Books 33 to 40
So, in my Bucket List quest to read at least 80 books, this is my 5th 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 a rainy day. (See Blog 16 , Blog 22, Blog 32 and Blog 38 for my other book-related blogs).
33 Now that you're back … by A. L. Kennedy
Exposing and exploring the sinuous undercurrents of violence, anguish and love, A.L. Kennedy examines the nature of the individual, both in isolation and society, as characters define and deny their chosen identities. While showing us the unlikeliness of intimacy and the impossibility of communication, Kennedy also reveals the subversive liberation of impotence, the humour of discomfort as human beings chafe together, the crazed claustrophobia of the family and the wildly funny results of an eccentricity unleashed.
This a collection of short stories; dark but insightful - nice to read some short stories for a change, it’s a big ask to set the stage and create something to care about in just a few pages. I’m not sure how this made it on to my bookshelf but I’m glad it did. – Mary@80b480
" Great short stories are rare if not rarer than great poems and the fact that a handful here possess great magical quality is remarkable... A.L. Kennedy is a writer of original and beguiling diction." - "Scotland on Sunday"
“Her vision is bleak but stoic; she keeps a cool distance from her characters, overseeing them with a sardonic eye.” - Independent
About The Author
A. L. Kennedy was born in Dundee in 1965. Her first collection of stories, Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains, won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, the Saltire Award for Best First Book and the Mail on Sunday/John Llelewyn Rhys Prize. Her first novel, Looking for the Possible Dance, resulted in her being chosen as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists.
34 Oven Lane … by Michael Coady
Oven Lane was a Poetry Ireland Choice when it was published ﬁrst in 1987 – this is the version I own. There is now a revised and amplified edition including poems from the award-winning Two for a Woman, Three for a Man. It offers poems arising from the history and community of Michael Coady’s (and my) native Carrick-on-Suir and extends to a search for emigrant family links in America.
Michael’s work celebrates place, particularly our home town of Carrick-on-Suir and the people who live there. In our small, intimate community he weaves poetic magic with his compassion for the extraordinary in the ordinary. – Mary @ 80b480
“….there is a warm, emotional openness to this work ‘in which generous feeling and a respect for individuals and the sacred quality of life itself ﬁnd engaging expression.” - Terence Brown, Poetry Ireland
About The Author
Michael Coady (born 1939) is an Irish poet, short story writer, local historian, photographer, genealogist, journalist and "a lapsed trombone player" (his own description), born in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, Ireland, where he continues to live. He was educated at University College Galway and University College Cork. He is a former Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University in the United States. His poetry and short stories have been included in many anthologies.
His awards include The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 1979, the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award in 2004 and he was a prize-winner in the Francis MacManus competition for short stories in 1987 and 1993.
35 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha … by Roddy Doyle
The story is about a 10-year-old boy living in Barrytown, North Dublin. It recounts (approximately) one year in his life, especially his relationships with Sinbad (Francis), his younger brother, his parents and his schoolmates and teachers. It begins with him being a mischievous boy roaming around local Barrytown and ends with his father departing from the family, forcing the boy to take up adult responsibilities in his now single-parent home.
If there’s a book out there that captures a childhood, or the perspective from a 10-year-old child, better than this one, then I haven’t read it. – Mary @80b480
“Gloriously triumphant...confirms Doyle as the best novelist of his generation” - Nick Hornby ― Literary Review
“A superb recreation of childhood” - Dermot Bolger
“This is one of the most compelling novels I've read in ages, a triumph of style and perception”- Joseph O' Connor ― Irish Times
About The Author
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of eleven acclaimed novels including The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van, two collections of short stories, Rory & Ita, a memoir about his parents, and most recently, The Guts. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.
36 Rachel's Holiday … by Marian Keyes
Meet Rachel Walsh. She has a pair of size 8 feet and such a fondness for recreational drugs that her family has forked out the cash for a spell in Cloisters – Dublin’s answer to the Betty Ford Clinic. She’s only agreed to her incarceration because she’s heard that rehab is wall-to-wall jacuzzies, gymnasiums and rock stars going tepid turkey – and it’s about time she had a holiday.
But what Rachel doesn’t count on are the toe-curling embarrassments heaped on her by family and group therapy, the lack of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll – and missing Luke, her ex. What kind of a new start in life is this?
Rachel's Holiday is wonderfully touching. It is a talent to take subjects that are so serious and bring laughter and humour to them. What a quirky, fun sense of humour Marian has. This book delved into the world of addicts. It was honest, insightful, and very human. – Mary@80b480
“Rachel's appeal as a heroine is instant and irresistible. What begins as a pitch-perfect, bitingly funny romantic comedy quickly becomes dark, profound, heartbreaking . . . and then light again. Keyes's comic gift is always evident, and the prose itself is propulsive” ― Independent
“It's full of LOLs, but also delivers a sucker-punch of emotion - a proper comfort-blanket book” ― Claire Frost, Fabulous magazine
“Keyes manages to have you alternately blubbing and belly-laughing to the final page” ― Company
“Gloriously funny” ― The Sunday Times
About The Author
Marian Keyes is the international bestselling author of Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Rachel's Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man, The Brightest Star in the Sky, The Mystery of Mercy Close, The Woman Who Stole My Life, The Break and Grown Ups. Her journalism, collected under two titles, Making It Up As I Go Along and Under the Duvet: Deluxe Edition, containing the original publications Under the Duvet and Further Under the Duvet, are also available from Penguin. Marian lives in Dublin with her husband.
37 Revolutionary Road … by Richard Yates
Hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs since its publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. With heart-breaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birth-right, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.
