Tuesday 17 March 2015

St Patrick's Day Top Irish Picks Post!

Hello to everyone! Seeing as today is (was/would have been - depending when you read this) St Patrick's Day, I thought I would share with you some of my top picks by Irish authors I've read and loved. This is just a brief glimpse and I would love to know about other books set in or by Irish authors you've read and love...so let me know! 

To get you all started, I wanted to share one of my favorite pieces of Irish dancing music 'Cry of the Celts' which I regularly beak out into Gig too (this does actually happen) and to set quite an accurate mood as we trail through the reads

And sooo to the books!!

 Artemis Fowel by Eoin Colfer
What can I say, this is a BEAUT of a book. I still have my original copy and the READness of it is clear. I remember being drawn in by the lettering on the cover and it was no going back from there. This has to be one of the stories that drew me in and opened me up to fantasy worlds. There's also that great mix of it being set in the real world and the issues that provides, and then time spent within the fairy base. There is a great mix of diverse characters, Artemis was a fantastic lead, that mix of  arrogant, smart and person you'd just like to punch, but he was also vulnerable. Holly was the complete opposite of Artemis and gave as good as she got. Mulch was feisty and Butler was just a beast of a man. I have very fond memories of reading all the books in the series. They took you on this fantastical journal, they grew and changed as much as I was growing and changing...just I was without the aid of fairies, dwarfs and centaurs.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis

This book! Who doesn't remember reading this book, I think it's one that played a large part in all our growing up lives, with everything from the books to the films and the BBC drama ( which I would regularly rent out on video from the library and watch multiple times). This classic good against evil gave us the amazing world of Narnia, and built something that was so real, it had us all going in and looking to see if we could walk through the back of our wardrobes. There is a lot out there about the Christianity symbolism in there, but for me reading this as a child, none of that was prevalent, it was all about the characters and the plot, the 'oh no Mr Tumnus'...and 'Edmund what are you doin'g...and 'where's Aslan!'. I wanted to be Edward. This was one of the first books where I had that sense of epic-ness, and then as you read the other books in the series this just builds and builds. I loved this growing up and I still love it now, and one day i'll eventually get around to reading them all over again.  

The Black north by Nigel McDowell ,

You can check out my full review here but I really wanted to highlight this book again. A - I LOVE THE COVER and B- for today purposes its set in a dark alternate Ireland, looking at elements of divide and darkness, and bringing in fantastic Irish myth into play. Una...and I love saying that name, was a great character, proving herself against all the rest, determined, and had that strong Irish spirit. I loved the way the book was covered in darkness yet the detail was vivid to make it come alive, and the mythology wasn't traditional. This is a great book by an author that was new to me and something I think everyone should give a go!

A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Down

“Together always. Free… And their lives ahead of them, around them, spilling from them as they screamed Whoooooooooo like three demented owls. What joy it was to be, what joy.”

The best word that I can think to write about Siobhan's books that I have read (being this and Bog Child) is evocative. I first read this when it was nominated for the Carnegie Award, and I remember it sitting with me for a long time afterwards. Her stories were very real, she was not afraid to talk about dark subjects, and they had a real power to them, a reality and a humanity. Even the cover shown here hints at the contrast in vibes within the book. It was beautiful written and I loved that I could hear the dialects and accents in the way the characters spoke. There was a great strength to Shell's character and the way she dealt with her situation against all those that were around here, and you really fought with and for her! 

And now to throw a couple of Adult books into the mix...just because...

The Reckoning by Jane Casey.

This ( though it was the second and unbeknownst to be at the time) was the first Maeve Kerrigan book I read, and I loved it. With there being so many crime books on the market, a lot of the time it really comes down to characters for me. I felt there was a great working/banter between Maeve and Josh, which carried the flow of book well, I liked Maeve as a character and even if some of the characters have slightly cliched traits, its probable more of a reality than we realize and they work well for the book. This book gripped me, it wasn't trying to be anything other than what it was, didn't try to overbear the reader, and gave a few good thrills and spills along the way, so that I wanted to read more and I still do!

Procession of the Dead by Darren Shan (a.k.a D.B. Shan)

This was one of those I sat down on the bus to read, and had to be basically thrown off the bus because I didn't want to stop reading kinda books. This is a dark, gritty gangster tale, with a fantastic fantasy element..and puppets (you'll have to read to find out). There was such a great intensity to the writing that you get so entwined in it the way Capac does to the city, almost like you too are under the control of The Cardinal. The Inca vibes that flow throughout add a really cool dynamic to the mix and the way that books one and two also flow in between each other with different character perspectives really builds the world, and the characters within them. The characters were strong, and it all felt a bit Sin City like. Its gangster mob with a twist, and a twist that only Shan can do...and he does it WELL. This is one of those books that I will always recommend to people...that means you! 

I hope you have (had) a lovely St Patrick's Day...read some great book and now to end  on a positive and fully cheesy note (for which I have no shame to and am now singing along with) I leave you with this:


Reading Away The Days said...

Oh I loved Bewitched LOL. Great picks. Especially The lion the witch and the wardrobe

Megan @ http://readingawaythedays.blogspot.co.uk

Michelle Fluttering Butterflies said...

I love Siobhan Dowd. Everything she's written felt raw and honest and beautiful. And have you read Jane Casey's YA books? I read the first one last year and really enjoyed it... I also love Vendetta by Catherine Doyle but can't really think of any others. Might look into it.

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