This site includes the postings from the Irish Aires email list. This includes a listing of Irish/Celtic events in the Houston area and other information that the Irish Aires radio program posts.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Read Ireland

Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 399 ------------------------------------- Contents: 1. Temples of Stone: Exploring the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland by Carleton Jones 2. The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 by Brendan O’Donoghue 3. Reinterpreting Emmet: Essays on the Life and Legacy of Robert Emmet edited by Anne Dolan, Patrick Geoghegan and Darryl Jone 4. Ireland’s Rugby Giants by Ivan Martin 5. King’s of the Turf: Ireland’s Top Racehorse Trainers by Michael Clower 6. Oxford Companion to Irish History 2ed edited by S.J. Connolly 7. Sean Treacy and the Tan War by Joe Ambrose 8. The Miami Showband Massacre: A Survivor’s Search for the Truth by Stephen Travers with Neil Fetherstonhaugh 9. Jack Doyle: Gorgeous Gael by Michael Taub 10. Asking for Trouble by Patricia Craig 11. The Bitter Pill: An Insider’s Shocking Expose of the Irish Health System by Doctor X 12. Dublin PopOut City Guide 13. Guinness: The 250-Year Quest for the Perfect Pint by Bill Yenne 14. The Dirty Dozen: Ireland’s Motor Racing Legends by John Kenny ---------------------------------------- 1. Temples of Stone: Exploring the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland by Carleton Jones (Hardback; 28 Euro / 38 USD / 19 UK; 334 pages) Dolmens and burial chambers dot the Irish countryside and fascinate all. Once dismissed as `rude monuments' shrouded in mystery, fresh archaeological interpretations provide new ways of understanding these ancient structures. Who were the megalith builders? Why did they heave these massive stones on top of one another? What can these evocative monuments tell us about how their builders understood the world and their place in it? How did the monuments alter ancient people's experience of place and time? What rituals took place in and around these monuments? Were drugs and hallucinations part of the rituals engaged in? How were the giant megaliths erected? And finally, why did people stop building them? Insights and answers to these questions are presented in a fully-illustrated popular format. All key sites in Ireland are discussed. 100 `Sites Worth Visiting' are listed in a final chapter with photos, maps, and detailed directions for visiting each site. ------------------------------------- 2. The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 by Brendan O’Donoghue (Hardback; 55 Euro / 80 USD / 40 UK; 356 pages) This book is a comprehensive study of the evolution and achievements of the county surveyor system in Ireland. The introduction in 1834 of these officials - county engineers in modern terminology - to local government was a major innovation, bringing the infrastructural work of the grand juries under the supervision and direction of a corps of professional engineers; and the appointments themselves were the first at local or central level in the United Kingdom which were made on the basis of competitive examinations. In the years that followed, the new county surveyors and their successors went on to play a major role in the construction of roads, bridges and public buildings, many of which are still in use today. Preliminary essays describe how appointments were made over the period 1834-1944 and how the work of the surveyors contributed to building up local infrastructure. The biographical dictionary follows outlines in some detail the careers and achievements of the 200 surveyors who served in the thirty-two counties during the period. ---------------------------------- 3. Reinterpreting Emmet: Essays on the Life and Legacy of Robert Emmet edited by Anne Dolan, Patrick Geoghegan and Darryl Jones (Trade Paperback; 27 Euro / 40 USD / 20 UK; 258 pages) Robert Emmet's life, death, and immediate elevation into the pantheon of Irish nationalist heroes are well known. These essays on Emmet's life and legacy, however, demonstrate a new interdisciplinary approach to studies of the Irish nationalist hero. "Reinventing Emmet" includes essays on commemoration, literature, legal history and aspects of the Emmet legacy not explored elsewhere, such as studies of his influence on American culture, and draws on research from young as well as established scholars. Robert Emmet is an Irish (and Irish-American) nationalist icon. Although Emmet's rebellion of 1803 was an embarrassing failure, his speech from the dock prior to his execution for high treason has captured national and international imagination. The trial, the speech, and the image of Emmet have in many ways superseded his actual achievements, and have been perpetually reproduced across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, culminating in the bicentenary of Emmet's rebellion in 2003. But what is Emmet's legacy? Is there more to this iconic figure than a failed rebellion and a memorable speech? ----------------------------------- 4. Ireland’s Rugby Giants by Ivan Martin (Hardback; 28 Euro / 40 USD / 19 UK; 