Books 73 to 80
So, in my Bucket List quest to read at least 80 books, this is my 10th (and final) list of 8 books that I've held onto. As explained in my blogs previously, my lists are an eclectic mix of book types. Hopefully you'll see something that you might read on your summer holidays. (See Blog 16 , Blog 22, Blog 32, Blog 38, Blog 48, Blog 65, Blog 76, Blog 86 and Blog 96 for my previous book-related blogs). Enjoy! ❤️
73 The Story of Lucy Gault … by William Trevor
Summer, 1921. Eight-year-old Lucy Gault clings to the glens and woods above Lahardane - the home her family is being forced to abandon. She knows the Gaults are no longer welcome in Ireland and that danger threatens. Lucy, however, is headstrong and decides that somehow she must force her parents into staying. But the path she chooses ends in disaster. One chance event, unwanted and unexpected, will blight the lives of the Gaults for years to come and bind each of them in different ways to this one moment in time, to this wild stretch of coast . . .
Shortlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize
Beautifully written tale of Anglo-Irish family in 1920s Ireland and their daughter Lucy, filled with Irish fate and sadness but also with Irish resilience, forgiveness and wonderful language. – Mary@80b480
'A masterwork. I doubt that I have read a book as moving in at least a decade. A homage to the redemptive power of love' - Independent
'Flawless. Guaranteed to keep you reading - all through the night if necessary - to find out what happens. Trevor's best novel' - New Statesman
'Dark, elegantly written ... a book to relish' - Independent on Sunday
About The Author
William Trevor Cox KBE (24 May 1928 – 20 November 2016), known by his pen name William Trevor, was an Irish novelist, playwright, and short story writer. One of the elder statesmen of the Irish literary world, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest contemporary writers of short stories in the English language.
Trevor won the Whitbread Prize three times and was nominated five times for the Booker Prize, the last for his novel Love and Summer (2009), which was also shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award in 2011. His name was also mentioned in relation to the Nobel Prize in Literature. He won the 2008 International Nonino Prize in Italy. In 2014, Trevor was bestowed Saoi by the Aosdána. Trevor resided in England from 1954 until his death at the age of 88.
74 The Year of the Virgins … by Catherine Cookson
It had never been the best of marriages and over recent years it had become effectively a marriage in name and outward appearance only. Yet, in the autumn of 1960, Winifred and Daniel Coulson presented an acceptable facade to the outside world, for Daniel had prospered sufficiently to allow them to live at Wearcill House, a mansion situated in the most favoured outskirt of the Tyneside town of Fellburn.
Of their children, it was Donald on whom Winifred doted to the point of obsession, and now he was to be married, Winifred's prime concern was whether Donald was entering wedlock with an unbesmirched purity of body and spirit, for amidst the strange workings of her mind much earlier conceptions of morality and the teachings of the Church held sway.
There was something potentially explosive just below the surface of life at Wearcill House, but when that explosion came it was in a totally unforeseeable and devastating form, plunging the Coulsons into an excoriating series of crises out of which would come both good and evil, as well as the true significance of The Year of the Virgins . . .
I enjoyed reading this book, a good holiday read….able to put down but enjoyable to pick up again, it’s a good read – Mary@80b480
No other reviews available.
About The Author
Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, Kate, whom she believed to be her older sister. She began work in service but eventually moved south to Hastings, where she met and married Tom Cookson, a local grammar-school master. Although she was originally acclaimed as a regional writer - her novel The Round Tower won the Winifred Holtby Award for the best regional novel of 1968 - her readership quickly spread throughout the world, and her many best-selling novels established her as one of the most popular of contemporary women novelists.
After receiving an OBE in 1985, Catherine Cookson was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She was appointed an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford, in 1997. For many years she lived near Newcastle upon Tyne. She died shortly before her ninety-second birthday, in June 1998.
75 To School Through The Fields … by Alice Taylor
If ever a voice has captured the colours, the rhythms, the rich, bittersweet emotions of a time gone by, it is Alice Taylor's. Her tales of childhood in rural Ireland hark back to a timeless past, to a world now lost, but ever and fondly remembered. The colourful characters and joyous moments she offers have made To School Through the Fields an Irish phenomenon, and have made Alice herself the most beloved author in all of Ireland. A must-have for fans of Alice Taylor.
