Monday, September 21, 2009

Help me make a reading list, please

After going to hear an excellent Irish-US group last night, I'm in a mood to spend some time reading about Ireland.

When I pick books out for myself, I usually gravitate to historical fiction - which is great; I loved the Irish Country Doctor books, but I have no idea what good contemporary stuff is out there.

Basically what I'm looking for is the Irish equivalent of Ian Rankin's books, something with a great story, with a setting that's almost a character itself. YA and adult fiction are both good, but I try to avoid depressing books.

Any suggestions? They'd be much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Well, I can't supply a Rankin, but here are a few upbeat Irish reads:

McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy
--Definitely the funniest book (nonfiction) ever written about Ireland, probably the funniest book ever written about anything, anywhere.

O Come Ye Back to Ireland by Niall Williams
--a “Year in Provence” for Ireland. Now all the more poignant because it captures a side of Ireland that’s now almost disappeared because of the runaway consumerism of the Celtic Tiger years.

Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy – picaresque classic

Lord Dunsany –- King of Elfland’s Daughter
--Fantasy. Tons of fun, and a great introduction to Dunsany’s work.

Neither happy nor sad, but excellent literary books:
Everything in this Country Must by Colum McCann
--absolutely nails the atmosphere in the Border counties during the troubles of the 80s.
Still have not read McCann's new book. Bad, bad, bad bookseller!

I started Benjamin Black/John Banville’s Christine Falls. It was good, but haven’t got back to it yet (hazards of working in a book store). Might end up Rankin like.

If you happen to be in Ireland look up Walking at Sea Level by Richard Kearney. Never released in US, but I loved it 10 years ago.

James Joyce, Dubliners –- skip Ulysses.

Seamus Heaney – Opened Ground is just brilliant

Yeats, naturally.

Francis Ledwidge –- probably classed by the academics as a "naive" nature poet. Died in WWI.

That's enough to get started with. Enjoy...

Christine M said...

Maeve Binchy is always good for a nice Irish story.

Sarah Rettger said...

I'm ashamed to admit I've never read any of these authors. Many thanks!

Now off to finish Two Years Before the Mast so I can start working my way through Ireland...