Books

Book review: Exposure

A renowned poet, children’s author, and short story writer, Helen Dunmore is at her finest in the novel form. Her 14th, ‘Exposure’, about a London spy ring in the 1960s, is superbly rendered, writes Billy O’Callaghan.

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Book review: Red Dirt

Despite seeing ‘Red Dirt’ rejected by 14 publishers, EM Reapy stuck with the writing and it’s finally paid off, as her debut novel garners the plaudits. She talks to Sue Leonard.

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Book review: The Lonely Sea and Sky

THIS is such a boy’s own yarn about a seafaring adventure that it could be called Code of Honour or Men of Courage with that gusty and gutsy prose of ‘waves to the left of me, waves to the right’ but because this is a new Dermot Bolger novel it isn’t just guts and glory, there is an attentiveness to the emotional lives of all the men aboard.

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Book review: Daniel O’Connell: A Graphic Life

DANIEL O’CONNELL developed a distinct aversion to revolutionary violence after witnessing some of the excesses of the French Revolution. 

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Book review: Words Without Music — a Memoir

ONE day in the 1970s, the art critic Robert Hughes came into his New York kitchen and saw that the plumber kneeling on the floor was the city’s most talked about avant-garde musician.

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Book review: The Dog Who Dared To Dream

THE Dog Who Dared To Dream is the latest release from South Korean author Sun-Mi Hwang, most famous for her bestseller The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly. 

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Book review: Straight Jacket: How To Be Gay And Happy

IN THE watershed 1970 film The Boys In The Band, a character remarks, “Show me a happy homosexual and I’ll show you a gay corpse.”

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Book review: Thirst

FANS of post-Apocalyptic fiction will welcome Benjamin Warner’s debut novel. 

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Books for kids...

Cruel Heart Broken by Emma Haughton (Usborne, €8.40)
We get straight into the story when heroine Laurie tells us that she is a murderer. 

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Top 10 reads for the summer

Richard Fitzpatrick selects an eclectic mix of summer reading options

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Books for kids...

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair By Lara Williamson (Usborne, €8.30) 
and
Squirrel Me Timbers by Louise Pigott (Curious Fox, €8.30) 

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Book review: The Tidal Zone

ADAM GOLDSCHMIDT is a stay-at-home dad whose world view changes dramatically when his 15-year-old daughter’s heart stops beating on the school playing field for no apparent reason. 

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Book review: A Long Long Way

RECENTLY issued as a paperback, having been first published in 2005 and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Sebastian Barry’s First World War novel is brilliant in its evocation of the killing fields in Flanders and the tragedy of the protagonist. 

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Book review: Death at Whitewater Church

SOMETIMES you come across a crime mystery that is so good it reads like a regular novel, and Death at Whitewater Church is one of those. 

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Book review: Cold

RARELY is a book so engrossing and pacey that it makes me miss my train stop. But such is the case with BBC Newsnight reporter John Sweeney’s first thriller, Cold. 

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Book review: Wilde Lake

THE best-selling author of more than 20 novels, including After I’m Gone and 2015’s Hush Hush returns with Wilde Lake, an evocative tale about the Brant family in Columbia, Maryland.

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Book review: Cycling Munster: Great Road Routes

WHEN you have the option of downloading apps such as Strava and Map My Ride to your phone, creating your own cycling routes or browsing someone else’s, why would you buy a book compiling nearly 50 cycles around Munster?

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Book review: The Judge’s Wife

Ann O’Loughlin digs deep into the sins of Ireland’s past for her novels’ source material. She tells Colette Sheridan that her job as a legal reporter means she sees injustice every day.

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Book review: The Assassination Complex: Inside the US Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program

Drones steered by military personnel in Nevada, in the US, routinely and anonymously kill people on target lists half a world away, in places like Yemen and Afghanistan, careless of who else dies in the attacks, says Des Breen.

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Book review: I’ll Drop You a Line: A Life with David Marcus

I’ll Drop You a Line, his habitual closing words in conversation with his authors, is Ita Daly’s story of the literary editor David Marcus and her life with him followed by the grief of his death. Here she recalls how they met.

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Book review: Solar Bones

After being dropped by Cape, Mike McCormack, once described as Ireland’s most underrated writer, has returned with an original novel of ideas, writes Sue Leonard.

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Book review: Liffey Green Danube Blue — The Musical Life and Loves of László Gede

EIBHLÍN Mac Máighstir Gede begins her biography of her late husband, László Gede, by praising the unsung heroism of quiet lives, the extraordinariness of the ordinary, which can give hope and courage to others. 

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Book review: Wandering Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

AT THE western fringes of Co Galway at the hamlet of Claddaghduff an old road leads down to a beach. 

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Book review: What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

IT’S impossible not to fall for Helen Oyeyemi’s new book, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours — the physical object, at least. 

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Book review: Paper: Paging Through History

PAPER is ubiquitous. We use it for everything from mopping up a spill to creating art. It carries news, heartbreak, love, and spreads knowledge and culture.

