Books recommendations, with a little help from my friends..

I’m always on the lookout for book recommendations, so I canvassed some of my friends, favourite bloggers and my husband for their book choices! My esteemed panel didn’t steer me wrong and now I’ve added to my already overwhelming book backlog and I hope you will too.

Without further ado…

Barry Finnimore is a singer/songwriter, a barista and my husband (n’awww). He’s just started working on his 3rd EP and always puts the seat down. www.facebook.com/barryfinnimoremusic

His Choice: Life by Keith Richardsbarry 1Deirdre Foley is a co-founder of www.vivaadonis.com and is a History grad & mPhil student. She can rock a red lippie like nobody else I know.

Her Choice: Fathers Come First by Rosita SweetmanDee 1.jpg

Co-incidentally, Rosita’s daughter, Chupi Sweetman Durney, herself an insanely talented jewelry designer, also gave me a little recommendation.

Chupi’s designs are amazingly beautiful and intricate, and I’m the very proud owner of an engagement ring and wedding ring designed by her. Her website is www.chupi.ie
Her Choice: A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Claire Kane has been responsible for quite a few wonderful blogging adventures, her latest is http://clairebyreverie.com/, which she describes as An Irish Beauty Blog with a Little More. A qualified personal trainer and Sports Nutritionist, she also runs http://voltafitness.co/ I don’t know where she finds the time!!

Her Choices: Girlboss by Sophia AmorusoClaire 1.jpg

Room by Emma DonoghueClaire 3.jpg

Niall Murray is the singer and guitarist with Dublin 5 piece “Handsome Handsome”. If you get a chance to see this band live: Do It!! https://www.facebook.com/HndsmHndsm:

His Choice: Catch 22 by Joseph HellerNiall M

Paula Dennan is the writer behind one of my very favourite blogs, http://cornflakegirlsmusings.com/  If she gives a book recommendation, you definitely follow it!!

Her Choices: Northern Lights by Philip PullmanPaula 1

Tender by Belinda McKeonPaula 2.jpgSoooo, there you have it, quite a long post, but some really great recommendations, my Kindle list has now exploded!!

Happy reading, and happy new year, xx

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Girl in a Band, book review

As a teenager in the 90’s, I was completely besotted by Kim Gordon, a proper rock and roll ice queen, the epitome of cool.
Girl in a Band, Kim Gordon
Book-ended by her and Thurston Moore’s break up, Girl in a Band is raw and self-aware at times, but never cringey or oversharesome (no, it’s not a word, but it should be). Artsy and nostalgic, it’s well-paced and I think she gives just enough of herself away to let the reader in, while preserving much of her mystery.
There is a slight simmering anger bubbling under at times, as well as thoughtful sensitivity, I found her so relatable, whether discussing her childhood in LA, her relationship with her schizophrenic brother, her first days in New York, art, music and (of course) Sonic Youth, and on into marriage and motherhood, the tone seemed so conversational that I ate this book up in a matter of hours.
While it’s no “Just Kids” (my favourite memoir ever), it’s a really decent, classy read, which I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend.

Brooklyn, book review

You can’t swing a dick without reading heaped praise for Colm Tóibín’s novel Brooklyn and the film adaptation, so I settled in for a tale of immigration, alienation and love in 1950’s America …

Brooklyn

Beginning in 1950’s Ireland, the novel follows the blah and spineless Eilis through her voyage to the United States (her mother and glamorous older sister decided she must go to America, so, eh she does…), where she is handed a job, enrolled in evening classes, set up with lodging at a boarding house, meets and is courted by an Italian American man, etc.

Sweet, huh? Does she appreciate or make the most of these amazing opportunities? Nope.

A passenger in her own life, Eilis doesn’t really make any decisions on her own until the end of the novel, and even that was basically for lack of viable alternatives.

I could not get passed the desire to shake Eilis to wake her up, she was so one-dimensional and passive throughout the whole story.

We are teased with potentially tantalizing characters and plot threads:

  • A priest manages to secure her a passage, work status and job but how? And, more importantly… why?!
  • A brilliant professor who is possibly a Holocaust survivor
  • Her unpleasant landlady and her bitchy former boss
  • An Italian boyfriend who looks suspiciously unlike the rest of his family

Sadly, these aren’t fleshed out into anything that would risk doing more than pique your interest… and then disappoint.

The “twist” arrives at the end of the novel when Eilis realizes she has a huge choice to make: a proper “head or heart” dilemma which could see her return permanently to her parish in Ireland OR committing to a lifetime in America… sadly, it all comes too late for me to give a shite about a character I longed to throttle for 270-odd pages.

Don’t believe the hype, lads. I’ve been told that it works better as a film, but I won’t be beating a path to the cinema to see this.