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April Book of the Month

GRACE O'MALLEY: THE BIOGRAPHY OF IRELAND'S PIRATE QUEEN 1530-1603

Part of our local history and a firm favourite, Anne Chambers' classic biography of Ireland's Pirate Queen has received a wee makeover and a definite resurgence in popularity for a new generation. This is a staple for our book shop and we're blessed that Anne pops in from time to time to sign our books.

Anne's research for the original Granuaile Grace O’Malley ~ Ireland’s Pirate Queen became a catalyst for the restoration of Grace O’Malley to political, social and maritime history.  Proper order for a true historic role model - written by a modern day role model.

Yes.  We're big fans of Grace O'Malley AND Anne Chambers.

 

Call into the shop to get your copy!

March Book of the Month

MILKMAN

Well love it or hate it, we finally had to go there.

With mixed feelings from just a small number of our customers, by and large this book is deserving of every accolade.  PLUS it's been our second most sold book in the last few months (behind Kieran Cooke's A Not So Foreign Correspondent in Ireland, a previous Book of the Month).

Sure, Anna Burns' novel is hard-hitting and at times gritty and slightly creepy (not in a "scary-movie" kind of way...the Milkman of the title would give you the creeps) however, the originality and humour in the story-telling makes this a very well-balanced read and we absolutely love it.

 

We've learned our lesson and always try to keep a copy or two in stock so if you haven't had the opportunity or inclination to read this as yet, now's your chance.

February Book(s) of the Month

MY BRILLIANT FRIEND

We say book(s) in this as case a slight departure, with reference to Elena Ferrante's quadrilogy which continues to be a popular choice amongst our customers and some volunteers - now of course Book #1 having been given the HBO treatment.  Described by New Yorker's James Wood as "large, captivating, amiably peopled...a beautiful and delicate tale of confluence and reversal", My Brilliant Friend, begins the story of Elena and Lila, whose lifelong friendship provides the backbone for this series of so-called Neapolitan Novels.  Ferrante's vivid depiction of a Neapolitan neighborhood from the late-1950s to present day together with the portrait she paints of a friendship between these two remarkable young women has the ability to resonate deeply with readers from all backgrounds and demographics such is her skill at creating very human characters with whom we can readily identify.

True. Four books is a commitment (especially now it's on the telly). You DO need to start at the beginning.  Worth it? I would say yes...and series 2 won't be out on HBO for a bit...

January Book of the Month

THE SHOEMAKER AND HIS DAUGHTER

Well we just can't seem to keep this one on our shelves and if you didn't find a copy in your Christmas stocking then we highly recommend you treat yourself.

Retired Irish Times reporter, Conor O'Clery's telling of his wife's family's story and in particular that of his father-in-law, the Shoemaker of the title, gives us everything we could want. History, drama, pain, love, war, humanity and excellent writing, it really is the story of a very ordinary family and the impact on their lives of an extreme political period, taking in more than eighty years of Soviet and Russian history.

We're restocking as I type and we can take orders if you haven't got a copy yet!

December 2018 Book of the Month

THE CROWDED EARTH

There are several reasons behind this month's choice - the third novel by local writer David Whelan (there's one right there...). 

From its beautifully illustrated lino-print cover to it's insightful depiction of one man's descent into madness, this book delivers on many counts and I for one took away a very valuable lesson from my encounter with Rupert, whose story this is - what we see is not always the full picture. 

We're delighted to have been involved in this very community spirited and socially-aware project, having printed The Crowded Earth on our Espresso Book Machine (TM)  as well as helping launch it at the Rolling Sun Festival last month with record sales so far.

 

The Crowded Earth is available in the shop or online.

The Crowded Earth.JPG

November 2018 Book of the Month

DON'T SKIP OUT ON ME

This month we meet Horace Hopper, a half-Paiute, half-Irish ranch hand who wants to be somebody and can’t shake the shame he feels from being abandoned by his parents. He decides to leave the only loving home he’s known to prove his worth by training to become a boxer.