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Book review: The Muse

IT’S NO surprise that Jessie Burton’s second novel, The Muse, is one of the most anticipated books of 2016. 

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Book review: Barkskins

ANNIE PROULX is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author best known for The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain. 

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Books for kids...

The Great Dragon Bake Off By Nicola O’Byrne (Bloomsbury, €8.20)
Only dragons with fiercesome and proven reputations for cruelty are admitted to the Ferocious Dragon Academy to study a degree course. 

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Book review: Broken Vows: Tony Blair – The Tragedy of Power

John Duggan reviews Broken Vows: The Tragedy of Power, where author Tom Bower outlines how Tony Blair confused British electoral success with a mandate to change the world and a belief that he was saving civilisation.

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Book review: This is Now

Ciara Geraghty may examine big themes in her books, but clearly cares most of all about the people in the foreground, as do her readers. Self-declared fan Sue Leonard met her for coffee.

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Book review: The War Against The Assholes

THE problem with this is that the language is so densely packed, the sentences so staccato and hunched, that the prose can’t breathe properly. 

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Book review: The Girls

THIS much-anticipated debut novel of Emma Cline, already a well-regarded short story writer and fiction reader for the New Yorker, will probably get summarised a lot as ‘that Charles Manson novel’. 

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Book review: End Of Watch

FORMER police detective Bill Hodges, now a private investigator, knows time is running out. 

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Book review: Now & Again

STANDING up for what is right is at the centre of this big novel but there’s also a strong sense of the righteous here being unhinged and unreliable. 

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Book review: The Senility of Vladimir P

IN RUSSIA, in the reasonably near future (a couple of decades from now), former president, Vladimir Vladimirovich is slipping ever deeper into the mire of senility.

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Book review: The Fallout

THIS fast-paced novel, the second from accountant and author, Margaret Scott, is set in Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in 2011. 

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Books for kids...

* The Truth According to Arthur by Tim Hopgood (Bloomsbury, €8.40) 
* Superfairies — Dancer The Wild Pony By Janey Louise Jones (Curious Fox, €6) 
* Oh, Freedom by Francesco D’Adamo (Darf Publishers, €8.40) 

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Book explores political transformation of RFK and what lessons it provides

In a new book Larry Tye, former reporter at The Boston Globe, explores Bobby Kennedy's political and personal transformation and asks what lessons it provides for an equally divided modern day America. In this exclusive excerpt, Tye suggests Bobby's metamorphosis mirrored that which the US was undergoing as it moved from the 1950s self-satisfied era of Eisenhower to the tumultuous 1960s.

This story is enriched with multi-media content

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Book review: The last Days of Summer

The idea for Vanessa Ronan’s debut came from a news report about a man from a small town who, having committed a horrible crime and shown no remorse, was going back, writes Sue Leonard.

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Book reviews: ISIS A History and Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World

Not all countries in the Middle East aspire to a western-style democratic model and it is this misunderstanding of people’s needs that has led to the inexorable rise of IS, writes JP O’Malley.

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Book review: The Fireman

STEPHEN KING’s son Joe Hill has his own successful run of novels, including Horns, which was made into a film starring Daniel Radcliffe. 

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Book review: Portland Place: Secret Diary Of A BBC Secretary

READING this entertaining story of a highly unusual affair between two BBC employees in 1971 will unlock bitter-sweet memories for anyone who lived and worked in “Swinging London”.

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Book review: Currahoo to Santiago My Camino

James Keoghan makes the discovery made by all pilgrims on the Camino — the more you walk the easier it gets.

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Book review: She Died Young

COMPARED to the infamous Cambridge five, the search for spies among the dreaming spires of Oxford might seem like poor gruel indeed.

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Book review: Echowave

IT’S 1941 and a US plane crashes in Co Mayo with goods destined for the US embassy in London.

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Book review: The Many Selves Of Katherine North

DEBUT novelist Emma Green’s foray into literary science fiction focuses on Katherine ‘Kit’ North, a 19-year-old who projects her consciousness into animals for research purposes.

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Books for kids...

The Homeless Bumblebee and Me by David Greaves
(Friends of the Earth, €16.90 or €22.00 HB)

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New book chronicles the changing of time for the Irish pub

A new book documents the history of the Irish pub, how times have changed it, and emerging challenges. Author Kevin Martin talks to Noel Baker

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Feminist Gloria Steinem hasn't let age slow her down and is as outspoken as ever

As she prepares for her trip to West Cork, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, 82, is as active and outspoken as ever, writes Marjorie Brennan

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Sarah Crossan is gaining huge recognition for conjoined twin story

Sarah Crossan’s young adult tale of conjoined twins has won her a pile of praise and a slew of awards, writes Marjorie Brennan

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This mum gave her kids an 1950s-style summer - here's how they got on

Pam Lobley set out to give her kids an 1950s-style old-fashioned summer. She tells Áilín Quinlan how she turned the experiment into a book.

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Book review: The New Russia

Mikhail Gorbachev’s latest book contains plenty of righteous anger at the state of modern Russia but is marred by being one-sided and presenting a lack of context for the general reader, writes Neil Robinson.