This was my mother Peggy’s favourite book as it reminded her of her childhood. It’s a very sweet book that takes you back to simpler times & makes you realise that we complicate life far too much now. – Mary@80b480
‘A delightful evocation of Irishness and of the author’s deep-rooted love of “the very fields of home” … with its rituals and local characters’ - Publisher’s Weekly
‘One of the most richly evocative and moving portraits of childhood ever written.’ - Boston Globe
‘Ireland’s Laurie Lee … a chronicler of fading village life and rural rituals’ - The Observer
About The Author
Alice Taylor lives in the village of Innishannon in County Cork, in a house attached to the local supermarket and post office. Since her eldest son has taken over responsibility for the shop, she has been able to devote more time to her writing.
Alice Taylor worked as a telephonist in Killarney and Bandon. When she married, she moved to Innishannon where she ran a guesthouse at first, then the supermarket and post office. She and her husband, Gabriel Murphy, who sadly passed away in 2005, had four sons and one daughter. In 1984 she edited and published the first issue of Candlelight, a local magazine which has since appeared annually. In 1986 she published an illustrated collection of her own verse.
To School Through the Fields was published in May 1988. It was an immediate success, and quickly became the biggest selling book ever published in Ireland. It launched Alice on a series of signing sessions, talks and readings the length and breadth of Ireland. Her first radio interview, forty-two minutes long on RTÉ Radio's Gay Byrne Show, was the most talked about radio programme of 1988, and her first television interview, of the same length, was the highlight of the year on RTÉ television's Late Late Show. Since then, she has appeared on radio programmes such as Woman's Hour, Midweek and The Gloria Hunniford Show, and she has been the subject of major profiles in the Observer and the Mail on Sunday.
Alice has written nearly twenty books since then, large exploring her village of Innishannon, and the way of life in rural Ireland. She has also written poetry and fiction: her first novel, The Woman of the House, was an immediate bestseller in Ireland, topping the paperback fiction lists for many weeks.
76 True Believers … by Joseph O'Connor
A brilliant collection of short stories, True Believers projects the reader into a world of characters stunning in their variety. Here are sad-hearted priests, old friends, young lovers, rockers and rebels. Here are runaway husbands and runaway wives. Here are jokers and fanatics, punks and poets, thinkers and drinkers, chancers and killers. Here are the true believers, all clinging desperately to some kind of faith in a mutable and dangerous world.
An inspired collection with reflections on the Irish diaspora in England whom many will recognise. – Mary@80b480
'Funny, sad, shocking and piercing observations on Irish life' - Sunday Telegraph
"First, the good news: Eddie Virago is back. The hero of Joseph O'Connor's widely acclaimed novel Cowboys and Indians features in the first of the thirteen stories that make up True Believers, and he makes a tasty entree. Now for the great new: there's plenty more where Eddie came from" - The Times
"O'Connor's writing reads as though it was done with pleasure...convincing and poignant" - Independent
"O'Connor's sad, funny prose shivers in the cold dawn of real life and takes a few well-aimed potshots at the folly of youth" - Glasgow Herald
"A writer who admirably reveals the power of the short story to speak for our time" - Guardian
"A significant writer of a very contemporary kind" - Irish Times
About The Author
Joseph O'Connor was born in Dublin. His novels include Cowboys and Indians (Whitbread Prize shortlist), Star of the Sea (Irish Post Award for Fiction, France's Prix Millepages, Prix Madeleine Zepter for European Novel of the Year), Redemption Falls, and Ghost Light (Dublin One City One Book Novel, 2011). In 2012 he won the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature. His work has been published in thirty-five languages.
77 Two Moons … by Jennifer Johnston
In a house overlooking Dublin Bay, Mimi and her daughter Grace are disturbed by the unexpected arrival of Grace's daughter Polly, and her striking new boyfriend. The events of the next few days will lead both of them to reassess the shape of their lives. For while Grace's visitors focus her attention on an uncertain future, Mimi, who receives a messenger of a very different kind, must begin to set herself to rights with the betrayals and disappointments of the past.
