Book Recommendations: June 2021

Here is the list of titles I discussed last night at our recommended reads session for South Dublin County Libraries, Tallaght. Hope you check some of them out and let me know what your think.

1: The End of The World is a Cul De Sac by Louise Kennedy. Published by Bloomsbury

There’s a quote that I heard many years in relation to writing…If you scratch the skin of pain, you’ll find beauty – and that certainly applies to this debut collection. Dark, funny, sad and sometimes visceral, I highly recommended these short stories.

2: How the Moon Travels by Oein DeBhairduin. Published by Skein Press

A magical collection of folklore tales that the author has gathered from his own childhood, passed down through the generations of the Travelling Community through the oral tradition of storytelling. It’s a gorgeous book, very connected to nature, wildlife and landscape, and beautifully written. 

3: Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller. Published by Penguin

The story revolves around a brother and sister, middle-aged twins, their lives turned upside down when their mother dies. There’s a darkness to the story but there’s also resilience and I just loved the character of Jeanie. 

4: Panenka by Rónán Hession. Published by Bluemoose Books

Hession’s debut, Leonard and Hungry Paul has been hugely successful, and deservedly so, as it’s a wonderful book. Panenka, his second novel is equally brilliant. I think the author’s great gift is that he writes gentle characters and places them in very relatable worlds, in this case, a middle-aged man, making amends for the mistakes of his past and learning new ways to mend his broken life. Just beautiful. 

5: The Sound Mirror by Heidi James. Published by Bluemoose Books

Spanning three generations of women and thousands of miles, the story begins with Tamara who is visiting her mother for the last time. Along for the journey are the ghosts of her past generations, their stories woven in to reveal the secrets, joys and struggles of Tamara’s life. LOVE!

6: The Beasts They Turned Away by Ryan Dennis. Published by Epoque Press

If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend this book. Set in a stark rural community, an aging farmer is burdened with looking after a strange little boy who does not speak, and whom the local villagers believe to be cursed. Told with a real sense of place, and sharp and haunting prose.  

7: Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. Published by Granta.

A super-slim volume packed with tension and dread, Ghost Wall unravels the story of a young girl called Silvie and the hold that her strange, obsessive father has over her. Perfectly paced, beautifully written, this story will creep up on you.

8: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward. Published by Viper

If you’re looking for a well-written psychological thriller/horror/crime novel, this is the book for you. It’s quite a challenge to describe it without giving some of the plot away, but basically, it is the story of a man named Ted who lives with his daughter and his cat, Olivia, who is one of the main narrators of the book. Stick with it, it’s an unsettling, heart-stopping read, with an ending that is far from predictable. 

9: Laura Cassidy’s Walk of Fame by Alan McMonagle. Published by Picador

Set in Galway, it’s about a young woman called Laura whose father always told her that she was destined for fame. Now Laura is on a mission. The books explores grief, yearning and family tension, and it’s also funny and hopeful. Loved it. 

A Whole New Plan for Living by Jim Lucey: Published by Hachette Ireland

10: There aren’t many of us who haven’t been affected in some way by the events of the past while – I for sure have had my own share of grief and the anxiety that goes with it. This is a gentle, easy to read guide to achieving balance and wellness.

And always remember, If you can’t find what your looking for, ask a Librarian. if they don’t have it, they know how to get it!

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