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Getting to know author Christine Hamill

After university Christine wrote poetry, but she never published any. She had various jobs; she worked in the Arts in Bristol; she managed an art gallery, worked on an arts magazine, and wrote a grammar for foreign learners for IBM.

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Best books for children

Harrison Loved His Umbrella by Rhoda Levine (New York Review, €12.60 HB) Harrison persistently refuses to part with his constantly open umbrella to the annoyance of his parents.

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Book review: Becoming Nicole

THIS is the inspiring, New York Times bestselling true story of a transgender girl and her family’s journey to understand, help and celebrate her uniqueness.

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Book reviews: Tongulish and In A Hare’s Eye

GALWAY-based poet, Rita Ann Higgins, has written a poetry collection (her tenth) that never bores. 

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Book review: Independence or Union - Scotland’s Past and Scotland’s Present

TM DEVINE’s new book is an excellent guide to how Scottish nationalism has revived to become a threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom. 

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Book review: The Nest

WITH one of the best opening lines for a book I’ve read in a long time, LA-based Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney plunges her readers into the chaotic lives of the Plumb family, which all revolve around the charismatic golden boy Leo.

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Book review: Hearing Voices Seeing Things

WILLIAM WALL’s fine short story collection is drawn from a rich imaginative palette that gives voice to the fragility and absurdity of life, the alienated, the romantically disappointed, and those at the receiving end of the cruelty of men, including a boy in a boarding school run by priests.

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Book review: The Gift Of The Gab: How Eloquence Works

DAVID CRYSTAL is probably Britain’s best-known populariser of linguistic science.

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Book review: The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe’s History

The Roman Empire is a somewhat neglected part of history, but Peter H Wilson’s tome sets the record straight and reveals new secrets, writes Michael Duggan.    

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Book review: One Bold Deed of Open Treason: The Berlin Diaries of Roger Casement

EVER since Roger Casement was hanged in 1916, controversy had surrounded his diaries, but there was no controversy about a diary that he began while in Germany during the early months of World War I.

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Getting to know author Catherine Banner

Catherine Banner started her first novel when she was 14.

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Best books for children

The Jungle Book, Mowgli’s Story Reimagined by Robert Hunter (Frances Lincoln €16.60 HB) When Baby Mowgli is kidnapped from his home by Shere Khan, other jungle creatures are horrified by his wicked scheme which breaks the age-old law of the jungle. 

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Book review: Zero K

DON DELILLO’S 16th novel arrives after a six-year pause for thought which initially appears to have zero effect on theme or form.

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Book review: Delta Lady

Singer-songwriter Rita Coolidge was at her peak in the 1970s. Though her marriage to Kris Kristofferson was marred by his boozing, the recent murder of her sister has hurt her most, says Hannah Stephenson.

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Book review: The Heart of Everything

MAGS JENSEN’S memory isn’t all it was. And although she hasn’t, yet, got a diagnosis, both she and her doctor fear that her many lapses herald the onset of dementia. 

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Book review: Dancing to the End of Love

ROBERT LANAGHAN is a writer. Or, at least, he was, but, since his second book was published, he hasn’t written. Life has got in the way.

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Book review: The Gustav Sonata

WHETHER she’s writing about life during the Restoration, family dramas in the south of France or the plight of eastern European immigrants, Rose Tremain is a consummate storyteller.

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Book review: Are You Watching Me?

RTÉ’s arts correspondent Sinéad Crowley has come up with a carefully structured police procedural that can stand shoulder to shoulder with many of the offerings packing the crime shelves of your local book shop.

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Book review: The Private Lives Of The Tudors

THE glittering, jewel-encrusted private world of Britain’s five Tudor monarchs returns gloriously in these pages.

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Book review:  War Against the People

A new book argues that the knowledge and weaponry developed by Israel in its wars against the Palestinians have allowed it to carve a place in the world’s military-industrial complex, TP O’Mahony is not convinced.

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Book review: This Must Be The Place

NORTHERN Irish author Maggie O’Farrell has, since she wrote the After You’d Gone, revealed a knack for capturing the bald truths of marriage in all their spiky, broken, loving fragments.

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Book review: Dietland

THE lead character in Dietland, Plum, is unusual in a novel — she’s fat. She’s unhappy, living a very small life that barely takes her anywhere other than her apartment and her local cafe, where she is embarrassed to be seen eating a scone in public, and she suffers cruel looks and comments.

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Joanna Walsh uses minimalist language to tackle complicated ideas

For someone who came late to writing, the fiction of Joanna Walsh has an accomplished tone and has all the signs of a maturity forged from life’s experiences, writes Sue Leonard.

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Book review: Lingua Franca

MILES PLATTING is the disengaged founder of naming rights company Lingua Franca, which matches corporate sponsors with cash-strapped towns.

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Beginner’s Pluck: Roisín O’Donnell

Brought up in England to Northern Irish parents, Roisín has always felt a sense of dislocation. A writer since she was small, she had completed three novels by the time she was 24.

