10 books to buy now that bookshops are open again 

Bookstores may have been closed over the past few months, but plenty quality reads still hit the market. Marjorie Brennan offers a selection... 
10 books to buy now that bookshops are open again 

Sharon Stone, Danielle McLaughlin, Cathy Kelly, and a man reads Leonard and Hungry Paul.

Leonard and Hungry Paul, Ronán Hession 

Released two years ago, this comforting and uplifting tale of kindness and companionship is perfect reading for challenging times, and has amassed a legion of devoted readers. 

Selected as this year’s One Dublin One Book, it was April’s most borrowed e-book and e-audio book in Irish libraries. Hession’s second novel Panenka, about a man aiming to restore his relationship with his estranged daughter, is out this month.

The Art of Falling, Danielle McLaughlin

 This debut novel by one of Cork’s most celebrated writers has been chosen as the rebel county’s One City One Book this year. At its centre is art curator Nessa McCormack whose professional and personal life is turned upside down after the arrival of some unexpected visitors. 

The award-winning short story writer's astute observational skills and perfectly-crafted prose are deployed with aplomb in this tale of infidelity, betrayal and deceit set in middle-class Cork.

The End of the World is a Cul de Sac, Louise Kennedy 

The rave reviews keep coming for this masterful short-story collection by the Sligo-based writer. The debut book, which was the subject of a nine-way auction, includes two stories which were shortlisted for the prestigious Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award (previous winners include Sally Rooney and Kevin Barry). 

Kennedy brings a wholly new and vibrant energy to the form, with her darkly entertaining stories of rundown housing estates, gallivanting husbands, and bad holidays.

Bookshops are open again. 
Bookshops are open again. 

The Butchers, by Ruth Gilligan

 The BSE crisis might not seem like the most inspiring of subjects but Gilligan pulls off this ambitious literary thriller with supreme skill. It recently won the £10,000 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize — awarded to an outstanding work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry that best evokes the spirit of a place. 

Set in the border counties in the mid ’90s, it is a darkly humorous coming-of-age story, harking back to an Ireland on the cusp of change, while also providing hauntingly prescient resonances for the crisis we are dealing with now.

The Disconnect, by Róisín Kiberd

 This sharp and thought-provoking account of a life spent online makes for a compelling read. Kiberd is an engaging and entertaining companion as she takes us on a journey exploring everything from the cult of energy drinks to midnight gym workouts. 

Full of illuminating information such as the fact that a small Dublin office hosts ‘web design and SEO company’ MindGeek, one of the largest online porn providers in the world.

Other Women, by Cathy Kelly 

One of Ireland’s best-loved writers, Kelly's customary warmth, wit and wisdom shines through in this feelgood tale of three women navigating the twists and turns of friendship while trying to hold it all together in the face of life’s challenges. Perfect for the sunlounger, whether in the garden or by a pool (here’s hoping).

The Beauty of Living Twice, by Sharon Stone

 You would expect this Hollywood legend’s memoir — apparently completed without the aid of a ghostwriter — to be gloriously gossipy and it doesn’t disappoint in that respect (the circumstances behind the infamous leg-crossing scene in Basic Instinct are eye-opening in the era of MeToo). 

Told in an intimately honest and accessible style, it gives the reader a new appreciation for the fierce ambition, ferocious talent — and resilience — behind the screen facade.

Early Morning Riser, Katherine Heiny 

Heiny has a particular knack for vividly painting quirky characters dealing with the barely-restrained chaos of daily life, as demonstrated in her previous much-loved book, Standard Deviation. 

In Early Morning Riser, the lives of the protagonists in a Michigan town intersect in tragic circumstances, with ultimately heart-warming consequences.

A Galway Epiphany, Ken Bruen 

Ireland’s answer to Ian Rankin, this is Bruen’s 17th novel in the hugely popular series featuring the tormented ex-garda turned private investigator Jack Taylor. 

In A Galway Epiphany, Taylor is hoping for a quieter life in the countryside along with his friend, the former Rolling Stones roadie Keefer. However, his plans are dashed when he is drawn into a mystery involving two children living in a direct provision centre.

Spring Cannot Be Cancelled, David Hockney in Normandy, by Martin Gayford 

We may not be able to journey farther afield just yet but this joyful and life-affirming dispatch from the great artist’s Normandy farmhouse brings a glorious patch of the French countryside to homebound readers. 

It features a series of conversations and correspondence between Hockney and the art critic Martin Gayford, and illustrations of new paintings and iPad drawings. Thankfully, 83-year-old Hockney’s enthusiasm and sense of wonder shows no signs of dimming.

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