Books

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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Book review: Viking Dublin — The Wood Quay Excavations

From finding Viking bedding to discovering the remains of a red-haired man, the Wood Quay dig was one of the highlights of Dr Patrick Wallace’s life. His account of the project is a great read, says Noel Baker.

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Book review: Hillary Rising - The Politics, Persona and Policies of a New American Dynasty

She had a cold father and a philandering husband, but Hillary Clinton is on the verge of getting the most powerful job on Earth, writes Richard Fitzpatrick.

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Book review: I Refuse

I REFUSE is the latest novel from the Norwegian novelist, Per Petterson, who won the 2007 International Impac Dublin literary award for his acclaimed work, Out Stealing Horses.

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Book review: The Woman Who Ran

WHEN Helen Graham arrives in a remote Yorkshire village as the new tenant of dilapidated Wildfell estate, she immediately provokes suspicion among her inquisitive neighbours, especially retired journalist Gil Markham.

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Book review: The Street

BERNADINE BISHOP’s name is hardly as well-known as Anne Tyler’s, yet the Londoner is easily and breezily an equal for Tyler at her best. 

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Book review: The Lure of Faraway Places

TWO Years before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr (1815-1882) recalled a two-year sea voyage from Boston to California on a merchant ship. 

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Book review: The Forgetting Time

EVER since he could speak, Janie’s son, Noah, has been asking for his other mother. 

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Book review: When Breath Becomes Air

THE line between life and death has never been explored quite so personally as in Paul Kalanithi’s wrenching memoir. 

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Books for children by Mary Arrigan

A Hollow In The Hills by Ruth Frances Long  (O Brien, €9.99) 
and
The Ice Twins by S K Tremayne (HarperCollins, €9.10) 

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Book review: The Healy-Raes: A Twenty-Four Seven Political Legacy

THE first formal political deal with an independent deputy was concluded with Deputy Tony Gregory to support the government of Charles J Haughey in 1982. 

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Book review: Women’s Voices in Ireland

Academic Catriona Clear uses women’s magazines to shine a light on Irish lives in the 1950s and 60s when the level of ignorance about sex and ‘worldly matters’ was disturbingly high. Colette Sheridan gains an insight.

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Book review: Try Not To Breathe

‘Try Not to Breathe’ is the gripping story of a girl who is attacked when she is 15 and spends the next 15 years in a coma with some degree of awareness, writes Sue Leonard.

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Book review: Out of Focus

THIS compelling family saga, an adoption story with a twist, is as tightly plotted and tense as a thriller. 

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Book review: The Story Of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland

A FOG of suspicion has long enveloped the creator of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, so much so that James Joyce once prudishly referred to him as ‘Lewd’s Carroll.’

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Book review: This Is The Ritual

IRISH writer Rob Doyle pulls no punches with his writing style. The awardwinning author of Here Are The Young Men, Doyle singles out various topics for this collection of short stories.

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Book review: This Is London: Life And Death In The World City

LONDON is a kaleidoscopic — an ever-changing city as more and more people make it home. 

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Book review: The Ballroom

AN asylum on the Yorkshire Moors in the first decades of the twentieth century is the setting for Anna Hope’s magnificent second novel, The Ballroom, the follow-up to her impressive debut of last year, Wake.

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This week's best books for children

The Egyptian Enchantment. A Lottie Lipton Adventure by Dan Metcalf (Bloomsbury, €6.40)

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Book review: Ashley Bell

AT the age of 22, university drop-out turned-author, Bibi Blair, is admitted to hospital.

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Book review: The World According to Anna

ENVIRONMENTAL engagement is writ large in this small novel from the writer of the 40-million seller, Sophie’s World. 

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Book review: Love Me Back

CAN you wholeheartedly enjoy something, but find it deeply uncomfortable?

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Glenn Patterson novel 'Gull' onDeLorean in Belfast offers tale of hope over reality

When John DeLorean brought the production of his gull-winged sportscar to Belfast it brought hope to a troubled city. A novel inspired by those events offers fresh insights into a compelling tale, says Declan Burke.

This story is enriched with multi-media content

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Claire Harman's 'Charlotte Brontë: A Life' reveals real world as bleak and lonely as the novels

There have been many biographies of Charlotte Brontë but Claire Harman brings a new perspective, as Sue Leonard learns.

