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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Read Ireland

Read Ireland Book News – Issue 326 ---------------------------------- Lark's Eggs: New and Selected Stories by Desmond Hogan (Hardback; 18.00 Euro / 23.50 USD / 12.50 UK; 344 pages) Desmond Hogan is one of the most exciting literary talents to have come out of Ireland in the past half-century. "Larks' Eggs" reaffirms his stature, displaying anew a compressed lyricism, ferocity and sheer prismatic brilliance in these twenty stories from previous collections and twelve fresh ones. Cressida Connolly called 'Airedale', in William Trevor's "The Oxford Book of Short Stories", 'profound, moving and exquisitely executed. Hogan is one of the finest writers alive today and deserves to be much better known.' Joyce Carol Oates describes 'Winter Swimmers', in the Times Literary Supplement, as an 'elegiac, daringly sustained prose poem...a collage of meticulously rendered Irish scenes that weaves in and out of tales of tinkers and youths'. Hogan's compelling tales of diaspora and exile, of subsumed identity and allurement, merge landscape with mindscape. His history-burdened, fragmented personas are distinctly Irish, while exhilaratingly, wholly universal. 'Here's to the storytellers. They made sense of these lonely and driven lives of ours.' The Lilliput Press is proud to introduce Desmond Hogan to a twenty-first century readership. ------------------------------------ Winter Blessings: Thoughts and Poems to Warm Your Heart selected by Patricia Scanlan (Hardback; 20.00 Euro / 25.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 190 pages) Widely known as one of Ireland's best-loved writers, here Patricia Scanlan offers readers a glimpse into her own life. In Winter Blessings, Patricia shares her favourite poems, childhood recollection and personal stories that have inspired her spiritual journey – all bound together by the season of short days and frosty nights. From early Christmases with excited siblings in the cocoon of their parents' love to learning poems by rote 'on the hard wooden chairs' of the classroom, and on through later days, suffering from chronic bank pain and struggling to make sense of her own life, here are treasured poems and stories from one woman's life and her journey towards self- understanding and self-healing. Winter Blessings is a unique and heart-warming book – the perfect fireside companion for all those seeking shelter form that coldest of seasons. ----------------------------------- Keeping the Faith: Church of Rome or Church of Christ? By Tony Flannery (Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 11.50 UK; 192 pages) The issues focused on in the book include the following: A. The misuse and abuse of authority by the Church down through the centuries; how this happened, and what structural and systemic change is needed to overcome it. B. Two problematic doctrines that are part of Church teaching: Infallibility and the Virgin Birth. Flannery questions both the meaning and the use made of both. C. Opening up the Church to all believers, including women. D. Abolishing compulsory celibacy for priests. ----------------------------------------- The Story of Virtue: Universal Lessons on How to Live by Joe Humphreys (Paperback with endflaps; 17.00 Euro / 21.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 250 pages) Religion is becoming an increasing source of tension in the world. Fundamentalism is on the rise. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, believers and non-believers are speaking to each other less and distrusting each other more. A clash of civilisations has been predicted. Future conflicts promise to be fought along lines of faith.But it need not be so. "The Story of Virtue" argues that the world's major faiths share much in common - more than many religious leaders will freely admit. Drawing upon core morality tales in Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Confucianism, as well as western secular philosophy, this important work identifies a universal plea for people to be good.The book speaks to religious believers, and those belonging to no organised faith, pointing the way to a shared human ethic - a common set of virtues on which everyone can agree and to which everyone can aspire.Accessible and enlightening, "The Story of Virtue" unearths a wealth of inspiring fables and sacred parables from across the world, thereby filling a gap in understanding between religions. This is a book for anyone who cares about the future of inter-faith relations, and for anyone wishing to answer in his or her own life that perennial question, "How should I live?" -------------------------------------- The New World of Work: Labour Markets in Contemporary Ireland edited by Gerry Boucher and Grainne Collins (Trade Paperback; 23.00 Euro / 28.00 USD / 18.00 UK; 280 pages) Working in Ireland has changed dramatically over the last two decades. In the early 1980s, those fortunate to have employment would likely be working