184 pages, with full colour photos throughout) Ireland has produced many rugby heroes over the years, legends like Willie John McBride and Jack Kyle and in more recent years the list continues with Brian O'Driscoll, Fergus Slattery and Ciaran Fitzgerald. "Ireland's Rugby Giants" profiles the top players from all four provinces - giants past and present - and is crammed with photographs of the players in action for their country or in their club kits. Each profile features details on the player, and information about some of their most memorable games and tries they scored. The book is guaranteed to get rugby fans talking as much about who isn't included as those who are. And anyway, can our favourite mighty but tiny rugby player Peter Stringer really be called a giant? ----------------------------------- 5. King’s of the Turf: Ireland’s Top Racehorse Trainers by Michael Clower (Hardback; 25 Euro / 34 USD / 17 UK; 210 pages, with an 8-page full colour photo insert) Ireland has always been at the heart of horse racing, but increasingly its horses and trainers have come to dominate at the highest level, both on the flat and in National Hunt. Top owners like John Magnier (himself an Irishman) choose a top Irish trainer like Aidan O'Brien. The Cheltenham Festival, highlight of the jumping year, has in recent years become a remarkable Irish festival, as tens of thousands of punters come over for the craic and to see the best horses of trainers like Willie Mullins, Jessica Harrington and Dessie Hughes - Hedgehunter, Moscow Flyer and Hardy Eustace - triumph in the biggest races.Now Michael Clower, author of successful biographies of jockeys Mick Inane and Charlie Swan, and of the Champion Hurdler Istabraq, has profiled the 12 most successful racehorse trainers in Ireland at the moment. As well as those mentioned already they include Michael Hourigan, trainer of the great steeplechaser Beef or Salmon, flat trainer John Oxx, and the distinctly larger-than-life Edward O'Grady. -------------------------------------- 6. Oxford Companion to Irish History 2ed edited by S.J. Connolly (Trade Paperback; 23 Euro / 32 USD / 16 UK; 650 pages) Revised and updated this book reaffirms the position held by the first edition as the definitive compact source of reference on all aspects of the Irish past. Individuals, events, institutions, movements, organizations, places, language, and historiography are just some of the topics covered, spanning from the pre-Christian period to the end of the 20th century. In light of recent events and developments in scholarship, new entries have been written on such subjects as the visual arts and the current political situation in Northern Ireland. In addition existing entries covering Bronze Age Ireland, Iron Age, Mesolithic Ireland, and Neolithic Ireland have been rewritten. 'A companion to be cherished', 'judicious and authoritative', 'informative and entertaining', an 'invaluable work of reference' - these are just some of the phrases used by reviewers to describe the Oxford Companion to Irish History. The history of Ireland has long been at the epicentre of political and academic debate. Interest in Irish culture, politics, and society, both ancient and modern, never seems to falter, not only in scholarly circles but also among the general public. With over 1,800 entries, this Companion - now available in the Oxford Paperback Reference series - offers a comprehensive and authoritative guide to all aspects of Ireland's past from earliest times to the present day. There is coverage not only of leading political figures, organizations, and events but also of subjects such as dress, music, sport, and diet. Traditional topics such as the rebellion of 1798 and the Irish Civil War sit alongside entries on newly developing areas such as women's history and popular culture.In addition to A-Z entries the Companion includes a section of maps showing the shape of modern Ireland, post-reformation ecclesiastical divisions in Ireland, political divisions circa 800. ------------------------------------ 7. Sean Treacy and the Tan War by Joe Ambrose (Paperback; 13 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 226 pages) This is a ground breaking new book that looks back on Ireland's struggle for freedom with a refreshingly new perspective and attitude. This is a journey into a turbulent period in Ireland's past - the past of charismatic guerrilla leader Sean Treacy, Tipperary's Flying Columns and the horrors of Croke Park's 'Bloody Sunday'. Tipperary's role in the War of Independence has been greatly underplayed and this book analyses the main events and personalities of the time. The Tan War in Tipp takes a contemporary look at a time in our history that defined a nation. ------------------------------------ 8. The Miami Showband Massacre: A Survivor’s Search for the Truth by Stephen Travers with Neil Fetherstonhaugh (Trade Paperback; 16 Euro / 22 USD / 11 UK; 300 pages, with an 8-page black-and-white photo insert) 'The suddenness of the punch had caught me off guard ! I knew then that something was definitely wrong.' On 31 July 1975, members of The Miami Showband were returning to Dublin after a gig in