Books

The final chapter in sports books for the festive season

Another year, another sack of books.

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Bringing history into focus

The invention of printing meant we needed glasses and they led to changes we can hardly comprehend. Richard Fitzpatrick on history’s game changers.

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The Beat Goes On: The Complete Rebus Short Stories

Edinburgh cop John Rebus has already been resurrected once by his creator, who brought him out of retirement for a new novel a few years ago and now he is back again in this short story selection.

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Paradoxical ties with Collins defined Civil War strategist

THE American-born Emmet Dalton had such a fascinating career that it is surprising it has taken so long for a proper biography to be written.

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Some Luck

Some Luck is  the first  volume of Pulitzer-prizewinning novelist Jane Smiley’s new trilogy The Last Hundred Years. 

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A History of Cloneyharp National School 1837-1979

A microscopic look at the setting up of the national school system, and a summary of how people’s lives changed over almost one and a half centuries, A History of Cloneyharp National School 1837-1979 is a window into the past. Con Ryan and Tom Carroll have succeeded in bringing back to life, vividly, a time gone but not forgotten.

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Forgotten Fitzgerald: Echoes Of A Lost America

The notion of Fitzgerald’s short stories as merely lucrative distractions from magnificent novels like The Great Gatsby has faded, but his biographer Sarah Churchwell contends that we are still only and overly familiar with a small selection.

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Character judged to perfection

WHAT might be the best first page of any novel this year announces the arrival of Ian McEwan’s latest portrayal of the professional elites.

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Inside Beatles’ minds

It’s nearly 45 years since The Beatles broke up but their influence on popular music is as strong as ever. Joe Dermody on Hunter Davies’ encyclopedic book on the band’s ground-breaking lyrics.

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Children’s books

The Busiest People Ever by Richard Scarry (Harper Collins; €8.30) vibrates with energy from the very beginning as everyone in Busytown goes about their work. 

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Where I’m Reading From: The Changing World Of Books

Tim Parks
Harvill Secker, £12.99;
ebook, £6.02

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Chronicler of life in China now has an audience in the West

Frog
Mo Yan
Translated by Howard Goldblatt
Hamish Hamilton, £18.99;
Kindle: £3.59

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The David Foster Wallace Reader

David Foster Wallace
Hamish Hamilton, €29.99;
ebook, €12.99

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Flesh And Blood

Patricia Cornwell
Harper Collins, £20;
ebook, £6.65

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Heaney’s second, and final, act

New Selected Poems 1988-2013
Seamus Heaney
Faber Hardback, €13.52;
ebook, €10.52

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The bittersweet symphonies of Beethoven’s life

Beethoven’s life was a series of disappointments, recurring conflicts, worsening illness and increasing financial worries, but, says Eamonn Lawlor, nothing could diminish his genius    

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The American Lover

Rose Tremain
Chatto & Windus, €24.50,
ebook €12.99

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A Brief Stop on the Road to Auschwitz

Goran Rosenberg’s parents survived the Nazi’s Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps and made a new life in Sweden but, as he told Tony Clayton-Lea, they never fully escaped it— neither should we.

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Children’s Books

Lost In The Sea Of Despair
by Tracey Turner
(Bloomsbury; €6.30) 

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Don’t dash the rush

Rush Hour
How 500 million commuters survive the daily journey to work
Iain Gately
Head of Zeus; £16.99 

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Candid dispatches, defined by unease, from a changing Europe

Greetings, Hero
Aiden O’Reilly
Honest Publishing, £13.99

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The lessons of a colourful life

Rainbow in the Cloud
The Wit and Wisdom of Maya Angelou
Virago, €19.40;
ebook, €7.99

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Endure to explore

Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer
Michael Smith
The Collins Press, €19.99 

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The Hilltop

Assaf Gavron
Oneworld, €25.35;
ebook €16.10

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Does Santa Exist?

Eric Kaplan Little,
Brown, €18.75;
ebook, €7.99

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Revival

Stephen King
Hodder & Stoughton, €18.99;
email, €11.99

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The Art Of Asking

Amanda Palmer
Piatkus, €20.85;
ebook, €8.99

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Children’s books

An Gabhar A Raibh An-Ocras Go Deo Air,
by Maire Ni Chualain
(Futa Fata; €9.95 HB; as Gaeilge) 

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An inspector calls in gripping Neapolitan thriller

Naples is a city used to terror. The Camorra run amok through its streets; drugs, violence and even murder are facts of life.

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Exploring the depths of the soul

IT’S A LONG way from the Arctic that Cormac James was reared. Born and raised in Ballincollig in Cork — when he was still Cormac McCarthy — Cormac James has lived in Montpellier in France for the past 12 years.

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Men Explain Things To Me And Other Essays

Rebecca Solnit
Granta, €18.75; ebook, £10.38

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Inside story on the Kingdom

Breda Joy has written a celebration of Kerry. Donal Hickey on a fine contribution to the county’s rich heritage.

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A fresh look at Byron

Fiona MacCarthy deserves huge credit for uncovering so much new and illuminating information on Lord Byron, she has revised her biography as her subject has become more, rather than less, relevant says Marjorie Brennan.