in either agriculture or manufacturing and it was expected that the wages received would be adequate for a man to support his family. That has now changed, unemployment has fallen and the new jobs are in the service sector and frequently done by women. Yet we lack research on the effects these changes have on individuals. This is surprising, since work fundamentally shapes our lives, defining who we are, how wealthy we are and how much free time we have to spend with our family and friends and in our communities. This book fills this gap in the research. Various chapters look at how time with families is moulded around the working day; how work is individualised and solidarity fragmented; how workers devise strategies to confront managerial authority; how workers reinvent their identity in the new workplaces; and how immigrants are integrated into and excluded from Irish society through work. ------------------------------------- Dail Spats: Explosive Outbursts and Debates in the Dail by Mary Minihan (Paperback; 11.00 Euro / 14.00 USD / 8.50 UK; 340 pages) When the gloves are off, many of our TDs still know how to debate with passion. Here is a selection of the most powerful, humorous and dramatic exchanges that have taken place during the Ahern administrations. Explosive outbursts and bitter spats are documented, along with withering put- downs, creative catcalls and outrageous insults. Of course, increased political stability in recent years has toned down the histrionics and encouraged deputies to vote slavishly along party lines. Those who visit the Dáil often witness a listless TD in a practically empty chamber droning his way through a pre-prepared speech, coined by spin doctors and littered with recycled soundbites. But when the scripts are dispensed with and long-running tensions flare up into all-out war, the 'out of order' sparring that results can be sparkling and often hilarious. Dáil Spats provides an insight into the personality clashes, turf wars and scandals that make Irish politics unique. Sometimes serious, sometimes slapstick, the contents of this stimulating book will amuse and inform. This book challenges the widespread perception that Leinster House is an irrelevant talking shop. ------------------------------------ The Highland Lady in Dublin 1851-1856: Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus edited by Patricia Pelly and Andrew Tod Large Paperback; 20.00 Euro / 26.00 USD / 14.00 UK; 439 pages ELIZABETH GRANT OF ROTHIEMURCHUS, 'THE HIGHLAND LADY' WHOSE MEMOIRS AND DIARIES ARE SUCH A VIVID AND INDIVIDUAL RECORD OF THE FIRST HALF OF HER LONG LIFE IN SCOTLAND, ENGLAND, INDIA, FRANCE AND IRELAND, CONTINUED TO KEEP A JOURNAL DURING THE 1850S. In the years covered by this volume, she and her husband, Colonel, later General, Henry Smith, and her two unmarried children moved to Dublin. Hers was a busy existence with an invalid husband, a testy aunt who needed to be humoured if only because her favourite niece was to be her principal legatee, an unmarried daughter, and a young son who, despite his mother's wish for him to lead the life of an improving country gentleman back in Co. Wicklow, aspired to follow in his father's footsteps. Their full part in the Dublin social whirl is entertainingly described, as they move with their Blessington neighbours, such as the Earl and Countess of Milltown and the Hornidges, and their city friends, through the lévees and balls, operas and concerts that graced the season. The estate meantime was far from neglected and the châtelaine of Baltiboys kept a watchful eye on all that occurred in the neighbourhood she loved so well, as well as the increasingly complicated fortunes of her wayward son- in-law whose duplicity contrasted with her own high standards. In town and country, public and family life, her observations and comments cover the full range of society, with shrewd, amusing and often significant insights into her life and times. This penultimate volume of the Highland Lady's diaries closes with the Crimean War, on all aspects of which she has her own trenchant views. And, tragically, with the development of a cataract in one eye, which she accepted with her characteristic stoicism: 'I don't see well what I write. Instinct guides the pen. A blind old age for the busy bee, a cross indeed with a thousand blessings.' Andrew Tod was formerly Head of History at Strathallan School. His previous publications include Memoirs of a Highland Lady and A Highland Lady in France, 184-1845. Now retired, he divides his time between his flat in Edinburgh and a cottage in Donegal. -------------------------------------- Second Son by Christy Kenneally (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 465 pages) When Gabriel Flaherty plunges to his death from a cliff in suspicious circumstances, it is left to his brother Michael, a priest from New York, to return home to The Island and uncover what has happened. Michael finds his childhood home much changed. With the opening of a factory, the sea that had given the islanders