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Beginner’s Pluck: Dr Keith Gaynor

At 15, Keith wanted to be a barrister; but shadowing one during a murder trial, it was the suffering families who interested him, not the crime itself.

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Charles Haughey left a poisonous legacy

The jury is still out on whether Charles Haughey did more harm than good for Ireland during his long political life and, in particular, his time in power. Ryle Dwyer reads between the lines of Conor Lenihan’s assessment.

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It’s not just Strictly astrology for colourful celebrity Russell Grant

Dancing on Strictly didn’t just reboot Russell Grant’s celeb status — it proved a key step in his struggles with depression and obesity. The famous astrologer talks to Hannah Stephenson about dementia, dark days and the power of disco.

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Ian Bostridge’s study as enigmatic as Schubert’s masterpiece

WHEN it comes to art songs in German, there is a special kind of prejudice that afflicts us.

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This week's best books for children

Reviewing some of the best books for children available this week.

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Beginner’s Pluck: Rosie Nixon

After university, Rosie worked for a book publisher in Brighton.

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First Thoughts: Journey Under the Midnight Sun

IN 1973, with the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East threatening worldwide oil prices, a pawnbroker is found murdered and robbed in an abandoned building in Osaka.

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Book review: The Portable Veblen

IF YOU see squirrels as rats with bushy tails, here’s a warning: this review contains vermin (and nuts). 

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Book review: Wilde’s Women

MOST books about Oscar Wilde view the events of his life in terms of his relationships with men, especially the disastrous affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, which brought about his downfall.

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Book review: The Astonishing Return Of Norah Wells

THE Astonishing Return Of Norah Wells marks the triumphant return of Virginia Macgregor, author of What Milo Saw.

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Book review: Mr Splitfoot

IN THE 1970s, an orphaned boy and girl called Nat and Ruth develop an unusual bond to survive the agonies of being raised by a religious cult — and the pair harness Nat’s apparent ability to channel the dead as a means of escape.

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Book review: The Crime and the Silence

Though mostly victims of World War II, the Poles were also the perpetrators of violence against Jews, culminating in the Jedwabne massacre when Jewish residents of the town were burned alive, as Geoffrey Roberts recounts.

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Beginner’s Pluck: Clár Ní Chonghaile

Brought up as the eldest of seven, Clár was always interested in words. 

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This week's best books for children

Reviewing some of the best books for children available this week.

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First Thoughts: Kingdom Overthrown

FITZGIBBON’s book is an in-depth and fascinating account of William of Orange’s war against his father-in-law, the deposed James II, a Catholic, on Irish shores.

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Book review: Dictator

ONE of the most striking aspects of Robert Harris’s novel, Dictator — which is the final instalment in his trilogy about the life of Cicero, the Roman politician and philosopher — is the casual way in which violence was administered in the Rome of the first century BC. 

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Book review: One Breath

LAST year I developed a bit of a fascination with free-diving, though from the far and contrasting comfort of my city-dwelling 9am to 5pm routine.

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Book review: How The Other Half Banks

The depiction of unity between banks and people is a lie and explains why 40% of US citizens do not have access to credit, as American law professor Mehrsa Baradaran explains to JP O’Malley.

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Book review: In The Cold Dark Ground

WHEN a body is found in the woods outside Banff, Scotland, — naked, hands tied behind its back, and a bin bag duct-taped over its head — the major investigation team, led by Logan McRae’s ex-boss DCI Steel, charges up from Aberdeen.

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Book review: What A Way To Go

THIS amusing coming-of-age novel, narrated by 12-year old Harper Richardson, is full of humour, often of the black variety.

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First Thoughts: Relentless

“The women are doing it now — the men can’t.”

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Book review: In America — Travels with John Steinbeck

In 1960, novelist John Steinbeck took to the byways of America to rediscover his native land. Geert Mak’s retracing of his tyre-tracks gives a fresh perspective to his travels.  compares the two odysseys.

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Beginner’s Pluck: Fiona Barton

The daughter of a journalist, brought up in a house full of books, Fiona always loved writing.

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This week's best books for children

Reviewing some of the best books for children available this week.

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Book review: The Long Room

STEPHEN DONALDSON, who works in State surveillance in England in 1981, should have been a writer, according to his adoring but fretful mother, Coralie.