From award-winning author Willy Vlautin, Don't Skip Out on Me is a beautiful, gut and heart-wrenching story about one man’s search for identity and belonging that'll definitely make you consider those around you differently. 

 

Let there be no mistake, this is a SAD book - but well worth the journey if you decide to go there.

 

Available in the shop or online here...

Dont Skip Out on Me.jpg

October 2018 Book of the Month

NORMAL PEOPLE 

Mayo born, Sally Rooney's latest release has been long-listed for the Man Booker which means it's flying off our shelves.

Similar to her debut novel, Conversations with Friends (our August 2017 Book of the Month), Normal People is also full of social observation drawn from Rooney's own world. The novel follows Connell and Marianne, two young adults from the west of Ireland who are about to embark on new lives in Trinity College.

From different backgrounds, one popular and the other more of a social outcast, once at Trinity, their social roles reverse and Rooney follows their relationship in her own inimitable way.

It's causing a lot of discourse amongst our customers and staff.  Let's know what you think.

Available in the shop or online here...

Normal People by Sally Rooney.jpg

September 2018 Book of the Month

A NOT SO FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT IN IRELAND

This month we're loving nostalgia, embracing whimsy and fondly reminiscing about some of the most colourful characters and at times hilarious happenings over the last 30 years in Ireland..."a country where the expected never happens and the unexpected always does." 

Kieran Cooke is a wonderful story-teller and this collection of his writings catalogues just some of his many encounters in the most entertaining and at times incredibly moving way.  We're lucky enough to have had Kieran here reading for us on two occasions - the last one being the launch of this book.  ALWAYS a full house and NEVER a dull moment.

Available in the shop or online...and more good news...when we run out, we just print more!

A not so foreign correspondent in Irelan

August  2018 Book of the Month

THE ALIENS AMONG US

A bit of a departure this month as our book choice is recommended and reviewed by Jake Kilcoyne Kellegher, a member of the Books@One Team...

With a long-standing interest in the natural world it didn't take much for The Aliens Among Us to catch my eye. What Leslie Anthony has done in this 340 page exploration of invasive species is define what an invasive species is, provide examples of their toll on the environment, and describe what is being done to control the damage.

While this is, in essence, a scientific work, it is written with a wit and accessibility that will enable even those with only a passing interest to learn from and enjoy the book.

Perhaps of most relevance to those of us in Ireland is the ever advancing, and thoroughly tenacious Japanese Knotweed, this particular menace is covered excellently by the author. From its introduction to the western world, to the reasons it can seemingly grow anywhere, and why it isn't really an issue in its native range, Anthony covers all points with a keen eye and plenty of reference material.

The Aliens Among Us by Leslie Anthony.jf

While this may not be a book for everyone, it is certainly a book for anyone who wonders about such things as “How do non-native organisms invade?” and, “Is Japanese Knotweed going to grow up through my floorboards?”

Encompassing species from Burmese Pythons to Scotch Broom, and locales ranging from Florida to Northern Europe, this definitive report on invasive species will interest and entertain while leaving plenty to reflect on, one quote that sticks out for me is “If you need to have a meeting about an invasive species, it's already too late.”

Grab one in the shop or online here...

July 2018 Book of the Month

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE

A change of pace and location this month with Celeste Ng's second novel, which starts with a burning house and takes us on a thought-provoking journey through all versions of flesh and blood relationship - asking the question, "What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?”

Set in 1990's Midwest (USA) Middle-class Suburbia, Little Fires Everywhere has been a slow burner for some critics, praised by others and is destined for the small screen treatment. Either way, it's proven to be a popular read amongst Books@One customers. There's a large ensemble with several entwined threads all coming together very satisfyingly in the end. 

Grab one in the shop or online here...

The Cow Book by John Connell

June 2018 Book of the Month

THE COW BOOK

A STORY OF LIFE ON AN IRISH FAMILY FARM...

Thirteen weeks in the Bestsellers List means John Connell's The Cow Book - A Story of Life on an Irish Family Farm is way ahead of the herd and we've every intention of milking it.  Sorry, I'll stop now...maybe...

