So after completing 27 books in 2016 with a target of 52 I set myself a more realistic target of a book a fortnight for 2017. I was hoping for one a week but thought once a fortnight for a new book would be more manageable.
The first book I got through was one we published ourselves. It was a joy to read In Concert as we prepared for its launch at the end of January.
I tend to read mainly non-fiction but liked the look of a man called ove. What a delightful read, the story of a grumpy old man that believes people should fix things and that todays society just goes too fast. Ove is a cross between my father and myself so it was a lovely poignant read. Catcher in the Rye has always been a classic so it was nice to catch up with that and Homage to Catalonia once more
After reading 4 fiction books it was time to return to my more comfortable domain information non-fiction although the lines were slightly blurred by my next choice. Recent Irish soccer history was explored by a little gem I picked up in a charity shop. Red mist, the story of Roy Keane leaving the Irish team before their World Cup finals in Japan / South Korea. Now this story has had musicals and tree loads of paper written about it before but the introduction of a 7 year old Irish fan into the story brought a new twist. In the mind of a youth black and white is straightforward.
Paul Howard books are kind of like bubble gum, enjoyable but no substance. I like his Ross o Carroll Kelly collection because it is close to the one with people I know. I don’t recollect them form growing up in working class dublin but have certainly been acquainted with their ilk at gigs. Some people brown into money have a sense of privilege and that sense is completely lost on them. In this book Ross continues his lifestyle of excess while leaving a trail of wrecked feelings behind
Paul Masons reports from Greece for channel 4 news were the most balanced reports on mainstream media at the time. So influenced by events over there he has give up his job as a reporter and has written a critique on how we can mould the future. First and foremost mason is an economist which makes for hard reading at times. I stuck with it though waves and cycles and it was worth it in the end. This along with Jane McAleavy’s No Shortcuts and more recently George Monbiot’s ‘Out of The Wreckage’ are trying to show a way forward. Trying to create a new story. McAleavy explains how the 1% have an armoury of material resources and political special forces but the 99% have an army. In her book she explains how not to only mobilise buy more importantly organise that army. Depending on your point of view The trade union movement do a job ranging from poor to great on mobilising and advocating on behalf of their membership. Many concessions are gained but all within the structure of the status quo. Mcaleavy argues that the better option is to push the power on to the membership and more substantial gains can be made.
The story of Jihad John was fascinating. It was the real life tale of a boy growing into a man in West London and how he ended up as an executioner. Many questions are asked in the quest to try and figure out what makes a terrorist do such things.
Last year we saw a referendum take place in Britain with the question being put to the people “do you wish to remain or exit the European Union ” the majority wanted out and so a new word was born ‘Brexit’. Bremain wouldn’t have such as good a ring to it so thankfully for book publishers and newspaper editors the exit vote won. Not so thankful for the rest of us picking up the pieces and wondering why our friends want to leave. No more it’s not you it’s me, this was all down to us and our irresponsible take on the relationship. Mount has written an intriguing book on the whole thing. It takes the brexit campaign and the lack of real camaraderie between those fighting to leave the European Union and details how they’ve won. We then get some insight into the fall out as the Tory votes in a new leader. It’s a fairly factual account which shows a complete mess under the surface. I can’t imagine I share many similar thoughts with the author but my view is this is a mess that has had serious repercussions
The Woman Not the Name was an awful take of nothing throughout the pages. Mix of times of a group of young people, starting pod in life on a road to discovery. Not sure what they discover but quite frankly I didn’t care in the end. I just wanted to finish it. Painful,
My friend Mick McCaughen wrote a book about his rediscovery of the Irish language. Anything with punk rock references in the Irish language is good for me. Mick tries to sell us the beauty of our native tongue. It is a hard sell but it got me. There were also punk rock references in Joseph O’Connor The Thrill of it all. Amazing what a refertence to a few songs can do to turn on ok story into a very interesting one
2 books which are the bread for the sandwich that has been the austerity years in this country are Fintan O’Tooles Ship of Fools and Frank Connolly’s Nama Land – The infamous quote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” springs to mind. Until we tell the new story effectively it seems like we will just keep going in circles
I like autobiographies and you can’t really get much different than rock star Adam Ant and Hurling great Anthony Daly. Both pretty interesting read but I got through Dalo’s story much quicker. I wanted to read about him but half way through adam ant’s i could care less. Nasty Women on the other hand is full of intrigue as the reality of what it is to be a woman in 21st century is written about. I did n’t get through many music books but the link to punk rock was very prevalent
The Art of Hurling gives some insight in 11 hurling managers as some of their victories and mannerisms are written about. Not enough to give away their secrets but just about enough to see where their madness emanates
I finished with some history as it was the centenary of the bombings of two ship[s as they sailed from Dublin Port to the UK during an awful World War 1. I only made it to 20 sure we will see what 2018 brings
- In Concert – Niall McGuirk + Michael Murphy (Hope Publications)
- Jihadi John, the making of a terrorist – Robert Kerniak (One World Publications)
- A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman (Schuster and Schuster)
Catcher in the rye -Jd Salinger (Penguin books)
Red mist, Roy Keane and the Irish World Cup Blues – Ian o Callaghan (Bloomsbury Press)
Ross o Carroll Kelly: I scored the bridesmaid – Paul Howard (O’Brien Press)
Post capitalism: A guide to our future – Paul mason (Penguin press )
No shortcuts: Jane mcaleavey (Oxford press)
Summer madness – Harry mount (Bite back publishing)
The woman not the name – Brian Lynch (Duras press)
Coming Home – Michael mccaughen (Gill publication)
Ship of fools – Fintan o’toole (Faber)
- Nama Land – Frank O’Connor (Gill Books)
Dalo – Anthony Daly (Transworld ireland)
Stand and deliver -Adam ant (Pan publishing)
- The Thrill Of It All – Joseph O’Connor (Random House)
- nasty women – A collection of essays and accounts of what it is to be a woman in 21st century (404ink.com)
- The Art of Hurling: Insightrs in success from Managers – Daire Whelan (Mercer Sport)
- They’ve taken our ghettos: A Punk History of Woodberry Down Estate (Active Distribution)
- Within the seat of War: Dublin Docklands and the sinking of SS Hare and SS Adela 1917 – Adela Hare Centenary Commemoration Committee