and the bitter Civil War of 1922-1923. Here for the first time, are images of those two episodes, the people, the places, city and country, with insightful commentary describing the context of each photograph. Includes previously unpublished photos sourced from private collections, the Irish Military Archives, Kilmainham Gaol and a variety of British military museums.
(Featured in Talking History, Newstalk – Sunday, 4 December 2011)


Rugby by Charlie Mulqueen. From the series: Brothers in Sport

Over 50 sets of brothers have played for their country and many more for Leinster, Connacht, Ulster and Munster. Who can forget the sight of the two Fogarty brothers scrumaging down against each other in the 2008 Heineken Cup Semi-Final? Where does all that brotherly ability and aptitude come from? What motivates them? How does it affect their relationship? Featuring some previously unseen photos, 'Brothers in Sport' is a fascinating look at this proud tradition in Irish rugby. Includes: The Wallaces The Kearneys The Easterbys The Heaslips The Bests The Springs The Doyles The Fogartys The Mclaughlins The O'Callaghans
(Featured in the Irish Examiner – Saturday, 26 November 2011)

Great writing is timeless. Indulge yourself and read or re-read one of our recommended classics!

Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham
General Books, Classics - Of Human Bondage

The Narrative of Arthur Gordan Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe

The Outsider by Albert Camus                      
General Books, Classics - The Outsider

The Essential tales of Chekhov, edited by Richard Ford

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Ulysses by James Joyce

Loving and Giving by Molly Keane

Seven Winters by Elizabeth Bowen   

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee                                                   

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf                                                                     

Monday, 14 November 2011

November Reads

General Books, Fiction, Original Fiction - On Canaan's Side
On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry
Shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2011 and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for 2011.
'As they used to say in Ireland, the devil only comes into good things.' Narrated by Lilly Bere, the story opens as she mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill. It then goes back to the moment she was forced to flee Dublin, at the end of the First World War, and follows her life through into the new world of America, a world filled with both hope and danger. At once epic and intimate, Lilly's narrative unfurls as she tries to make sense of the sorrows and troubles of her life and of the people whose lives she has touched. Spanning nearly seven decades, it is a novel of memory, war, family-ties and love, which once again displays Sebastian Barry's exquisite prose and gift for storytelling.

Cavan Reading Group

Irish, Irish Interest - The Speckled People
The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton
The childhood world of Hugo Hamilton is a confused place. His father, a brutal Irish nationalist, demands his children speak Gaelic at home whilst his mother, a softly spoken German emigrant who escaped Nazi Germany at the beginning of the war, encourages them to speak German. All Hugo wants to do is speak English.
English is, after all, what the other children in Dublin speak. English is what they use when they hunt down Hugo (or "Eichmann" as they dub him) in the streets of Dublin, and English is what they use when they bring him to trial and execute him at a mock seaside court. Out of this fear and confusion Hugo tries to build a balanced view of the world, to turn the twisted logic of what he is told into truth. It is a journey that ends in liberation but not before this little boy has uncovered the dark and long-buried secrets that lie at the bottom of his parents' wardrobe.
Unspoken by Gerard Stembridge
Unspoken charts the interlocking stories of a group of unforgettable characters through the 1960s, a tumultuous decade during which Ireland threw off some ancient shackles yet assumed other, more modern ones. Alive with character and understated ambition, it is both a magnificent work of literature and an absolute delight.

Cootehill Reading Group

General Books, Classics - Cry the Beloved Country
Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
This is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its contemporaneity, unforgettable for character and incident, "Cry, the Beloved Country" is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.

New Releases Nov/Dec 2011

Click on the book image to go to our catalogue & reserve a copy!
Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape edited by F.H.A. Aalen, Kevin Whelan, Matthew Stout
This is a highly illustrated large format book., the first edition of which was published in 1997. This new edition contains at least one-third of new content including 500 new maps and photographs. The contemporary section has been completely rewritten to take account of the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger. Topics include archaeology, field and settlement patterns, houses, demesnes, villages and small towns, monuments, woodland, bogs, roads, canals, railways, mills, mines, farmsteads, handball alleys, and a host of other features. The Atlas also has a significant practical dimension. It increases the visibility of the landscape within national heritage and establishes a proper basis for conservation and planning. It explores contemporary changes resulting from the Celtic Tiger, and proposes how to implement necessary change in sympathy with inherited landscape character.