This is a lovely read. I love the way Jennifer Johnston explored family life, generational dependence, aging and dying. – Mary@80b480
‘Superbly executed... by turns funny, revealing and sad, the novel is both enchanted and enchanting' - Daily Telegraph
‘Cool, crafted poise and sly wit' - Penny Perrick, The Times
'Jennifer Johnston's latest novel is a modern fairy tale with a dark theme... she handles [her material] so delicately, so deftly and wittily that we willingly suspend disbelief' - Margaret Walters, Sunday Times
'Jennifer Johnston spins her yarn into a shimmering confection whose surface limpidity conceals layer upon layer of narrative meaning, yet whose overall effect is of simplicity, lightness and ease... This is a novel of immense sophistication, familiar yet distant as the moon of the title' - Irish Times
About The Author
Jennifer Johnston is one of the foremost Irish writers of her, or any, generation. She has won the Whitbread Prize (THE OLD JEST), the Evening Standard Best First Novel Award (for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS), the Yorkshire Post Award, Best Book of the Year (twice, for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS and HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON?). She was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize with SHADOWS ON OUR SKIN.
78 Where rainbows end … by Cecelia Ahern
Also published as Love, Rosie - a story about love. And how life can get in the way…
Best friends since forever, Rosie and Alex have shared their hopes, dreams, awkward moments – and firsts. But their bond is threatened when Alex’s family move to America. They stay in touch, but misunderstandings, circumstances and sheer bad luck seem to be conspiring to keep them apart. Can they gamble everything – even their friendship – on true love?
Where Rainbows End is about two childhood best friends, Alex and Rosie, from Dublin, Ireland. Their wonderful, rollercoaster story is told through an exchange of letters, e-mails and text messages. Now why is this familiar to me? 😂 A lovely holiday read. – Mary@80b480
‘A heart-warming, completely absorbing tale of love and friendship’ - Company
‘Brilliantly written, you’ll laugh and cry’ - Heat
‘A winner’ - Glamour
‘Warm and thought-provoking’ - Good Housekeeping
About the Author
Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. Her novels have been translated into thirty-five languages and have sold more than twenty-five million copies in over fifty countries. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.
She and her books have won numerous awards, including the Irish Book Award for Popular Fiction for The Year I Met You. She lives in Dublin with her family.
79 Whitethorn Woods … by Maeve Binchy
Everything is changing in small Irish town of Rossmore - and when a new road threatens to cut through Whitethorn Woods, everyone has a passionate opinion about whether the town will benefit or suffer.
At the heart of the conflict is the fate of St. Ann's Well. People have been coming to St. Ann's for generations to share their dreams and fears. Some believe it to be a place of true spiritual power, demanding protection; others think it's a mere magnet for superstitions, easily sacrificed.
When one man is offered compensation for his land - but has a personal reason to save the well - and a childless London woman comes to Whitethorn Woods, begging the saint for help, the consequences are not as anyone anticipated . . .
Maeve always wrote a wonderful story. This book was no exception, you open up a Maeve Binchy book and it's like being welcomed into a warm room! Her books are full of wonderful characters that are humorous, every day people. Always entertaining. - Mary@80b480
"Binchy makes you laugh, cry and care." -San Francisco Chronicle
"Binchy is a grand storyteller in the finest Irish tradition. . . . She writes from the very heart." -The Plain Dealer
"An engaging read." -Daily News
"Binchy can channel Irish voices with the best of them, and each of those voices has its own twisting story to tell." -The Columbus Dispatch
"Reading one of Maeve Binchy's novels is like coming home." -The Washington Post
About the Author
Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined the IRISH TIMES. Her first novel, LIGHT A PENNY CANDLE, was published in 1982 and she went on to write over twenty books, all of them bestsellers. Several have been adapted for cinema and television, including TARA ROAD. Maeve Binchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Book Awards in 1999 and the Irish PEN/A.T. Cross award in 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards by the President of Ireland. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years and died on 30 July 2012.
80 Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China … by Jung Chang
The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than ten million copies sold around the world.
An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving—and ultimately uplifting—detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.
One of the most fascinating books I have ever read. Not only do I feel I got an honest history of communist China, its story plays out like a novel - I never wanted to put it down. - Mary@80b480
'This book will shake the world' - The Guardian
About the Author
Jung Chang (simplified Chinese: 张戎; traditional Chinese: 張戎; pinyin: Zhāng Róng; Wade-Giles: Chang Jung, born March 25, 1952 in Yibin, Sichuan) is a Chinese-born British writer now living in London, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in mainland China.
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog post 106
Number 55 - Skills - Read 80 Good Books
Other Blog Posts
Blog 7 - Alice Springs, Australia
Blog 8 - Adelaide, Australia
Blog 9 - Melbourne, Australia
Blog 10 - Cairns, Australia
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 16 - Books 8 of 80 to read now!
Did you read any of these books? Which ones? What did you think of them?
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!