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Book review: The Gap of Time

The updating of a scary tale was a dodgy prospect but this re-imagining of a tragic comedy is brought off with skill and bravado, says Mary Leland.

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Book review: The Boy at the Top of the Mountain

INITIALLY one is tempted to view this novel with its story of a young boy and a Nazi theme as a regurgitation of Boyne’s successful The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

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Book review: Why Fonts Matter

CAN fonts really alter the taste of your food? Or even change what certain words mean to you?

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Book review: The Promise

THE Promise is the 16th novel in the series of books by Robert Crais following LA detectives Elvis Cole and Joe Pike.

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Book review: The Widow

HOTLY tipped as 2016’s The Girl On The Train, The Widow certainly comes with great expectations as this year’s unputdownable psychological thriller.

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The two sides to 1916 in books

The Easter Rising was not simply a moment in history but a climactic moment in a revolutionary continum that ranged from the suffragette movement to a campaign for pension rights. Noel Baker reads between the lines.

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Beginner’s Pluck: Helen Blackhurst

Helen was a big reader as a child, but initially theatre interested her more than writing. “I didn’t write stories as a child, but I have these notebooks with dialogue of animals talking.”

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This week's best books for children

Reviewing some of the best books for children available this week.

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Book review: I’m Travelling Alone

AS ANOTHER Nordic novel translated into English, this debut offering from Samuel Bjork has a lot to live up to. Inevitably it’s going to be compared to the likes of Jo Nesbo and Stieg Larsson.

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Book review: Brand New Retro

I RECENTLY had an animated excited discussion with my sister-in-law about a recently published book which was a source of interest to us in that some of the content related to her late husband John, my brother, who spent a lifetime in the publishing game.

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First Thoughts: Sofia Khan is NOT Obliged

SOPHIA KHAN has a lot in common with Bridget Jones; Helen Fielding’s creation from 1996.

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Book review: And Yet... Essays

HITCHENS’ death in 2011 robbed the world of one of its foremost critics of cant, tyranny and puritanism.

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Book review: SaltWater

THE sea is the linking motif of this exciting collection of stories, which will please those who like a salty tang to their reading.

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Book review: Cyberphobia

The internet is incompatible with security, both national and personal, because it was never a priority from its inception according to a new book, says JP O’Malley.

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Take a trip back to golden days of Irish pop culture with Brian McMahon's new book

Brian McMahon’s book on retro Ireland is a treasure trove of nostalgia and vintage pop culture, writes Richard Firtzpatrick

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Book review: Grandpa the Sniper: The Remarkable Story of a 1916 Volunteer

Armed with a rusty rifle and a pair of binoculars, 1916 volunteer Frank Shouldice was a crack-shot who harassed British troops during the Easter Rising from the Jameson malthouse, as his grandson tells Richard Fitzpatrick.            

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This week's best books for children

Reviewing some of the best books for children available this week.

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Beginner’s Pluck: Julia Forster

A prolific reader, Julia didn’t start to read like a writer until she was 15, and read Jane Eyre. She took an MA in creative writing, but concentrated on poetry. It wasn’t until the end of the course that she had an idea for a novel.

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Book review: Every Thing We Touch: A 24-hour Inventory Of Our Lives

ONE night after a few glasses of wine, Paula Zuccotti told her friend about an idea she had. 

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Book review: A Snow Garden

WHEN Rachel Joyce writes a novel or a radio play, she often cuts out minor characters, or minimises their role.

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Book review: The Press Gang

The journalists at the Irish Press group were as hard drinking as they were hardworking. Sue Leonard hears many tall tales and true from David Kenny, who was there before its demise in 1995.  

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Book review: Counting My Blessings

OTELIER Francis Brennan is a natural storyteller.

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First Thoughts: Falling Up

DANA LIESEGANG was a feisty, happy-go-lucky 19-year-old US Navy recruit, when an attack by a fellow seaman tore her world apart.

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My Name Is X And I Am A Cumberbitch

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. Picture the ‘Sherlock’ star.

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Book review: John Crow’s Devil

TEN years before winning the Man Booker Prize, Marlon James published his debut novel in Jamaica, now available for the first time in Ireland .

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Book review: Beyond Belief

From sinister to sick, the most shocking promotional campaigns of the last century were often racist, crude, rude and downright dangerous, Richard Fitzpatrick checks out Charles Saatchi’s new book.