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Book review: All Things Nice

THE title of Sheila Bugler’s third book alludes to the fact that the crime novel is the adult version of the child’s fairytale Set in London, and featuring the dogged DI Ellen Kelly of Lewisham CID, All Things Nice is a police procedural rooted in the nursery rhyme that warns us boys are composed of slugs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails.

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Author Maggie O’Farrell talks about her latest novel 'This Must Be the Place'

An encounter with a celebrity that showed the misery of fame inspired Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel, she tells Jonathan de Burca Butler.

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Books for kids...

1. The 5 Misfits by Beatrice Alemagna (Frances Lincoln, €16.70 HB)
2.
Archie Loves Skipping by Domenica More Gordon (Bloomsbury, €16.70 HB)
3. The Leaving by Tara Altebrando (Bloomsbury, €10.30)  

 

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Book review: Girls on Fire

IF YOU go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. But what happens in Robin Wasserman’s Girls On Fire is no teddy bears’ picnic. 

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Book review: LaRose

LaRose is a slowly developing tale of grief, growth, and retribution, with revenge on the minds of just about everybody.

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Book review: The Violet Hour: Great Writers At The End

AMERICAN academic Katie Roiphe has a track record of tackling tricky subjects, such as pay inequality and sexual politics. 

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Book review: The Cauliflower

ONLY one thing is for certain when reading Nicola Barker’s latest and totally brilliant, yet unclassifiable novel — you have absolutely no idea which direction the story is heading in. 

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Book review: Mend the Living

Reading this book is like experiencing the act of surfing yourself, in successive crashing waves. 

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Book review: Best European Fiction 2016

Literature doesn’t get much stranger — nor more fun — than this. 

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Book review: I Am No One

He has an Irish name and an English accent but writer Patrick Flanery is an all-American boy, as Sue Leonard discovers.

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Book review: The Lives of Daniel Binchy: Irish Scholar, Diplomat, Public Intellectual

Daniel Binchy, Ireland’s ambassador to the Weimer Republic, once described Adolf Hitler as a ‘harmless lunatic’ but one of the country’s most perceptive and insightful intellectuals was not fooled for long, as Ryle Dwyer notes.

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Books for kids...

3 2 1 DRAW by Serge Bloch (Wide Eyed, €12.60)
and
The Best Medicine by Christine Hamill (Little Island, €8.80)

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Book review: We Go Around In The Night And Are Consumed By Flames

STYLISTICALLY similar to Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, the characters in Jules Grant’s debut novel do not only speak in dialect, they narrate in it too.

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Book review: The Black Prince Of Florence

FLETCHER, a historian specialising in the Renaissance and whose work has been praised by Hilary Mantel, here excavates the intriguing figure of Florence’s first Medici Duke, born a bastard and possibly of mixed race origin.

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Book review: Simplified History — The 1916 Rising

This informative book should be a must for smart history teachers who want to engage their students, but it has much broader appeal too.

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Book review: Girl at War

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC gets one mention early in this novel and while Karadzic and Mladic are not referred to, they cast a long shadow over the people and places of this evocatively told story of surviving the genocide of the Bosnian war.

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Book review: Diary of a Body

RATHER like the dive suit worn by Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, Daniel Pennac conveys the story of an entire lifetime from the perspective of his body. 

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Book review: Fellside

DRUG addict Jess Moulson wakes in hospital with no memory and a face scarred from reconstructive surgery to learn she is under arrest for the murder of a child, Alex Beech, who died in a fire at her apartment — a fire she supposedly started in a heroin-induced rage against her abusive boyfriend.

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Book review: This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World

The reign of Elizabeth I was the first time that Muslims began openly living in England. It stemmed from the queen’s isolation from Catholic Europe and her excommunication by Pope Pius V in 1570. Attitudes towards Islam then have parallels for us today, writes Josephine Fenton.

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Book review: Shooting Up: A History of Drugs in Warfare

 

An army doesn’t just march on its stomach but with the aid of psychotic drugs, according to a revolutionary book on modern warfare. But soldiers taking drugs was also a feature of ancient conflicts, says Geoffrey Roberts.

 

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Book review: The Privileged

Six months after securing a book deal, Emily Hourican was diagnosed with mouth cancer. Now finished the treatment, she’s published a bestseller, writes Sue Leonard.

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Book review: Raoul Wallenberg: The Biography

Ingrid Carlberg’s meticulously crafted biography of Raoul Wallenberg recounts the story of a man who had a hand in the survival of most of the Jews in Budapest who lived through World War Two, writes Neil Robinson.

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Book review: When She Was Bad

HOW well do you know your colleagues? You may have forged good friendships in the workplace, but this psychological thriller from Tammy Cohen will have you questioning everyone you know. 

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Book review: The Wing Orderly’s Tales

NINETY-NINE per cent of the time in prison consists of waiting around, bored, as Carlo Gebler observes via his narrator, Wing orderly ‘Chalky’ Chalkman, who is in charge of sundry duties — preparing breakfast for warders and making up welcome packages for new inmates at Loanend prison in Northern Ireland.