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The Murdstone Trilogy

Mal Peet
David Fickling Books, €17.99;
ebook, £7.79

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Emma

Alexander McCall Smith
The Borough Press, £18.99;
ebook, £6.64

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Children’s books

The Girl Who Walked on Air
by Emma Carroll
(Faber& Faber; €8.80). 

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Archer honoured by ‘most literate race’

There’s no short cut to writing a bestseller.

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Irish Country Houses book: Getting to the heart of the rise and fall of Ireland’s high society

Kya deLongchamps revels in a book which uses fascinating visual material from Irish mansions to illustrate life at that time and the dynastic tales behind the scenes

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Book shines light on the world’s most spectacular gardens

THERE’S one thing that we gardeners love at this time of the year, apart from gardening, and that’s sitting in the armchair and leafing through seed catalogues, gardening magazines and gardening books.

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New food bible a sublime guide to growing, cooking and preparing your own food

Kitty Scully takes a closer look at Michael Kelly’s ‘Grow Cook Eat’ which is packed with everything you need to know about how to grow, harvest and cook your own vegetables as well as celebrity chef recipes too.

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Thinking outside of that box: Dermot Bannon gets off the telly and into print

ALL of the dramas have been taken out of home improvement, in architect Dermot Bannon’s book, Love Your Home.

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Timely guide to Dublin design

Tommy Barker looks at a new Gandon Editions book on Dublin’s top modern builds by young Cork architect, Séan Antóin O Muirí.

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The high art of Anouska Hempel

Rose Martin looks at a new book on the life’s work of the self-taught and New Zealand-born creator of the boutique hotel concept.

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A brave new world on mid-century design

Carol O’Callaghan reviews a new volume on mid-century design.

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Science behind good writing

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
Steven Pinker
Allen Lane; £20

 

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Funny Girl

Nick Hornby
Viking, €27.50;
ebook, €15.99

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Caird — a bishop and a leader

Donald Caird
Church of Ireland Bishop, Gaelic Churchman, A Life
The Columba Press, €19.99

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The Naming Of The Shrew

A Curious History Of Latin Names
John Wright
Bloomsbury £14.99
ebook £6.69

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Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography

Meryle Secrest
Fig Tree, £25;
ebook, £13.99

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The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Rachel Joyce
Transworld E15.99
Kindle: E5.93

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All alone in the world: three life stories of loss and displacement

Orphans
Hadrien Laroche
Translated by Jan Steyn and Caite Dolan-Leach
Dalkey Archive, €15.75

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The King’s Sister

Anne O’Brien
Mira Books, €12.99;
ebook, £4.75

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Children’s Books

Gregory’s Grumpy Day,
by Nicola Call
(Bloomsbury; €6.30) 

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Persistence pays

It was an itch that would not go away and in the end Mary Costello could not help becoming a writer, a very good one at that. She spoke to Sue Leonard about her debut novel has come garlanded with high praise.

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The importance of being Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s greatest contribution to our culture is not his writing but the invention of celebrity. JP O’Malley is not entirely convinced.

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A collection with a hard heart

CANADIAN Margaret Atwood is one of the most acclaimed and prolific authors of the past 30-plus years, a woman of towering intellect and imagination. 

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Will the destructive ‘human age’ be the end of all eras?

THE ‘Human Age’ is the name Ackerman gives to the geological present, not because we are living in it, but because of the impact we’re having on the world.

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Book: Carsick

John Waters
Corsair, €19.40;
ebook, €12.99

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Book: The Collapse: The Accidental Opening Of The Berlin Wall

Mary Elise Sarotte
Basic Books, €27.50;
ebook, €15.24

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Book: The Book Of Gold Leaves

Mirza Waheed
Penguin, €18.75;
ebook. €10.99

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Book: F

By Daniel Kehlmann
Quercus, €18.75; ebook, £6.99

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Children’s books

Sunita’s Baby Sister by Nicola Call (Bloomsbury; €6.30). The byline to this oh so useful book could be ‘Jealousy’. 

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Stalin’s staying power

Joseph Stalin was violent and ruthless from an early age, and his criminality, his talents as an organiser and a manipulator, and his over-weening ambition, facilitated his later rise to power, says Geoffrey Roberts. 

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A thought-provoking meditation

Us      
David Nicholls        
Hodder & Stoughton 17.99        

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Small-town stories, big laughs

Local newspapers are a rich archive of outrageous and hilariously banal stories, so Ronan Casey has lovingly collected them into one volume, says Richard Fitzpatrick.

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Ireland couldn’t stomach war, so it went hungry at home

Ireland During the Second World War
Bryce Evans
University of Manchester Press, €85

 

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Children’s Books: How The Library (Not The Prince) Saved Rapunzel

How The Library (Not The Prince) Saved Rapunzel by Wendy Meddour and Rebecca Ashdown (Frances Lincoln; €15.10 HB). 