their livelihoods, as well as claiming so many of their lives, is no longer paramount. But along with steadier incomes and easier lives, the factory has brought suspicion and jealousy. Whilst confronting his past – his estranged father, the old priest who shaped his life and his first love – Michael uncovers an intricate, far-reaching web of evil that touches everyone he knows. But when the close-knit islanders realise the full extent of what is going on, they unite to avenge their own, seeking justice of a different kind. As the net tightens, they hold their breath, waiting to see who will survive… ------------------------ Available Again: ---------------- The Collegians by Gerald Griffin (Paperback; 11.00 Euro / 14.00 USD / 8.00 UK; 290 pages) In 1819 the body of a young woman was washed ashore near Kilrush in Co. Clare. Soon after, John Scanlon, son of one of the leading county families was arrested and brought to trial for murder. The brutal murder of "The Colleen Bawn" was to prove, a decade after the event, the ideal framework for a novel in which Griffin vividly expressed both himself and the age in which he lived. The novel combines a hero whose curious psychology paralleled the author's own with a vivid and universal picture of a society in decay. A classic of Irish literature. ------------------------------------------- Highlights from the Previous Issue: ---------------------------------- Beautiful Day: Forty Years of Irish Rock Music by Sean Campbell and Gerry Smyth (Large format paperback with endflaps; 25.00 Euro / 35.00 USD / 19.00 UK; 200 pages, with photos throughout) Music has played an important role throughout the island of Ireland since ancient times, and it continues to represent one of the principal cultural avenues for the expression and exploration of contemporary Irish identities. Beautiful Day: Forty Years of Irish Rock tells the story of modern Ireland from the perspective of the music produced across the island during a period of rapid, decisive change. The volume is made up of an introductory essay (4,000 words) followed by short essays (ca. 1,200 words) on forty-one songs (one from each year between 1964 and 2004) interspersed with photographic images relating to individual performers, songs and / or cultural context. This book will place representative material by a variety of artists - including U2, Enya, The Corrs, Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison, and Sinéad O'Connor - in their musical, cultural and historical contexts, while also introducing a range of less well known, but no less interesting, Irish popular musicians from the 1960s down to the present. Although the style is accessible, the research is thorough, and is intended to challenge many received ideas relating to the development of Ireland during this key stage of its political and cultural history. The overall intention is to combine written text with photographs to produce an attractive book that is evocative, informative, and controversial, and that has widespread, cross-demographic appeal. Beautiful Day introduces representative songs from 1964 to the present by a range of Irish popular musicians. The book combines written text with photographs to produce an attractive volume that is evocative, informative, and controversial, and that has widespread, cross-demographic appeal. Music has played an important role throughout the island of Ireland since ancient times, and it continues to represent one of the principal cultural avenues for the expression and exploration of contemporary Irish identities. Beautiful Day: Forty Years of Irish Rock tells the story of modern Ireland from the perspective of the music produced across the island during a period of rapid, decisive change. The volume is made up of an introductory essay (4,000 words) followed by short essays (ca. 1,200 words) on forty-one songs (one from each year between 1964 and 2004) interspersed with photographic images relating to individual performers, songs and / or cultural context. ------------------------------------ Green Suede Shoes: An Irish Odyssey by Larry Kirwan (Trade Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 370 pages) This memoir by Black 47 front man Larry Kirwan begins in Wexford and traces the impact on a young Kirwan of his Irish Republican grandfather, his mysterious and often absent deep-sea sailing father and his first bandleader Elvis Murphy. These influences propelled him to the Dublin of the early 70s and later Kirwan emigrated to New York, where he eventually formed the political rock band Black 47. He gives a dry-eyed and unsparing account of the tumultuous trajectory of Black 47 and of the band's ongoing political commitment and opposition to the war in Iraq. -------------------------------------- Moments That Changed Us by Colum Kenny (Paperback with endflaps; 17.00 Euro / 21.