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Book review: The Wing Orderly’s Tales

NINETY-NINE per cent of the time in prison consists of waiting around, bored, as Carlo Gebler observes via his narrator, Wing orderly ‘Chalky’ Chalkman, who is in charge of sundry duties — preparing breakfast for warders and making up welcome packages for new inmates at Loanend prison in Northern Ireland.

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Book review: The Possibilities

POOR old George Clooney in The Descendants not only has his beloved wife in a coma but he also has to contend with the discovery that she had been having an affair. 

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Book review: Hitman Anders And The Meaning Of It All

TAKE a disillusioned hotel receptionist, an embittered former priest and a recently released hitman and what do you get? 

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Book review: Digital vs Human: How We’ll Live, Love, And Think In The future

IT’S FITTING that futurist Richard Watson kicks off this tome with a quote from former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, as he comes out fighting.

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Book review: And Yet... essays

WHEN Christopher Hitchens died from oesophageal cancer in December 2011, the world of letters lost one of its most compelling and provocative minds. 

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Books for kids...

Wolfish Stew by Erica Salcedo (Bloomsbury, €8.90)
“There was once a rabbit whose name was Grey and he went to the woods to pick berries one day.”

 

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Book review: Exposure

The decade is associated with sex and music, but the Russians and the threat of annihilation loomed large, as they do in Helen Dunmore’s new spy novel, ‘Exposure’, says Sue Leonard.

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Book review: Empire of Things: How We Became A World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-first

Consumerism isn’t just about buying goods and services. It has come to define the way we shape our identities and how we interact socially every day, as JP O’Malley discovers in a supersized tome that traces its history.

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Book review: Crossing The Sea: With Syrians On The Exodus To Europe

EVERY now and then a photograph appears that brings the world to a standstill and makes us all pause for breath. 

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Book review: Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg

WHEN a sprawling yellow banner cascaded from the stands of Basel’s St Jakob-Park football stadium in late-2013 the world was suddenly alerted to a struggle for freedom thousands of kilometres away that had been waging for weeks.

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Book review: How To Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns From Puddles To The Sea

WHERE many writers involved in the current nature writing renaissance excel at poetic reverie, this accessible guide takes a more practical approach.

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Book review: Boundless: Adventures in the Northwest Passage

YES, the sights are wondrous in this retracing of the journey of 18th century explorer John Franklin. 

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Book review: Different Class

CHOCOLAT author Joanne Harris’s latest book is a sequel to her 2005 psychological thriller Gentlemen & Players, set in the same Yorkshire boys grammar school, St Oswald’s, a year after that novel was set.

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Book review: Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain

HAVING already made quite a name for himself in the theatre world, playwright Barney Norris is adding another string to his bow with his debut novel Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain.

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Books for kids...

* Coloures — First Wheels by Susan Steggall (Frances Lincoln, €15.10)
* The Fire Children retold by Eric Maddern (Frances Lincoln, €10.10)
* Fletcher And Zenobia by Victoria Chess and Edward Gorey (The New York Review, €12.60 HB)

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Book review: Mrs God: Trinity

MUCH like the character of Mrs God herself, author Mark Evans is a glutton for punishment.

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Book review: Islamism: What It Means for the Middle East and the World

It is the west’s blind myopia that leads it to go to war in the Middle East, with disastrous consequences, argues JP O’Malley on reading an account of Islamism which shows that, as an ideology, it is growing further apart.

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Book review: Some Rain Must Fall

Karl Ove Knausgard is Europe’s latest literary sensation, due to the success of his relentless memoir series. What, in its mundanity, makes it so compelling, asks Paul Ring.

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Book review: The Poacher’s Curse

THE Poacher’s Curse is so action-packed and fast-paced one wonders if it was penned with the big screen in mind.

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Book review: Viral

MANY of us who got our teenage romances, rebellions and rows over with before the era of Snapchat and Vine are truly grateful for this fortunate sequence of events. 

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Book review: The Crow Girl

MAKE sure you are not home alone when you tackle this Scandinavian thriller, which records detective Jeanette Kihlberg’s attempts to track a deranged killer.

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Book review: Expecting: The Inner Life Of Pregnancy

BECOMING a mother is a life-changing experience for women, yet many pregnancy books tend to focus on the scientific element: the day-to-day development and growing changes of the baby inside the placenta, what to pack in your hospital bag and what to expect during labour.

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Book review: Lunatics, Lovers And Poets: Twelve Stories After Cervantes And Shakespeare

SOME of the brightest lights of contemporary fiction celebrate the timelessness of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes in a collection of short stories to mark the 400th anniversary of both men’s deaths.

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Books for kids...

My Family Is a Zoo by KA Gerrard (Bloomsbury, €8.90)
This is a cheerful tale of shared interests told in simple rhyming narrative. 

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Book review: The Longevity Book

Her body doesn’t look like it did 20 years ago and things don’t ‘snap back into place’ any more. But that’s OK — Cameron Diaz tells Hannah Stephenson why ageing is something to celebrate, not dread.

