It’s March and time for Ireland Reading month hosted by Cathy at 746.com. Full details of the activities Cathy has up her sleeve can be found via the announcement post We Celts need to stick together so I’ll be joining in as much as possible.
But what to read is the question – Cathy has put a list of 100 Irish Novels as a good starting point for anyone unsure where to begin. For my own preparations I delved into my personal library at the weekend and came up with six options.
- The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
- Ancient Light by John Banville
- The Absolutionist by John Boyne
- Good Behaviour by Molly Keane
- The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch
- Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue
It’s unlikely I’ll read more than two before the month given some other commitments.On of those is likely to be Ancient Light by John Banville which I bought as a signed copy after hearing him speak at the Hay Book Festival about three years ago. I loved the lyricism of his Booker Prize winning novel The Sea so I’m hoping Ancient Light will deliver more of the same. The synopsis sounds promising:
… a brilliant, profoundly moving new novel about an actor in the twilight of his life and his career: a meditation on love and loss, and on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives.
I’m not going to decide in advance on my second choice yet – maybe it’s time to give Molly Keane another try – I’ve read only one by her so far (Devoted Ladies under her pen name of M. J Farrell) – but then I’ve been meaning to get around to The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney ever since it won the Bailey’s prize in 2016. The chairman of the judges described it as “a superbly original, compassionate novel that delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling.” Skilfull storytelling sounds just the ticket..
Are any of you planning to join Reading Ireland month – if so what are you planning to read? In the meantime, I shall raise my glass of Guinness and wish you “Sláinte” (good health).