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First Thoughts: The Girl in the Red Coat

THE story of a child going missing will resonate with many people from newspaper headlines if not actually from the direct experience of living with someone who has disappeared.

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Beginner’s Pluck: Averil Douglas Opperman

Rebelling against her parent’s wishes that she attend Trinity College Dublin, Averil joined the Irish Times as a cub reporter. 

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This week's best books for children

Reviewing some big reads for the little ones. 

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Book review: Chicagonomics

Millions are spent each year on promoting neoliberal ideas worldwide. JP O’Malley reads between the lines of a subtle example of this. 

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Book review: Getting Colder

A FAMILY held together not by love but by habit are at the uncomfortable centre of this thoroughly well-written novel.

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Book review: After You

THE journalist JoJo Moyes started writing novels in 2002. 

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Book review: 100 Documents That Changed The World

ONE hundred of the most significant documents in human history, dating from 2800 BC to 2011 AD, are presented in this beautifully illustrated and well-written book.

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Book review: Carrying Albert Home

CARRYING ALBERT HOME, the title says it all — a devoted husband and his discontented wife set off from West Virginia to Florida to take her pet alligator Albert home.

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Book review: Number 11

AUTHOR Jonathan Coe introduced his readers to the ghastly Winshaw family in his 1994 novel What A Carve Up!

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FIRST THOUGHTS: Persecution and prosecution in Zola and the Victorians

EMILE ZOLA is perhaps not as widely read today in English as he was in the past, less familiar to us now as readers than his friend and contemporary Gustave Flaubert.

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Cecelia Ahern presents grittier side of Ireland with maturity and skill

THE Marble Collector opens with a memory. Sabrina Bloggs, aged three, watches as her mother launches the teapot at the ceiling. 

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Beginner’s Pluck: Hilary Fannin

Hilary worked in a lot of menial jobs and as a classroom assistant before she discovered that it was possible to have a career in writing.

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Book review: The Secret Chord

KING DAVID’S life was long and bloody: whether defeating Goliath, evading deranged King Saul, or fiercely consolidating his power once crowned, he is never far from gore-soaked battles or back-stabbing politics.

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Book review: The Magic Strings Of Frankie Presto

SOME people strive for greatness in their lives, others want fame and fortune, while some simply aim to touch lives. Francisco “Frankie” Presto did all three in his life.

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Book review: The Japanese Lover

ISABEL ALLENDE is well known for her wondrous storytelling and ornate descriptions when she became a global phenomenon with her first novel in 1982, The House of Spirits.

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The definitive biography of Big Jim Larkin

Jack O’Connor welcomes the definitive biography of Big Jim Larkin, the trade union leader who transformed the Irish labour movement but who, paradoxically, was at least partly responsible for splitting it apart for decades    

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The Lady in the Van turns the raw material of fact into fiction and back again

THE film of The Lady in the Van, starring Maggie Smith, is the latest success of the popular playwright and former actor, Alan Bennett, now aged 81.

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Pantomime: Aladdin - Everyman, Cork

4/5

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Gothic novelist Patrick DeWitt inspired by ‘unhappy people’

Patrick DeWitt was born to write but success didn’t come easy for the Canadian author who struggled for years to gain recognition, as Sue Leonard learns. 

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Book review: Katherine Carlyle

THE central theme of Rupert Thomson’s haunting novel is how we shape our identity, and ultimately our destiny.

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Andrew Marr's 'Children of the Master' offers a vision of Westminster’s future marred by Machiavellian politics

BRITISH politics is a mess. David Cameron’s Conservatives don’t look comfortable in power. 

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FIRST THOUGHTS: Micheal O’Siadhail poetry collection offers portrait of love and immortal faithfulness

THIS new collection by the poet Micheal O’Siadhail is more than a mere assembly of new poems.

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From bullets to ballots - book traces the rise of modern Sinn Féin party

A new book traces the rise of modern Sinn Féin and how it moved from supporting armed Republicans in the North to constitutional politics. It has gained the biggest dividend from peace, as Ryle Dwyer discovers.

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David Mitchell's 'Slade House' - An inside-out ghost story that is frighteningly effective

DAVID MITCHELL is, in many ways, like the initial protagonist of his latest spooky offering: an immense imagination in a world where mould-breakers are told that “you have to act normal. Can you do that, please?”.

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