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Book review: Lost In Transition - Ireland, Small Open Economies and European Integration

The economies of the Danes, the Dutch, and Finns remained intact during the downturn while we went into receivership. David Begg’s analysis of why should be noted by every policy maker in Ireland, writes Fergus Finlay.

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Book review: The Path - A New Way To Think About Everything

THERE is no shortage of pop-psychology and self-help literature clogging up the bookshelves.

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Book review: Lab Girl — a story of trees, science and love

HOPE JAHREN is an award-winning paleobiologist. The love in the subtitle could apply to a number of things in this memoir. 

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Book review: A Time for Friends

EVERY friendship has its share of give and take. 

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Book review: The One-in-a-million Boy

ONA VITKUS is a 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant who has, apart from three blazing months back in the summer of 1914 when she ran away to the circus, lived a staid suburban existence.

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Book review: Prosperity Drive

SINCE the publication of the collection of stories, A Lazy Eye, back in 1993, it has been clear that Mary Morrissy has talent to burn. 

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Book review: The Steel Kiss

THE king of suspense is back and he’s done it again. 

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Books for kids

I Wish I Were a Pirate
by Smiriti Prasadam-Halls and Sarah Ward
(Bloomsbury, €7.60)

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Books for kids...

Side By Side,
by Rachel Bright,
Illustrated by Debi Gliori
(Orchard Books, €14.80 HB)

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Book review: On Intelligence: The History Of Espionage And The Secret World

IT’S hard to lose a game of cards when you can see the other fellow’s hand — a great way of breaking down the importance of intelligence gathering.

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Book review: If This Is a Woman - Inside Ravensbrück: Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women

OPENING its gates in May, 1939, four months before the outbreak of the Second World War — to be liberated by the Russians six years later — Ravensbrück, 50 miles north of Berlin, in Germany, was the only concentration camp the Nazis built to house only female political prisoners.

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Book review: A Girl In Exile

ALBANIA’S most internationally celebrated author here returns to the dying days of his country’s Stalinist (and intermittently Kafkaesque) tyranny. 

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Book review: Hunter Killer: Inside the Lethal World of Drone Warfare

ASK any soldier, sailor or airman who has fought — actually fought — in a conflict, they will most likely agree with that maxim about how wars are 99% boredom relieved by 1% terror. 

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Book review: The Spaces In Between

CAROLINE JONES seemed to have a gilded life. 

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Book review: Hot Milk

EVERY so often you read a book whose author has so acutely captured the human condition, in all its anxiety-fuelled, confused glory, that it’s almost painful to read — like holding a mirror up to your own, imperfect self.

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Book review: Another Love

It came as a surprise to Amanda Prowse that books just don’t come into other people’s heads complete, because she really thought it was the same for everyone, she tells Sue Leonard.

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Book review: Shylock Is My Name

The haunting persistence of anti-semitism is what fuels Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’. A book on Shylock, its main character, offers an adroit slant on modern Judaism by a master literary stylist, writes Mary Leland.

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Book review: Cowboy Song: The Authorised Biography of Philip Lynott

PHIL LYNOTT died 30 years ago, aged 36, his demise undeniably hastened by the alcohol and heroin dependencies that characterised the last five years of his life. 

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Book review: My Name Is Mahtob

Billy O’Callaghan reads the sequel to Not Without My Daughter — My Name is Mahtob — the account of a mother and child’s escape from Ayatollah Khomeni’s Iran, back to a world of book deals and celebrity interviews.

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Book review: Martin John

Anakana Schofield thought her dark tale about a sexual deviant would be a hard sell but she tells Colette Sheridan women understand it, and men are shocked by her acclaimed work.

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Book review: Trading Futures

MATTHEW OXENHAY leads a 2.5 kids kind of life. He has a nice house in north London, a devoted wife, two children and a well-earning job in the city.

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Book review: The Stranger

THE prolific Harlan Coben sells by the proverbial bucket load: with The Stranger, we are in territory he has revisited often, the edifice of American bourgeois civility and the perfect families which support it.

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Book review: The Prophets of Eternal Fjord

IN OUR fast-paced world, one has to really trust an author to make a big commitment of time to surrender to the enormity of a novel such as this of nearly 600 pages. 

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Book review: Fool Me Once

THE bestselling author of Tell No One returns with a new thriller.

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Book review: Into The Black

WITH interest in space travel in the UK and Ireland enjoying a boost, thanks to the British astronaut Tim Peake working on board the International Space Station, Rowland White’s book Into The Black is perfectly timed.

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Books for kids

Wildlife In Your Garden by Mike Dilger (Bloomsbury, €16.20)
This bright breezy book suggests that you don’t need to go further than your own garden to see nature’s wonders. 

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Book review: Guy Burgess — The Spy Who Knew Everyone

The infamous spies who infiltrated Britain in the 1950s and ‘60s came from the wealthy upper classes and went unchallenged in their roles, writes Neil Robinson.

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Book review: The Real Planet of the Apes

Darwin posited that we evolved from a common ancestor in Africa, yet David R Begun points to fossil records showing that Europe is the centre of origin, writes Declan Burke.