Banbridge when they were stopped at a border checkpoint. For Stephen Travers, the band's new bass player, it was an unusual experience but he wasn't too worried. However, as his band mates were lined up beside their vehicle Stephen noticed that the atmosphere had suddenly changed! something more sinister was happening. In a flash their lives were dramatically altered when a bomb that was being placed in the back of their van suddenly exploded prematurely. The events of that night would never leave Stephen Travers -- being hurled into the air by the explosion, listening to the cries of his friends as they were mercilessly gunned down and the steps of the gunmen getting closer as they approached to finish him off! What is it like to survive such an atrocity? To live when all around you others died? In The Miami Showband Massacre, Stephen Travers remembers the highs of being in the most successful showband of the 1970s and how it all ended in a terrifying moment of death and destruction.But he also looks for answers as to why his friends -- Tony Geraghty, Fran O'Toole and Brian McCoy -- were killed. Who ordered the ambush? What drove them to such an act? Stephen wants to understand, but will he find the answers when he meets the men responsible for the massacre face to face? --------------------------------- 9. Jack Doyle: Gorgeous Gael by Michael Taub (Trade Paperback; 16 Euro / 22 USD / 11 UK; 380 pages, with an 8-page black-and-white photo insert) Jack Doyle was a 6ft 5in Irishman with a giant appetite for life. In 1933 he drew 90,000 to London's White City to see him fight and was making GBP 600 a week on stage as a singer. He was 19. By the age of 30 he had earned and squandered a GBP 250,000 fortune (worth millions today). His motto was, 'A generous man never went to hell,' and he lived his life like a hellraiser. In his heyday as a heavyweight boxer, singer and playboy, his celebrity rivalled the Prince of Wales, and he and his wife - the beautiful Mexican film star and singer Movita, who later married Marlon Brando - were as popular in the thirties and forties as Olivier and Leigh or Burton and Taylor.This remarkable biography rescues a glittering period of social and boxing history from obscurity and restores Jack and Movita to their rightful place in the showbiz and sporting pantheon. Jack's ring presence and personality reached back to the days of the Regency Buck and his friendships with the Royal Family, his fist-fight with Clark Gable, his life as a film star and gigolo, his throwing of a fight by knocking himself out, and his extraordinary post-war career as an all-in wrestler ---------------------------------- 10. Asking for Trouble by Patricia Craig (Paperback; 13 Euro / 20 USD / 9 UK; 230 pages) This is the story of an escapade with disproportionate consequences. When I was sixteen I was expelled from school. So what, you may say: so were lots of people who never took it into their heads to make a song and dance about it. True - but I hope to show that this particular, infinitesimal injustice had implications beyond the purely personal.' Patricia Craig was expelled from her convent school in Belfast in 1959. This was not a time when pupils from respectable families were expelled, and certainly not for 'carrying-on' with the local boys in the Donegal Gaeltacht on a school-organised Irish-language course. Now an eminent writer and critic, Patricia Craig's absorbing coming-of-age memoir tells the story of the events surrounding her expulsion and its far-reaching consequences. "Asking for Trouble" is a wry and fascinating account of religious identities, family relationships and growing up set against the vivid backdrop of 1950s Belfast and Donegal. ----------------------------- 11. The Bitter Pill: An Insider’s Shocking Expose of the Irish Health System by Doctor X (Paperback; 12 Euro / 19 USD / 9 UK; 250 pages) Dr X has worked in Ireland's health service over the past six years. Like hundreds of other junior doctors, he has witnessed first-hand the problems facing the system, such as: the effects of a culture of fear, bullying and rank-closing in the upper echelons of the profession; the side-lining of professionals who speak up; the unhygienic habits of health professionals as the MRSA virus runs rampant throughout Irish hospitals; the debilitating exhaustion from shifts up to fifty-six hours long; and the life-threatening consequences to patients. Like hundreds of his colleagues, he has felt powerless to speak out, knowing there is no heroism in being a whistleblower.In "The Bitter Pill", Dr X finds himself unable to remain a silent witness. Here he describes the problems from within, using personal experience, along with that of his colleagues, to highlight the day-to-day realities crippling the system. The anonymous author makes a passionate case for change, offering simple solutions that could affect change now - if the will were there. A cautionary picture emerges of a culture often more intent on vested interest than patients' needs. "The Bitter Pill" is an honest, controversial and at times shocking account by a doctor who has not lost the ideals embodied within the Hippocratic oath - to work only 'for the good of my patients' - and who is willing to risk it all for the truth be heard. ---------------------------------- 12. Dublin PopOut City Guide (Small Paperback w/ 2 Popout Maps; 7 Euro / 10 USD / 5 UK; 64 pages) This work features a revolutionary new design for pocket-sized travel guides. Open the cover and discover a remarkable new design! 