This isn't just a powerful and moving memoir of a young man returning home to rebuild his life, it goes much deeper; delving into familial strife, dealing with "failure" and  documenting the long history of Man and Cow.  This is Life in all its steaming glory and we loved every wonderful aspect of this highly original and refreshingly honest novel.  Udderly satisfying...

The Cow Book by John Connell

March 2018 Book of the Month

THE DIARY OF A BOOKSELLER

Exactly how many words are there in the English language for "Funny"? We'd fill this page with them trying to describe this cracking read; we just can't get enough of this month's choice.  By the way, you don't have to own a book shop to enjoy this quirky and warm-hearted book.

Shaun Bythell runs The Bookshop, Wigtown, Scotland’s largest bookshop, and he has the patience of a saint.  His witty anecdotes and observations are a pure joy (to which we can all relate) and behind the humour is a very strong message; support your local bookshop.

 

Warning.  Be prepared to laugh out loud.

 

To buy your own copy (because you can't have mine) click here.

Mrs Osmond by John Banville

February 2018 Book of the Month

THE GUSTAV SONATA

Well it's the customers voting this month as Rose Tremain's Gustav Sonata flies off the shelves.

Lots of accolades and critical acclaim which explains this books popularity;

Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller, Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award Winner of the South Bank Sky Arts Award, Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, Shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize...

 

So what is the difference between friendship and love? Gustav grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav's father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him...

Grab a copy while you still can here.

Mrs Osmond by John Banville

November (2017) Book of the Month

THE HANDMAID'S TALE

The Handmaid's Tale is a novel that evokes great debate and discussion. We chose this book as our book of the month because it gets requested a great deal in the book store. It is, beyond a doubt, a classic, written by Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood. It was originally published in 1986, set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian, Christian theonomy that has overthrown the government.
We are introduced to Offred, a handmaid, whose sole purpose is to procreate. The Handmaid's Tale is a great place to explore the order of society in this near-future world, but also to question our modern day take on world politics, morals, subjugation and place for all people's. 
The Handmaid's Tale is now an extremely popular and successful television series but it is an amazing book and is a must read.  We're pushing out the boat here at Books@One this month with the claim that 'The Book Is Way Better Than The T.V. Series'. Get your copy in store or one line now. 

December (2017) Book of the Month

THE GREAT LEVIATHAN

From Ireland, England, France, Austria, Greece, Turkey and Italy to America and the West Indies, overflowing with historic events, from the French Revolution to the Great Irish Famine, with a cast of the famous and infamous, Howe Peter Browne, 2nd Marquess of Sligo, lived life to the absolute limits.

This new novel by Anne Chambers charts the rise and rise of the privileged, charismatic yet flawed Howe Peter Browne. It is full of historical nuggets of pure gold. A must read for the avid historical biography fan as well as anyone wanting to read something 'stranger than fiction'.  Get your copy here

January 2018 Book of the Month

MRS OSMOND

Our book of the month is the delightful Mrs. Osmond as recommended to us by Dermot O’Connell, the owner of the Almost Corner Bookshop in Rome.

Dermot stocks English language books in the capital of Italy and his best sellers are English language books with a reference to Rome or Italy.

Mrs. Osmond, written by our very own John Banville, is a follow on from Henry James’s best-known novel The Portrait of a Lady. The book follows Isabel Archer and her life after the conclusion of Portrait of a Lady when she travels to London, Paris, Florence and Rome. 

The character is a much debated character and some people love her or hate her. At the end of the original book, by Henry James, Isabel is being pursued by the crafty, conniving Gilbert Osmond. The title of Banville’s book reveals that she has indeed married. There is a conspiracy involving large sums of money.

Mrs Osmond by John Banville

In Mrs Osmond, Banville follows through faithfully with a narrative tone that mimics James’ so-called 'middle period’ in a compelling story which sees Isabel confront her estranged husband. There are wonderful depictions of Florence particularly, as well as Rome, with key scenes taking place on the hill of Bellosguardo, overlooking the city of Florence and the river Arno.

