Putting a Spotlight on Irish & Celtic Literature
We started a monthly Irish and Celtic book club! Book selections will feature fictional and nonfictional novels written by authors from the Celtic nations, including East Coast Canada. Before the start of each month we'll list recommendations in our Facebook Book Club Group for our members to vote on. Join us in celebrating & in supporting Celtic literature! See previous book selections below.
A Week in Winter - Maeve Binchy
Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know each other. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Stone House is finally ready to welcome its first guests to the big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. Laugh and cry with this unlikely group as they share their secrets and—maybe—even see some of their dreams come true.
Murder at an Irish Christmas - Carlene O'Connor
Garda Siobhán O'Sullivan's holiday plans hit a sour note when murder rearranges the Yuletide carols into unexpected eulogies...the entire O'Sullivan brood has gone off to West Cork to spend the holidays with brother James' fiancée Elise's family, including her grandfather, the famous orchestral conductor Enda Elliot. When the O'Sullivans learn everyone will choose a name from a hat to buy a music-related Christmas gift for someone else at the gathering, it seems like their greatest concern--until the cantankerous conductor is discovered crushed under a ninety-pound harp in a local concert hall.
With the extended family--including Enda's much-younger new wife Leah, a virtuoso violinist--suspected in his murder, it's up to Siobhán to ensure the guilty party faces the music.
The Pull of the Stars - Emma Donoghue
In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders -- Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police , and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.
In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other's lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world.
All the Walls of Belfast - Sarah Carlson
Set in post-conflict Belfast (Northern Ireland), alternating between two teenagers, both trying to understand their past and preserve their future. Seventeen-year-olds, Fiona and Danny must choose between their dreams and the people they aspire to be.
Fiona and Danny were born in the same hospital. Fiona’s mom fled with her to the United States when she was two, but, fourteen years after the Troubles ended, a forty-foot-tall peace wall still separates her dad’s Catholic neighborhood from Danny’s Protestant neighborhood.
When All is Said - Anne Griffin
At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual - though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.
Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories - of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice - the life of one man will be powerful and poignantly laid bare.
The Bookshop on the Shore - Jenny Colgan
Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her four year old son Hari. She gets a job at a bookshop on the banks of Loch Ness. And there’s a second job to cover housing: Zoe will be an au pair for three children at a genuine castle in the Scottish Highlands.
But while Scotland is everything Zoe dreamed of—clear skies, brisk fresh air, blessed quiet—everything else is a bit of a mess. The Urquart family castle is grand, but crumbling, the childrens’ single dad is a wreck, and the kids have been kicked out of school and left to their own devices. Zoe has her work cut out for her, and is determined to rise to the challenge, especially when she sees how happily Hari has taken to their new home.
With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community.
The Pig Did It - Joseph Caldwell
Unhappy in love, New York creative writing instructor Aaron McCloud, 32, arrives in Western Ireland’s County Kerry to suffer amid its natural beauty in this very funny novel from Caldwell. Aaron stays with his aunt Kitty, who makes a living rewriting the classics (her version of Oliver Twist features lots of repentance), but Aaron’s wallow in self-pity is interrupted by a lost pig that attaches itself to him. When the pig digs up a human skeleton buried in the backyard, Kitty identifies the remains as the missing Declan Tovey and blames the pig’s mischievous owner, Lolly McKeever. The stage is set for an Irish country comedy of manners in which darts, pints, pigs and burial plots all play a part.
A Keeper - Graham Norton
When Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, she’s focused only on saying goodbye to that dark and dismal part of her life. Her childhood home is packed solid with useless junk, her mother’s presence already fading. But within this mess, she discovers a small stash of letters—and ultimately, the truth.
Rebel Sisters - Marita Conlon-McKenna
Growing up in the privileged confines of Dublin's leafy Rathmines, the bright, beautiful Gifford sisters Grace, Muriel and Nellie kick against the conventions of their wealthy Anglo-Irish background and their mother Isabella's expectations. Soon, as war erupts across Europe, the spirited sisters find themselves caught up in their country's struggle for freedom.
On Easter Monday, 1916, the biggest uprising in Ireland for two centuries begins. The world of the Gifford sisters and everyone they hold dear will be torn apart in a fight that is destined for tragedy.
The Sea - John Banville
In this luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory, John Banville introduces us to Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child to cope with the recent loss of his wife. It is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this elegiac, gorgeously written novel.
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