2 popout maps and a comprehensive fully illustrated 64 page guide of Dublin. And it works like magic! The map and guide of the city are fully cross-referenced for instant, effortless navigation, making this the easiest guidebook you will ever use. Well-written text covers sights, shopping, entertainment, food, practical information and where to stay. With durable flexibound, stunning laminated covers, the popout cityguide is excellent value for money for your trip to Dublin. -------------------------------- 13. Guinness: The 250-Year Quest for the Perfect Pint by Bill Yenne (Hardback; 20 Euro / 30 USD / 15 UK; 250 pages) For millions of beer lovers the world over, a properly poured pint of Guinness Stout is as close to perfection as beer gets. Each year, fans of the legendary black liquidation enjoy two billion pints of the beer known for its distinctive creamy head and rich drinkability. Ireland's most famous export, Guinness Stout--and the people who have brewed it--hold a unique place in the history of beer, business, and Ireland itself. They say that good things come to those who wait. When you wait on a perfectly poured pint of Guinness Stout, you know you're getting something good. It's more than just a pint of beer; it's a mouthwatering visual presentation of the quality and taste you're about to enjoy. And millions wait patiently for their pint every day. To find out why, famed beer and beverage writer Bill Yenne talks to everyone from Guinness's master brewer to typical pubgoers about the beer they hold dear. Whatever magic makes it so delicious, it's powerful enough to soothe the souls of beer lovers from Dublin to Boston to Buenos Aires to Lagos, and everywhere in between. But Guinness is more than a delicious beverage, it's also the name of the remarkable family of brewers and entrepreneurs whose story is worthy of legend, and who occupy a prominent place in Irish history. In Guinness, Yenne traces the 250-year tale of the family and its namesake beer. Beginning with Arthur Guinness, the entrepreneur patriarch who first began brewing at St. James's Gate, Dublin, in 1759, the story follows succeeding generations of the Guinness family through the years. Yenne follows not just the fortunes of the family Guinness, but also the development of the brand and the beer--from Arthur's earliest porter to the beer that is enjoyed in 150 countries today. For everyone who loves a good beer story, Guinness offers a perfect pint more than two centuries in the pouring. Sit back and enjoy. ---------------------------------- 14. The Dirty Dozen: Ireland’s Motor Racing Legends by John Kenny (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 22 USD / 10 UK; 256 pages, with two 8-page photo inserts) What drives them? Twelve of Ireland's legendary motor-sports stars speak about the highs and lows of their sport, whether scorching up the stages in rallying, the perilous thrills of motorbikes or the glamour and high stakes of circuit racing. Ruthless determination to get in front while at the same time blocking the driver or rider behind causes bitter rivalries, shocking injuries and sometimes even sabotage, but bravery, teamwork and sheer exhiliaration also have their part to play. ------------------------------------------ Previous Issue: -------------- Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 398 – Irish Fiction and Poetry ------------------------------------------ Contents: 1. The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) 2. This Year It Will be Different by Maeve Binchy 3. Foolish Mortals by Jennifer Johnston 4. Fox, Swallow, Scarecrow by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne 5. Horse Latitudes by Paul Muldoon 6. New and Selected Poems by Pat Boran 7. The Company of Horses by Peter Fallon 8. Out of Breath by Eamon Grennan 9. The Fifty Minute Mermaid by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, translated from the Irish by Paul Muldoon 10. Snow Negatives by Enda Coyle-Greene 11. The Poetry of Derek Mahon by Hugh Haughton 12. Somewhere the Wave new poems by Derek Mahon 13. District and Circle by Seamus Heaney ---------------------------------- 1. The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 342 pages) Time has moved on for Quirke, the world-weary Dublin pathologist first encountered in Christine Falls. It is the middle of the 1950s, that low, dishonourable decade; a woman he loved has died, a man whom he once admired is dying, while the daughter he for so long denied is still finding it hard to accept him as her father. When Billy Hunt, an acquaintance from college days, approaches him about his wife's apparent suicide, Quirke recognises trouble but, as always, trouble is something he cannot resist. Slowly he is drawn into a twilight world of drug addiction, sexual obsession, blackmail and