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Book review: The Trees

WHEN a forest erupts through the ground overnight, the modern landscape that we recognise today is destroyed and mankind is thrown into complete and utter turmoil. 

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Book review: In The Heart of the Sea

POPULATED with heroism, survival and cannibalism, this true maritime yarn will surely appeal to anyone with a yen to expand their seafaring insights. 

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Book review: Bull Mountain

THE reference to ‘Bull’ in the title, the epitome of the male species, is perhaps a clue to the storyline, because, if there is an opposite of ‘chick lit’ — lets call it a ‘male scéal’ (or tale) — then ‘Bull Mountain’ is it.

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Book review: At The Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, And Apricot Cocktails

SARAH BAKEWELL is the author of How To Live, in which she mined the essays of Montaigne to create a self-help manual for the 21st century. 

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Book review: Happen

HUGH MAXTON’s Happen is a ‘memoir-novel’ about the coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s of Godwin Happen, an enigmatic young man with a taste for literature and politics from a Protestant family in Dublin. 

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Book review: Eileen

EILEEN is Ottessa Moshfegh’s second novel and after her highly acclaimed debut, McGlue, this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. 

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Books for kids

Hiccups by Holly Sterling (Frances Lincoln, €15.20 HB)
When Ruby and her dog Oscar were happily playing their game on the floor, a strange noise interrupted their fun — it was the sound of Oscar’s hiccups! 

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Book review: Fortress Europe: Inside the War Against Immigration

Under the pressure of the migrant crisis countries across Europe have closed their borders, while xenophobic parties thrive. TP O’Mahony reflects on a new book which captures the unravelling of the EU’s liberal dream. 

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Book review: Unhappy the Land: The Most Oppressed People Ever, the Irish?

Ryle Dwyer reads the argument that the Irish uprisings of the first decades of the 20th century were a series of civil conflicts, not wars, and they were essentially between Irish people.

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Book review: Feast Of The Innocents

SET in 1968, this story follows Doctor Justo Pastor Proceso López, a respected gynaecologist in the Colombian city of Pasto, who harbours a secret ambition to tell the world that the myth of Simon Bolivar, the venerated ‘Liberator of Latin America’, is really a sham.

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Book review: The Boy They Tried to Hide

SHANE DUNPHY’s true story starts with a transcript of his first psychotherapy session, and goes on to recount the strange sequence of events that led a case-hardened child protection professional to seek psychiatric help.

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Book review: The Senility Of Vladimir P

NIKOLAI SHEREMETEV has never quite got the hang of how things work in Russia. 

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Book review: The Bee Book

BY now everyone knows that bee populations are declining and that’s a very bad thing. However, did you know there is a bee species that has a tongue twice the length of its body?

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Book review: Citizens

THIS being 2016, it’s not surprising that the year has already seen a plethora of books set around the rising, but Citizens is one with a difference. 

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Book review: The Travelers

WILL RHODES lives in New York and works as a writer for The Travelers magazine.

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Children's books

Lost In The Crater of Fear and Lost In The Swamp of Terror , both by Tracey Turner (Bloomsbury, €6.30).

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Book review: This Living and Immortal Thing

US-based, Irish oncologist Austin Duffy has just released his debut novel, which despite being about cancer has lots of laugh-out-loud moments, writes Sue Leonard.

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Book review: The Romanovs 1613 – 1918

In this ‘Titanic enterprise’, Simon Sebag Montefiore is not afraid to suggest that something of what made the Romanovs powerful remains in the Russian psyche and Russian leadership today, writes Mary Leland.

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Book review: The Early Stories of Truman Capote

DISCOVERED in the archives of the New York Public Library, these 14 stories provide an interesting insight into the teenage Capote, long before he penned classics like Other Voices, Other Rooms, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and In Cold Blood.

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Book review: The Hollow Men

IF you are looking for a well-informed thriller with lots of intrigue and plot twists, or if you enjoy the medical dramas that are plentiful on TV, you won’t be disappointed with Rob McCarthy’s debut crime novel The Hollow Men.

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Book review: The Butcher’s Hook

FORMER Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis turns her experience in storytelling to Georgian London for her debut novel.

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Book review: A Man of Good Hope

THIS is a compelling insight into the tumultuous life of a Somali man, Asad Abdullahi, set against the backdrop of the collapse of his country, the plight of undocumented people and xenophobia and ensuing violence in South Africa.

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Book review: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

ERIK LARSON is an American journalist and narrative historian, known for fast-paced books rich in authentic detail.

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Book review: The Button Box

HAVING been a young child, like many others, who loved rooting though my own mother’s tin of hundreds of different mismatched buttons, I dived straight into Lynn Knight’s latest book The Button Box.

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Books for children by Mary Arrigan

Technicolour Treasure Hunt — Learn to Count With Nature (Wide Eyed, €12.80 HB)
This is a vibrant, sturdy board book that will delight children from three to five. 

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Book review: 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded

As we mark the fiftieth anniversary of 1966, Jon Savage’s book pinpoints the year as the turning point of the sixties, a decade that divided the twentieth century into old world and new, says Alannah Hopkin.