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 320 pages) Ireland has changed enormously since the 1960s. The old country is barely recognisable today. Crucial moments in that process of transformation are the subject of Colum Kenny's new book. He recalls a series of linked events which, taken together, fired the engines of social, economic and cultural change in modern Ireland. He gathers his material by themes: Mother and Child (including education, school beatings, working mums); Violence (including the vanished, random attacks and atrocities); and Rituals (including drugs, sport, religion). The other themes are Sexual Relations, Scandals, Politics, Society, Lifestyle and Culture. This fascinating necklace of moments and events gives a unique insight into the evolution of contemporary Ireland. Colum Kenny's cool, analytical intelligence interprets Ireland to the Irish for the twenty-first century. ---------------------------------------- The Fighting Irish: Inside the Ring with Boxing's Celtic Warriors by Roger Anderson (Paperback; 12.00 Euro / 15.00 USD / 8.00 UK; 336 pages) The Fighting Irish tells the remarkable story of how the Irish and their descendants took the boxing world by storm. Irishmen have enjoyed a unique place in the sport, punching way above their weight and exerting a truly global influence. From the brutal bare-knuckle era to the present day, they've also played their part in many of the most famous - and infamous - moments in ring history. The French have their flamboyance, the Germans efficiency, but no one likes a scrap quite like the Irish. It's hardly surprising, then, that the boxer should become a source of national pride, not least for those people forced through famine to seek a new life in the new world. John Morrissey, Yankee Sullivan, John C. Heenan and Paddy Ryan paved the way for the sport's first superstar, John L. Sullivan. His boast that he could 'lick any son-of-a-bitch in the house' tapped into the mood of a people fighting for their place in America's melting pot of immigrants. From the brazen Boston Strong Boy to Gentleman Jim Corbett, legend of the 'Roaring '20s' Jack Dempsey through to James J. Braddock, who fought his way from the welfare queue to the heavyweight championship of the world, satisfaction was guaranteed. The Fighting Irish also looks at that glorious era of ethnic match-ups when Irishman and Jew traded blows; at racism and the search for the Great White Hope; fighters who united the most divided of communities; and the ultimate price paid by some in the pursuit of ring glory. It's a roller- coaster ride of pride and passion, raw courage and sublime skill. McLarnin, McGuigan, McAuliffe, McCullough, Corbett, Cooney, Conn, Monaghan and Micky Ward - each distinctive, yet linked by the Celtic warrior culture. The Fighting Irish is the ultimate tale of trial and tribulation, tragedy and triumph. --------------------------------------- Old Bones and Shallow Graves: The Untold Story of the Irish-American Gangster by T.J. English (Trade Paperback; 16.00 Euro / 19.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 465 pages, with an eight-page black-and-white photo insert) Here is the shocking, true saga of the Irish-American mob, from the mid-nineteenth century all the way to the present day. History shows that the heritage of the Irish-American gangster was established in America long before that of the more widely portrayed Italian American Mafioso and has held strong through the modern age. In fact, the highest-ranking organised crime figure on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List - alongside Osama bin Laden - is an old-style Irish-American mob boss from South Boston. In Paddy Whacked, bestselling author and organised crime expert T.J. English brings to life nearly two centuries of Irish-American gangsterism, which spawned such unforgettable characters as Mike 'King Mike' McDonald, Chicago's subterranean godfather; Big Bill Dwyer, New York's most notorious rumrunner during Prohibition; Mickey Featherstone, troubled Vietnam vet turned Westies gang leader from Hell's Kitchen; and James 'Whitey' Bulger, the ruthless and untouchable Southie legend. This is an epic story of corrupt politics, wanton murders, gambling empires, notorious brothels, tough women and hard-drinking pugilists from the underbelly of America's most dangerous cities. Combining storytelling verve with thorough research and a slew of never-before- published material, English presents a riveting, seamless cultural history of the Irish-American underworld. He offers a brilliant portrait of a people who fought tooth and nail for a better life from the moment they arrived in America, whether it meant taking charge within the realms of law enforcement and politics or capitalising on what opportunities they could in the darker world beyond the law. Paddy Whacked is an irresistible tour of the undercarriage of American history - a ride that stretches from the earliest New York and New Orleans street wars through decades of bootlegging scams, union strikes, gang wars and FBI investigations... and along the way deepens our understanding of the American experience. --------------------------------------- Contacted: Testimonies of People Who Say