murder, a world in which even the redoubtable Inspector Hackett can offer him few directions. (Also available in hardback, priced at 25 Euro) Also, Signed First Editions First Printing Hardback available at 40 Euro. ------------------------------------- 2. This Year It Will be Different by Maeve Binchy (Hardback; Publishers Recommended Price: 28 Euro. Read Ireland Special Price: 23 Euro / 32 USD / 16 UK; 260 pages) Filled with Maeve Binchy's trademark wit and true storytelling genius, THIS YEAR IT WILL BE DIFFERENT powerfully evokes the lives of of wives, husbands, children, friends and lovers, all set during the one holiday when feelings cannot easily be hidden. There are step-families grappling with exes; long-married couples faced with in-law problems; a wandering husband choosing between the other woman and his wife; a child caught up in a grown-up tug-of-war...The festive season may be magical, but it can also be a time of family difficulties, a time to reflect on relationships; a time of change. ----------------------------------- 3. Foolish Mortals by Jennifer Johnston (Hardback; 20 Euro / 29 USD / 14 UK; 250 pages) All families are complicated, but some are more complicated than others. And Christmas can only make matters worse. After Ciara's estranged father is nearly killed by his second wife in a car accident - or was it an accident? Ciara begins, gingerly, to reenter his life. As her troubled family gather for the holidays, is it too much to hope that they begin to find peace at last? Of course it is. With cross-dressing twins, new loves and an unpredictably monstrous matriarch, Christmas was never going to be easy. But it proves both more disastrous and happier than any of them could have guessed. -------------------------------- 4. Fox, Swallow, Scarecrow by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne (Trade Paperback; 14 Euro / 19 USD / 10 UK; 400 pages) Twenty-first-century Dublin was chic, seductive, and affluent. At the glittering heart of the city is Anna Kelly Sweeney, a moderately successful writer, who lives in exclusive south Dublin with her wealthy property developer husband Alex and her son Rory. Thus insulated from harsh and unpleasant realities, Anna's life is spent in the endless round of launches, lunches and opening nights that makes up the city's literary scene. But Anna is not happy. Sensing the emptiness of her existence, she falls for the handsome but irresponsible Vincy and prepares to abandon home, husband and son for the dream of an all-conquering love. Anna's life is in crisis, and as events unfold, her sense of herself as both a woman and a writer is shattered. Self-consciously echoing and drawing on Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne's ambitious new novel uses the story of Anna as a critique of Irish society in the twenty-first century. Set largely in Dublin and Kerry, Ni Dhuibhne weaves Anna's story together with that of Leo, Kate, Gerry and a cast of other characters, to create a rich tapestry, a web of stories through which to explore, amongst other things, family and marriage, the materialism of Irish society and culture, the relationship between the urban and the rural, the role of the writer and of writing, and the search for purpose, meaning and spirituality in modern Irish life. Panoramic, strikingly original and compulsively readable, "Anna Kelly Sweeney" is a modern-day morality tale, an intelligent, funny, critical but always fiercely humane insight into contemporary Irish culture and society. ---------------------------------- 5. Horse Latitudes by Paul Muldoon (Paperback with endflaps; Publishers Recommended Price: 16 Euro, Read Ireland Price: 13 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 108 pages) The horse latitudes designate an area north and south of the equator in which ships tend to be becalmed, in which stasis if not stagnation is the order of the day, and where sailors traditionally threw horses overboard to conserve food and water. From Bosworth Field to Beijing, the Boyne to Bull Run, from a series of text messages to the nineteenth-century Irish poet Tom Moore to an elegy for musician Warren Zevon, and from post-Agreement Ireland to George W. Bush's America, Paul Muldoon's tenth collection of poetry presents us with fields of battle and fields of debate, in which we often seem to have come to a standstill, but where language that has been debased may yet be restruck and made current to our predicament. Horse Latitudes engages the public sphere on equal terms with the most private and fugitive materials - 'the fifty years I've spent trying to put it together' - all within the same vigilant optic, in a language of inspired happenstance which, as ever, combines radical uncertainties of perspective with a lyrical lucidity. ( I have one first edition first printing hardback of this book left in stock, priced at 40 Euro. I also have another hardback copy, but not a first edition, priced at 20 Euro.) ----------------------------------- 6. New and Selected Poems by Pat Boran (Paperback; 16 Euro / 25 USD / 12 UK; 230 pages) First published in 2005, New and Selected Poems by Pat Boran presents a large selection of work