Mrs Osmond is a particularly vivid portrait, told with the narrative fluency that marked James’ original novel. Banville obviously felt that the character of Isabel worth of more prose and we do too. A very enjoyable and atmospheric read.

Click here if you wish to purchase a copy!

September (2017) Book of the Month

THIS TUMULT

Louisburgh has been a "Home from Home" to Caroline Preston for a very long time and we're delighted with this month's pick which is Caroline's debut novel and a really great read.

 

On the eve of World War Two, the lives of an Irish family in Westmeath are about to be changed for ever. Spanning three generations and taking in the battlefields of Syria and Egypt, a farm in Australia, night sorties over Germany, Lincolnshire airfields and the horror of a Sumatran prison camp, this is the story of brothers Nick and Tony, their sister Rose, younger siblings and parents fighting to preserve their country and dreaming of home.

This Tumult by Caroline Preston

October (2017) Book of the Month

THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP

We'd like you to meet German born Nina George, a prize-winning and bestselling author (26 published books - novels, mysteries and non-fiction) freelance journalist, with over one hundred short stories and more than 600 columns to her name as well as being an author’s rights activist.
First published in 2013, The Little Paris Bookshop, was quick to gain critical acclaim. It's unashamedly sentimental in a beguiling way that draws you in to the story of  Jean Perdu, Parisian Bookseller, who runs his floating Seine bookshop as a 'literary apothecary', sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers. 
 
This is a magical tale of romance, heartbreak, healing and hope told in a beautiful way.
It's a Book for Lovers and for Book Lovers.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
 

August (2017) Book of the Month

CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS

We're continuing our love affair with highly talented Irish authors with another debut novel - highly intelligent, sharp writing. Definitely one to watch.

 

Showing some similarities with the author, the story focuses on Frances, a cool-headed and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend and comrade-in-arms is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, Frances and Bobbi catch the eye of Melissa, a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into Melissa's world...

Praise for Mayo native Sally Rooney:
“A novelist to watch: An addictive debut, with nods to Tender is the Night, heralds a bright new talent.”
- Sunday Times

July (2017) Book of the Month

LOVE IN ROW 27

Critically acclaimed debut novel by Eithne Shortall, Arts writer for the Sunday Times and frequent visitor to Books@One...

What happens when Cupid plays co-pilot?

Still reeling from a break-up, Cora Hendricks has given up on ever finding love. For herself, that is. To pass the time while working the Aer Lingus check-in desk at Heathrow, Cora begins to play cupid with high-flying singles.

Using only her intuition, the internet, and glamorous flight attendant accomplice Nancy, Row 27 becomes Cora's laboratory of love. Instead of being seated randomly, two unwitting passengers on each flight find themselves next to the person of their dreams - or not.

Cora swears Row 27 is just a bit of fun, but while she's busy making sparks fly at cruising altitude, the love she'd given up on for herself just might have landed right in front of her...

 

June (2017) Book of the Month

SOLAR BONES

The Angelus bell ringing out over its villages and townlands, over the fields and hills and bogs in between,six chimes of three across a minute and a half,a summons struck on the lip of the void Marcus Conway has come a long way to stand in the kitchen of his home and remember the rhythms and routines of his life. Considering with his engineer's mind how things - bridges, banking systems, marriages - are constructed - and how they may come apart.

 

Our very own award-winning (and now long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2017) Louisburgh native, Mike McCormack, captures with tenderness and feeling, in continuous, flowing prose, a whole life, suspended in a single hour.

May (2017) Book of the Month

Red Dirt

A group of young Irish migrants leave a man called Hopper for dead on an outback road in Australia. They barely know him; no-one will miss him in their world of hostels, wild nights on cheap wine and grinding work on isolated farms.

In this powerful novel about the discovery of responsibility, three young people – Fiona, Murph and Hopper – flee the collapse of their country's economy. In the heat and endless spaces of Australia they try to escape their past, but impulsive cruelty, shame and guilt drag them down, and it is easy to make terrible choices.

Mayo born, Elizabeth Reapy's, debut novel is gritty, gripping and a great read.