City of hope by Kate Kerrigan
Set in rural Ireland and hedonistic New York in the 1930s, "City of Hope" is a meditation on loves lost and found. This is an uplifting, inspiring and heartwarming story of: a woman truly ahead of her time; of loves lost and found; and, of courage and determination. It is the 1930s and when her beloved husband, John, suddenly dies, young Ellie Hogan decides to leave Ireland and return to New York. She hopes that the city's vibrancy will distract her from her grief. But the Depression has rendered the city unrecognizable - gone is the energy and party atmosphere that Ellie once fell in love with, ten years before. And while she is used to rural poverty back home in Ireland, the suffering she sees in New York is an entirely different proposition. Walking around the neighbourhood, Ellie sees destitute families and hungry children on every street corner. The horror of it all jolts Ellie out of her own private depression. Pushing thoughts of her homeland and her dead husband firmly out of her mind, she plunges headfirst into her new life to try and escape her grief. All her passion and energy is poured into running a home and refuge for the homeless.  

Kristin Lavransdatter: The wreath, The wife, & The Cross by Sigrid Undset; translated from Norwegian
The trilogy follows the life of Kristin Lavransdatter, a fictitious Norwegian woman living in the 14th century. Kristin grows up in Sil in Gudbrandsdalen, the daughter of a well-respected and affluent farmer. She experiences a number of conflicts in her relationships with her parents, and her husband Erlend, in medieval Norway. She finds comfort and conciliation in her Catholic faith.

The Prague cemetery by Umberto Eco
Nineteenth-century Europe--from Turin to Prague to Paris--abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Conspiracies rule history. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies both real and imagined, lay one lone man? What if that evil genius created its most infamous document? Eco takes his readers on an unforgettable journey through the underbelly of world-shattering events.

The quality of mercy by Barry Unsworth
The Quality of Mercy opens in the spring of 1767, in the immediate aftermath of the events in Barry Unsworth's “Sacred Hunger”. It follows the fortunes of two central characters from that book: Sullivan, an Irish fiddler, and Erasmus Kemp, the son of a disgraced Liverpool slave-ship owner who hanged himself. To avenge his father's death, Erasmus Kemp has had the rebellious sailors of his father's ship, including Sullivan, brought back to London to stand trial on charges of mutiny and piracy. But as the novel opens, a blithe Sullivan has escaped and is making his way on foot to the north of England, stealing and scamming as he goes.   

The sealed letter by Emma Donoghue
After a separation of many years, Emily 'Fido' Faithfull bumps into her old friend Helen Codrington on the streets of Victorian London. Much has changed since then. But, for all her independence of mind, Fido is too trusting of her once-dear companion and finds herself drawn into aiding Helen's obsessive affair with a young army officer. 

The thread  by  Victoria Hislop
Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a fire sweeps through the thriving multicultural city, where Christians, Jews and Moslems live side by side. It is the first of many catastrophic events that will change for ever this city, as war, fear and persecution begin to divide its people. Five years later, young Katerina escapes to Greece when her home in Asia Minor is destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she finds herself on a boat to an unknown destination. From that day the lives of Dimitri and Katerina become entwined, with each other and with the story of the city itself. Thessaloniki, 2007. A young Anglo-Greek hears the life story of his grandparents for the first time and realises he has a decision to make. For many decades, they have looked after the memories and treasures of people who have been forcibly driven from their beloved city. Should he become their new custodian?

Whose side are you on? :  sport, the Troubles and me  by Teddy Jamieson.
From the late 1960s, Northern Ireland has been mired in violence. Yet it has had seen more than its fair share of sporting heroes - from footballer George Best, through snooker champion Alex Higgins, to boxer Barry McGuigan. Life was tough for these working-class lads, but they could shine on the football field or find refuge at the town boxing club. For other kids, like the young Teddy Jamieson, a knockabout in the back-lanes was as good as it got, but at least they had their heroes. Watching McGuigan on telly, Teddy could feel proud to be Northern Irish. But sport - like everything else in Northern Ireland - could quickly turn nasty when politics were involved. This extraordinary journey through sport and the Troubles has it all: from Olympic gold-medals to Gaelic football; from death threats to reconciliations. Then there is Teddy's own story, as we learn how the age-old playground question 'Whose side are you on?' doesn't always have an easy answer.