by one of the best-known of the younger Irish poets. Introduced by Dennis O'Driscoll, for whom Boran is "a poet of mystery and fulfilment, of the eternal and numinous no less than the earthly and the everyday", New and Selected Poems features work from all of his earlier publications as well as a selection of newer work. "Pat Boran's poems make magic out of found things, and his metaphors light the dark like Roman candles. He is a master of his language; beyond that, he makes poetry matter to me again." -Gerard Donovan (author of Schopenhauer's Telescope and Doctor Salt) PAT BORAN was born in Portlaoise in 1963 and now lives in Dublin where he is publisher of the Dedalus Press and presenter of The Poetry Programme on RTÉ Radio 1. Since receiving the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 1989, he has pub-lished four widely-praised collections, The Unwound Clock (1990), Familiar Things (1993), The Shape of Water (1996) and As the Hand, the Glove (2001), as well as works of fiction and non-fiction including the popular writers' handbook, The Portable Creative Writing Workshop (1999/2005), and the Bisto Book of the Year shortlisted children's title, All the Way from China (1998). Volumes of his poetry have appeared in Hungarian, Macedonian and Italian, and are currently in preparation in other languages. In 2007 he was elected to membership of Aosdána, the Irish academy of artists. (Also available in Hardback, priced at 25 Euro). ------------------------------------ 7. The Company of Horses by Peter Fallon (Paperback; 12 Euro / 18 USD / 9 UK; 64 pages) "The Company of Horses" is Peter Fallon's first collection of new poems since "News of the World: Selected and New Poems" was published in 1998. "The Georgics of Virgil" appeared in 2004 and has since been reissued by Oxford in its "World's Classics Series". According to the "Irish Times", that book 'taken in parts or as a whole says "Glory to the World". And the glory is renewed for our time in Peter Fallon's translation.These new poems - closely observed and patiently assembled - continue that celebration and amplify that verdict. A book of uncommon empathy ('One World' registers the gentle effect of a tsunami on the coast of Ireland), it counts the blessings of the whole green force of nature. There are hymns to trees and other living creatures - a pine marten and riding horses, the persistence of seabirds and starlings. Inevitable elegiac notes are woven into riffs of a collection that highlights beginnings and beginnings again. These life-affirming lyrics manage to remain attentive to particular, cherished places - the author's Irish midlands home and a western retreat - while they assert common ground in the heart's affections and excitements. (Also available in Hardback, priced at 18.50 Euro) --------------------------------- 8. Out of Breath by Eamon Grennan (Paperback; 12 Euro / 18 USD / 9 UK; 80 pages) The poems in Eamon Grennan's vivid new collection demonstrate once again his fidelity to "these light morsels/of the ordinary" from which he draws large, thought-provoking implications. Preoccupied with process he finds in breath itself an image for all that generates excitement, agitation, celebration, and elegy. These richly voiced poems explore both minute and major issues and nudge us in their own concentrated way towards revelations that alter, however slightly, the way we understand this various world. (Also available in Hardback, priced at 18.50 Euro). --------------------------------- 9. The Fifty Minute Mermaid by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, translated from the Irish by Paul Muldoon (Trade Paperback; 14 Euro / 22 USD / 11 UK; 164 pages) This extravaganza of marvellous tales conjures a biography of mermaids and, in patterns of sometimes startling sounds and images, traces the fate of their race. It follows the paths and portals to another world, Land-Under-Wave, the realm of myth, imagination and the psyche. It is a book in touch and tune with the wellsprings of poetry. Neither ‘believing nor disbelieving’, sometimes insouciant and always wideranging, The Fifty Minute Mermaid is a book of accumulating force and subtle consonance. Paul Muldoon’s generous surrender to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s poems supports José Saramago’s adage that the author with his or her language creates a national literature. World literature is created by translators. (also available in hardback, priced at 20 Euro) --------------------------------- 10. Snow Negatives by Enda Coyle-Greene (Trade Paperback; 12 Euro / 18 USD / 9 UK; 76 pages) Enda Coyle-Greene's Snow Negatives is an exciting debut from an Irish poet whose work is already well known from literary magazines and journals. In poems that are at once formally alert and alive to the possibilities of new departure, Coyle-Greene records outward journeys and experiences, but always measured against a time when "the slow ash of innocence clung / to the cigarettes we smoked / behind the bicycle sheds" ('Witches'), and, increasingly, the awareness of mortality and the "eerily familiar" recognitions occasioned by merely going home. ---------------------------------- 