This started out really good, then kind of dragged in the middle, but still had a lot of satiric moments peppered throughout. But the last 100 pages is where it's at!! It made the entire book. Happy I read it. – Mary@80b480
"The Great Gatsby of my time...one of the best books by a member of my generation." —Kurt Vonnegut
"Beautifully crafted...a remarkable and deeply troubling book." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"A deft, ironic, beautiful novel that deserves to be a classic." --William Styron
About The Author
Richard Yates was born in 1926 in New York and lived in California. His prize-winning stories began to appear in 1953 and his first novel, Revolutionary Road, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1961. He is the author of eight other works, including the novels A Good School, The Easter Parade, and Disturbing the Peace, and two collections of short stories, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness and Liars in Love. He died in 1992.
38 Scarlet Feather … by Maeve Binchy
Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather have decided to create the best catering company in Dublin. They have the perfect premises, heaps of talent and even a few contacts, but not everyone seems as pleased by the idea of 'Scarlet Feather' as they are.
Tom's parents are disappointed that he has turned his back on the family business. Cathy's husband buries himself in work, becoming ever more distant, while his mother thinks Cathy should stay at home to look after him. And Tom's relationship with his beautiful, ambitious girlfriend becomes fraught as she struggles to realise her dream of becoming a model.
As Cathy and Tom strive to maintain their emotional ties among catering triumphs and disasters, they are supported, and undermined, by an enchanting cast of classic Binchy characters.
Beautifully articulated, just a tiny bit slow at the beginning, it gives the more strength to the characters when she develops the whole plot. Maeve at her best – Mary@80b480
“SCARLET FEATHER has all the distinguishing Binchy characteristics: human interest, pacey plot, judicious humour, warm sentiment ... You can see why, for a legion of female readers, Maeve Binchy is a one-woman opiate of the people” ― EVENING STANDARD
“Maeve is just like a good fisherwoman: she teases you, reels you in and by the time you try to get away, you are well and truly hooked. I literally could not put the book down by the time I got to the last quarter.”― SUNDAY EXPRESS
“This is Binchy at her finest.” ― WOMAN AND HOME
“If you're a lover of Maeve Binchy's warm, engrossing novels, you're in for a treat ... [a] tale of love, heartbreak and laugher. You'll be hooked by the characters from the start and the fine storytelling simply sweeps you along.” ― WOMAN'S REALM
“SCARLET FEATHER has that classic Maeve Binchy component: the readability factor. And if leisure palls for Maeve, it's blindingly apparent there are more novels inside her. The penny candle's still burning.” ― IRISH INDEPENDENT
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 Gais Irish Book Awards by the President of Ireland. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years, and died in 2012.
39 Schwarzkopf: The Man, The Mission, The Triumph … by Richard Pyle
General Norman Schwarzkopf (Stormin’ Norman), the allied commander of the first Persian Gulf War, is the object of this quickie biography. The author of this volume, however, is an experienced war correspondent who has the sense to let Schwarzkopf speak for himself as much as possible. This the general is able to do better than many, and he emerges as a by-no-means common mixture of gifted strategist and "soldier's general," never forgetting those who do the dirty work in the front lines. The book belongs in any Gulf War collection.
Bio of "Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf. I found this book to be an interesting read as it wouldn’t be a usual genre for me. I came away with respect for the man. Whether you agree with his politics is almost irrelevant here as he was such an interesting character that you want to keep reading about him. – Mary@80b480
No other reviews found.
About The Author
Richard Pyle, a journalist whose career with the Associated Press spanned the globe and a half-century of crises, wars, catastrophes and indelible moments in news reporting, died Sept. 28, 2017. He was 83.
40 Sean Kelly: a man for all seasons … by Sean Kelly and David Walsh
Sean Kelly, from Carrick-on-Suir, was a professional cyclist from 1977 to 1994 and is considered one of the greats. While he never won the Tour de France, he won the Tour's green jersey four times - a record until the coming of Erik Zabel. He did, however, win a major tour, taking the Vuelta (the Tour of Spain) in 1988. His record of seven consecutive wins in the Paris - Nice still stands though - the only professional to date to have accomplished that in any race. His form for the classics was always excellent - he won 22 in total, including the Tour of Lombardy, the Paris - Roubaix, Milan - San Remo and Liege - Bastogne - Liege. He won two bronze medals in the World Championships, the inaugural World Cup and the Super Prestige Pernod Trophy three times. Since retirement in 1994, his main involvement in professional cycling has been commentating for Eurosport.
"A Man for All Seasons" is divided into four sections - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each section relates to a period of Kelly's career, and each has an introduction written by David Walsh. Walsh also wrote a biography of Kelly in the 1980s - which now (sadly) appears to be out of print. The majority of each section is made up of a series of photographs, relating to that section of Kelly's career. Kelly himself briefly outlines the story behind each photo - providing, for example, a few details on the race being contested and the other riders pictured.
Although this book missed the last few years of Kelly's career, it is well worth having - particularly for anyone who was a fan of the man himself (like me) or who followed cycling in general while he was a professional. The photographs make up the bulk of the book, and they do inspire a certain feeling of nostalgia. I treasure my signed copy. – Mary@80b480
No other reviews found.
About The Author
Drawn from the work of top photographers all over Europe, this collection of pictures has been selected and presented by Sean himself, with introductions by David Walsh, author of the biography: Kelly. David Walsh (born 17 June 1955) is an Irish sports journalist and chief sports writer for the British newspaper The Sunday Times. He is a four-time Irish Sportswriter of the Year and a three-time UK Sportswriter of the Year. Walsh was the key journalist in uncovering the doping program by Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service Cycling Team, leading to a lifetime ban from cycling for Armstrong and being stripped of his seven Tour titles.
Bucket List Items Partly Ticked Off in the above Blog post 48
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!