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Book review: Avenue of Mysteries

American writer John Irving may have spent a career juxtaposing novels with original screenplays, but now he has turned a film script into a novel, says Sue Leonard.

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Book review: A Song of Shadows

THE title of this novel appears generic and forgettable and almost indistinguishable from hundreds of others in the same field. 

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Book review: The Ways of the World

SINCE receiving his PhD from St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1961, David Harvey has had virtually unchallenged standing as the most insightful and innovative voice on modern Geography and social theory, and is generally considered the world’s foremost authority on the works of Karl Marx.

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Book review: The Stylist

HELLO! editor Rosie Nixon’s first novel takes place over the course of awards season, taking in the sights and sounds backstage at the Baftas and the Oscars, through the eyes of fashion newcomer Amber Green.

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Book review: Speak

IN Speak, Louisa Hall entwines multiple viewpoints in a constantly shifting narrative about what makes us truly human.

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Book review: One Child

IN September 1980, the Chinese government unveiled a new plan to curb the country’s reproductive habits — by issuing the one-child policy.

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Book review: History’s People - Personalities and the Past

What difference do individuals make to history? This question is explored in Margaret McMillan’s new book, History’s People. 

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Books for children by Mary Arrigan

* My Family is a Zoo by K Gerrard, Illustrated by Emma Dodd (Bloomsbury, €9.00).
* Let’s See Ireland by Sarah Bowie (O’Brien Press, €12.99 HB)
* Shakespeare Tales — Macbeth by Terry Deary [Bloomsbury, €6.40]

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Book review: Peter O’Toole: The Definitive Biography

Peter O’Toole was as eccentric as the characters he played on screen and on stage. He loved playing the drunken Irishman even though he wasn’t one, as JP O’Malley learns.

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Book review: One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway

An account of one of the most devastating attacks by a single man in European history is a compelling study of how someone who doesn’t feel accepted by society can turn extreme and evil, writes Eoghan O’Sulllivan.

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Book review: 1606 William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear

NOTHING will come of nothing, King Lear famously declares as he considers dividing his kingdom between his daughters commensurate with their expressions of love for him.

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Book review: Hitler’s First Victims: The Quest For Justice

JOSEF HARTINGER won an Iron Cross while serving with the 10th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment in the Great War. 

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Book review: Legoland

GERARD WOODWARD is probably best known for his trilogy of stories about the Jones family — August, I’ll Go To Bed At Noon and A Curious Earth.

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Book review: Bletchley Park: The Secret Archives

JOE PUBLIC gets a whistlestop tour behind the scenes of Britain’s Second World War code-breaking nerve centre in this official history. 

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Book review: Black Widow

NO amount of keen amateur sleuthing could result in predicting the extraordinary denouement in this gripping thriller. 

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Book review: The Narrow Bed

THIS is the latest outing for what must be the most off-beat characters in crime fiction — DC Simon Waterhouse and his wife Sergeant Charlie Zailer.

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Books for children by Mary Arrigan

  • Kiss It Better by Smirit Prasdam-Halls (Bloomsbury, €9.00)
  • Bing by Ted Dewan (Harper Collins, €9.00)
  • Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature by Maria Dias and Ines Do Rosario (Frances Lincoln, €24.50)

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Book review: Rain Dogs

SET in Northern Ireland in 1987, Rain Dogs is the fifth in Adrian McKinty’s series of novels featuring RUC detective Sean Duffy. 

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Book review: Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made

Gaia Vince seeks to recognise those hopeful moments in science and the environment as she explores the world man is creating in a thought-provoking and eminently readable offering, writes Billy O’Callaghan.

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Book review: Infinite Jest

Once hailed as a work of singular genius, time has not been kind to the groundbreaking Infinite Jest, as Paul Ring discovers while reading David Foster Wallace’s novel 20 years on.

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Book review: The Gilded Chalet: Off-piste in literary Switzerland

WHAT is Switzerland actually for? It is where the self proclaimers gather and gorge themselves while hob-nobbing with Bono while Davos plays host to a battalion of bankers and politicians.

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Book review: You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat]

IT’S a skilful writer who can weave together the last days of an infamous murderer and his high-profile manhunt without resorting to shock tactics or, even worse, reducing the severity of the crimes committed.

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Book review: Thomas And Mary: A Love Story

TIM PARKS’s love story in reverse begins bluntly with its central characters establishing their separate routines and contrasting views on marriage. 

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Book review: Where The Dead Pause And The Japanese Say Goodbye

AFTER she died, my aunt returned to my mother in a dream to say: “Don’t worry about me. I’m all right.”

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Book review: The Noise of Time

JULIAN BARNES transports us back to the former Soviet Union’s days of “endless terror” for his first novel since winning the Man Booker Prize in 2011. 

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Books for children by Mary Arrigan

Are You Sitting Comfortably byLeigh Hodgkinson
(Bloomsbury, €15.40 HB)
A small boy who loves to read, seeks a nice place to sit with his new book. 

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