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What they are Reading

 Recently read by the book clubs of Cork City Libraries. Click on the covers to go to the library catalogue.

 Shroud by John Banville cover

Shroud by John Banville

From the cover:
Axel Vander, celebrated academic and man of culture, is spending his twilight years on the west coast of America. For decades he has lived with the knowledge of a tragedy of which he was both perpetrator and victim. Now, out of the blue, a letter arrives hinting at the secrets he has been hiding for fifty years. .

 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck cover

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

From the cover:
Shocking and controversial when it was first published in 1939, Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic remains his undisputed masterpiece. Set against the background of dust bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel West in search of the promised land. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and broken dreams, yet out of their suffering Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision; an eloquent tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.

 Marley and Me cover

Marley and Me by John Grogan

From the cover:
John and Jenny were young and deeply in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wriggly yellow furball of a puppy and life would never be the same.

 To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

From the cover:
'Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a Mockingbird.' A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much...

 Redemption Falls by Joseph O'Connor cover

Redemption Falls by Joseph O'Connor

From the cover:
1865. The American Civil War is ending. Eighteen years after the famine ship Star of the Sea docked at New York, the daughter of two of her passengers sets out from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on a walk across a devastated America. Eliza Duane Mooney is searching for a young boy she has not seen in four years, one of the hundred thousand children drawn into the war. His fate has been mysterious and will prove extraordinary. It's a walk that will have consequences for many seemingly unconnected survivors.

 Thanks for the Tea Mrs Browne cover

Thanks For The Tea Mrs Browne: My Life With Noel by Phyllis Browne

From the cover:
Noel Browne was one of the key figures in 20th-century Irish politics: a radical in his time, he campaigned for health improvements for women and children back in the '50s, when the Church and Ireland were closely aligned and state intervention in health care was considered going against Church doctrine. As Minister of Health he fell out of favor with official Ireland but became a hero to the Irish people. He was a fascinating figure, fighting poverty and illness, to serve the Irish people. Phyllis Browne's memoir, told with humor, sharp intelligence, and courage, reveals another side to her social revolutionary husband, as well as her own "politician's wife" tale.

 The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

From the cover:
Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she's spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr. Grene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne's story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland's changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope.

 The Stolen Village by Des Ekin cover

The Stolen Village: Baltimore and The Barbary Pirates by Des Ekin

From the cover:
In June 1631 pirates from Algiers and armed troops of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, led by the notorious pirate captain Morat Rais, stormed ashore at the little harbour village of Baltimore in West Cork. They captured almost all the villagers and bore them away to a life of slavery in North Africa. The prisoners were destined for a variety of fates - some would live out their days chained to the oars as galley slaves, while others would spend long years in the scented seclusion of the harem or within the walls of the Sultan's palace. The Stolen Village is a fascinating tale of international piracy and culture clash nearly 400 years ago and is the first book to cover this relatively unknown and under-researched incident in Irish history. Shortlisted for the Argosy Irish Nonfiction Book of the Year Award.

 Elegance of Hedgehogs

 The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

A story about, Renée, a concierge of a Parisian apartment and a young teenage girl, Paloma Josse. Renée is outwardly the epitome of a Parisian concierge but inwardly passionate about culture. Paloma Josse is a twelve year old girl who plans to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday to avoid the predictable future ahead of her. Not easy reading.

 A Thousand Splendid Suns  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This book manages to simultaneously capture the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years and how women are treated in conservative Islamic societies. It is the story of  two women in their hopeless struggle to have a decent life with a brutal man in an unforgiving, intolerant society. It is beautifully written, a tribute to the women, and shows the viciousness of the Taliban.The Kite Runner, this author’s previous book is also excellent.

 David Copperfield  David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

This is the novel Dickens regarded as his 'favourite child' and is considered his most autobiographical. As David recounts his experience from childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist, Dickens draws openly and revealingly on his own life. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters are Rosa Dartle, Dora, Steerforth, and the 'umble Uriah Heep, along with Mr Micawber, a portrait of Dickens's own father which evokes the mixture of love, nostalgia and guilt.