11. The Poetry of Derek Mahon by Hugh Haughton (Hardback; 45 Euro / 60 USD / 30 UK; 400 pages) Derek Mahon is one of the leading poets of his time, both in Ireland and beyond, famously offering a perspective that is displaced from as much as grounded in his native country. From prodigious beginnings to prolific maturity, he has been, through thick and thin, through troubled times and other, a writer profoundly committed to the art of poetry and the craft of making verse. He has also been no-less a committed reviser of his work, believing the poem to be more than a record in verse, but a work of art never finished. This virtuoso study by Hugh Haughton provides the most comprehensive account imaginable of Mahon's oeuvre. Haughton's brilliant writing always serves and illuminates the poetry, yielding extraordinary insights on almost every page. The poetry, its revisions and reception, are the subject here, but so thorough is the approach that what is offered also amounts indirectly to an intellectual biography of the poet and with it an account of Northern Irish poetry vital to our understanding of the times. -------------------------------------- Special Limited Edition: 12. Somewhere the Wave new poems by Derek Mahon (36pp Hardback Publication date: 29 November 2007 120 Euro / 170 USD / 85 UK (Price to increase to 150 Euro on 1st December) with drawings and watercolours by Bernadette Kiely Ten new poems – one of Derek Mahon’s ‘interim’ collections – conjure the world of Coleridge’s life, Brian Moore’s Belfast and the plays of Ibsen and Chekhov. They range from Italy to Goa to the American South. With the formal art of a master, they are sure to delight the author’s admirers. This handsome edition features pencil drawings and full colour reproductions of watercolours by Bernadette Kiely specially created in response to this new work. 500 copies are numbered and signed by the author. 450 copies only are for sale. Printed on Rives Artist and hardbound in linen with blind embossed title and in a Pergamenata wraparound. Somewhere the Wave is the second title in a new series. The first, The Riverbank Field by Seamus Heaney (and Martin Gale), was oversubscribed on publication. This book will be an instant collectors’ item and significantly increase in value. ------------------------------------- 13. District and Circle by Seamus Heaney (Paperback; Publishers Recommended Price: 14 Euro; Read Ireland Book Review Special Price 11 Euro / 14 USD / 8 UK; 80 pages) Seamus Heaney's new collection starts 'in an age of bare hands and cast iron' and ends 'as the automatic lock/clunks shut' in the eerie new conditions of a menaced twentieth-first century. In their haunted, almost visionary clarity, the poems assay the weight and worth of what has been held in the hand and in the memory. Images out of a childhood spent safe from the horrors of World War II - railway sleepers, a sledgehammer, the 'heavyweight silence' of cattle out in rain - are coloured by a strongly contemporary sense that 'anything can happen' and other images from the dangerous present - a journey on the underground, a melting glacier - are fraught with this same anxiety. But "District and Circle", which includes a number of prose poems and translations, offers resistance as the poet gathers his staying powers and stands his ground in the hiding places of love and excited language. In a sequence like "The Tollund Man in Springtime" and in several poems which 'do the rounds of the district' - its known roads and rivers and trees, its familiar and unfamiliar ghosts - the gravity of memorial is transformed into the grace of recollection. With more relish and conviction than ever, Seamus Heaney maintains his trust in the obduracy of workaday realities and the mystery of everyday renewals. This new collection was initially published by Faber in hardback on 6th April 2006. It was Heaney’s first new collection for five years, and without doubt one of the publishing highlights of 2006. I have a few rare and increasingly valuable first editions left in stock. They are now priced at 50 Euro each (They have more than doubled in value since publicationl and are likely to continue to increase in value now that the paperback has been released. The US edition was published some six weeks after the UK, so these are ‘True’ Firsts! ------------------------------------------- Thank you for your continued support. It is vital for the continuation of this service! If you appreciate receiving these regular emails, I respectfully request that if you are considering ordering any of these books that you do so through Read Ireland. Using these emails to order books from other suppliers does NOT support Read Ireland nor the continuation of the service. 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. Please note that prices for these books on the Read Ireland website may differ from those quoted above. 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 Please visit often! If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you very much for your continued support and custom. Sincerely, Gregory Carr @ Read Ireland
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