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Book: Consumed

David Cronenberg
Fourth Estate, €15.99;
ebook, €15.98

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Book: Gray Mountain

John Grisham
Hodder & Stoughton, €19.99;
ebook, €13.99

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Book: Rising Ground: A Search For The Spirit Of Place

Travel writer Philip Marsden has spent years describing his journeys across Europe and Africa, but his latest book focuses on his home county, Cornwall, inspired by a family decision to renovate an old farmhouse.

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Book: The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History

Billed as “essential reading for anyone who wants to know what makes a great leader”, this study of the great leader will do nothing to stem the belief that London’s mayor sees himself as a future prime minister.

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‘Portrait of a Man’ has the feel of some uncovered treasure

IN A BASEMENT studio just outside Paris, Gaspard Winckler, a master forger, has just murdered Anatole Madera, the crooked head of a group of international art dealers, and his patron. 

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The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Rachel Joyce’s debut The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was an exploration of a quiet, old-fashioned type of Englishness, as the eponymous protagonist walked from Devon to Berwick-upon-Tweed to ’save’ a dying ex-colleague.

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Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood and Ian Kelly
Picador, £25; ebook, €18.07

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The Book Of Strange New Things

Michel Faber
Canongate Books, €18.99; ebook, €13.03

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When in Paris, do as the Nazis did: the surrendering of a city

DURING the Nazi occupation of Europe, some cities were more unfortunate than others. 

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On the voyage of life, all that finally matters is ‘fellow-ship’

Theo Dorgan’s new poetry collection, Nine Bright Shiners, utilises nautical metaphor to remember nine dead friends and loved-ones, says Thomas McCarthy.

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Childrens books: Chu’s First Day at School

Chu’s First Day at School
by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex
(Bloomsbury; €10.99HB). 

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Good but Grimm bedtime reading

These Brothers Grimm stories topics are common to mankind’s experience of life: they unite us all. Mary Leland on a new anthology.

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How a writer Bloomed

Amy was “an OK actress” and later a social worker and a psychotherapist before realising that her childhood love of reading and her parents’ jobs as journalists were clues to her true calling. She spoke to Sue Leonard.

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Impressive debut heralds a talent of breathtaking vibrancy

We Need New Names
NoViolet Bulawayo
Vintage, £7.99
Kindle: £4.74 

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Thriller gets under Glasgow’s skin

Where the Dead Men Go
Liam McIlvanney Faber, €11.95

 

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Centuries Of Change

Ian Mortimer
Bodley Head, £20; ebook, £9.99

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Moriarty

Anthony Horowitz
Orion, €17.99; ebook, €12.99

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A Little In Love

Susan Fletcher
Chicken House, €10.00;
ebook, €6.50

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The Last Days Of California

Mary Miller
Liveright Publishing Corporation, €17.25;
ebook, €8.23

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Children’s books: Alfie in the Garden

Alfie in the Garden by Debi Gliori (Bloomsbury; €15.10 HB). 

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Book: Now That I’ve Found You

Now That I’ve Found You
Ciara Geraghty
Hachette Books Ireland, €14.99; ebook, 6.32.
Review: Sue Leonard

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Portraits of great paintings: Irish authors take inspiration from the greats

Irish authors have taken pieces in the National Gallery as inspiration for prose and poetry, writes Peter Murray

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Most delightfully evil book you wish you could read, but not now

Confessions
Kanae Minato
Translated by Stephen Snyder
Mulholland Books/Hodder, €13.40, ebook €6.49
Review: Tony Clayton-Lea

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Laureate of yearning

Van Morisson’s incantations and repetitions, admonitions, yearnings and folk-music prove that people walked this earth yearning for a heaven elsewhere. Thomas McCarthy on a selection of Morisson’s lyrics.

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A sharp wit and a sassy attitude

Nora Ephron had effortless style and her steeliness was as impressive as her slick observations. Marjorie Brennan is charmed by a collection of her impressive work.

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Book: Only When I Laugh

By Paul Merton
Ebury, €14.99; ebook, €8.99
Review: Hannah Stephenson

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Book: Miss Carter’s War

Miss Carter’s War
Sheila Hancock
Bloomsbury, €15.99; ebook, €10.07
Review: Bridie Pritchard

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Book: The Monogram Murders

The Monogram Murders
Sophie Hannah
Harper Collins, €11.50
Review: Sarah Scoffin

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Book: The Dark

The Dark
VM Giambanco
Quercus, €16.99; ebook, €7.24
Review: Roddy Brooks

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Books for children

The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, etc
by Diane and Chrystyan Fox
(Words and Pictures, €15.10 HB) 

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Life of poet is work in progress

A powerful new book on the life of Derek Mahon sent Thomas McCarthy back to Mahon’s four key works, The Yaddo Letter, The Hudson Letter, The Yellow Book and Harbour Lights.

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A finely judged legal dilemma

The Children Act
Ian McEwan
Jonathan Cape £16.99

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More Fool Me: A Memoir by Stephen Fry

Michael Joseph, priced £25
(ebook £2.99)

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The Sunrise

The Sunrise
Victoria Hislop
Headline Review, €18.99
ebook €12.99

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