the Dead Are Alive by Audrey Healy and Don Mullan (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.50 USD / 10.00 UK; 190 pages) Contacted! is a compilation of stories of people who have been contacted by the dead. Healy and Mullan's approach is similar to that of the authors of the highly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul in that people are allowed to tell their own stories without editorial filtering. Such first-hand accounts are both compelling to those who already believe and challenging to those who are sceptics. As with Chicken Soup for the Soul, Healy and Mullan's book presents each story on its own, without commentary, thus allowing readers to make up their own minds. Such an approach gives breathing space to the reader who might wish to sit and ponder or reflect on a particular story. -------------------------------------- The Hollow Heart: The True Story of One Woman's Desire to Give Life and How It Almost Destroyed Her Own by Martina Devlin (Paperback; 14.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK) In three attempts at in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) Martin Devlin lost nine embryos. But she also lost her marriage and her dreams of becoming a mother. The Hollow Heart describes Devlin's bewilderment at being diagnosed as infertile, the physical and emotional demands of going through IVF and the shattering fall-out when it failed. She also describes how her despair eventually faded, and how she learned to take pleasure in her extended family of nieces and nephews and, as her mother always advised, to count her blessings. "And in enumerating them I am struck by this. Their quantity." ------------------------------ Moleskin Joe by Patrick MacGill (Paperback; 11.00 Euro / 13.50 USD / 8.50 UK; 190 pages) Moleskin Joe is one of the most memorable characters to appear in Patrick MacGill's first two books, Children of the Dead End and The Rat Pit (both also available in paperback at the same price). This sequel, first published in 1923, recalls the tramps and navvies MacGill encountered during his time on the road in Scotland and north of England in the early years of the twentieth century. Centred around the adventures of Moleskin Joe, with his philosophy of 'there's a good time comin', although we may never live to see it', this intriguing book sees Joe fall in love with a young Irish woman he meets on his travels. Filled with superb characterisation, humour, poignancy and eloquence, Moleskin Joe is a vivid portrayal of the hardships of the immigrant experience, which MacGill not only experienced himself, but also successfully exposed to a huge audience through his writing. -------------------------------------- Folkmusic and Dances of Ireland by Breandan Breathnach (Paperback; 11.00 Euro / 13.50 USD / 9.00 UK; 150 pages) Breandan Breathnach's classic study of the history and development of Irish traditional music, song and dance. The techniques and styles of traditional playing are fully and expertly treated with special reference to the fiddle, the Irish Uilleann pipes and the whistle. The late Breandan Breathnach was acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities on traditional music of Ireland and as such contributed the main article on Irish folkmusic to Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians. An expert piper himself, he was chairman of the Association of Uilleann Pipers. He was editor and publisher of Ceol, a highly regarded magazine of Irish traditional music. ------------------------------------------------ Thank you for your continued support. It is vital for the continuation of this service! I respectfully request that if you are considering ordering any of these books that you do so through Read Ireland. I very much appreciate your patronage. To order books from the Read Ireland Book Review – simply return the Newsletter by clicking your reply button. Please DELETE the books you do NOT want and LEAVE the books you DO WANT to order. Alternatively, you can send an email to the order department at: Please be sure to include your full mailing address and credit card details including expiration date. You might like to split this information into 2 or 3 emails for security. You can of course also post your order to: Read Ireland, 392 Clontarf Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3,Ireland. Telephone and Facsimile number is: +353-1-853-2063. Read Ireland Web Site Home Page: or We have added a new feature to the Read Ireland website. It is a page listing ONLY the newest books added to or updated on the website. This new feature page will itself be superseded at least 3 times per month (last updated 2 November). Checking this page on the Read Ireland website is an ideal way to keep abreast of what is happening in the world of Irish Interest publishing. Please visit often! If we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you very much for your continued support and custom. Sincerely, Gregory Carr @ Read Ireland
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