Poor by Catriona O' Sullivan.
Poor is a memoir by Catriona O Sullivan. I read this by listening to it on Audible. Catriona narrates the whole story of her life and it's some awful, sickening story of how she came to where she is today. She is a lecturer with a PhD and works in Maynooth University.
She was raised by her drug and alcohol addicted parents in Coventry in the West Midlands of England. 
The abuse and trauma and terror she lives through would finish anyone off but she continually pushes against these troubles though she falls many times.
I can't say I enjoyed this as no-one would enjoy reading her life but the writing works well as it's sparse and emotionally careful. Catriona narrates her story so well. I am amazed how she can read many of her memories though you can hear cracks in her voice and withheld tears when she speaks about her love for her family.
She is very clearly an inspiration to all but I think that there might be a sequel to this in terms of the solutions, society, education and what we can do to prevent families living through horrendous disadvantage. Education is going to be a huge part of the answer and I found that it was the teachers and social workers that helped her, encouraged her and believed in her that made the biggest change to her life.
Worth a listen.
Prophet Song by Paul Lynch.
This is a dystopian type book set in present or future Ireland. It is told from the point of view of Eilish, a mum of four who is married to Larry, a teacher trade unionist.
This is a scary, scary book that never lets the pressure, darkness and generally awfulness down from start to finish.
The author says he started this book in response to Syria, how a seemingly democratic country could be overturned by a dangerous regime easily.
There's lots of war, corruption and disappearing of characters in Prophet Song . It's about what could happen if a powerful regime takes over a country and how this regime can start small and end up in war time 
But really what it's about is how the main character, Eilish and her thoughts, struggles and emotional state is beaten again and again. Her losses are real and also something I felt could absolutely happen. There's the feeling of a pandemic in this book. I think that's why I could relate to Eilish. I think the author has done a really good job of creating a female character and he gets it right almost all the time.

The only thing to add is the depression and anguish and awfulness never lets up. The ending is brilliant but there is little hope. The author said he started the book with an image  and it's clear to see how that pans out when we get there. This is a grim novel but there's an importance there not to turn away from what could,in fact, happen anywhere. We might feel safe in Ireland and look at refugees fleeing war but this novel will challenge that thinking.

I think this is a strong contender for the shortlist for the man Booker along with Elaine Feeney's How to build a boat but if I were to pick one, I'll go with the building a boat book 😁📖

Old God's Time by Sebastian Barry.

The first 100 pages or more were s l o w and need I say dragged out and I may have complained to anyone around me who would listen but then I got used to the style and the drawn out stream of consciousness and back and forth of the unreliable narrator's thoughts and I actually enjoyed it in many parts though I threatened to cast it aside many times during the week.

This book is about a retired Garda who is visited by two detectives who want to re-examine his involvement in a murder case he managed years ago. 

It's also about a main character having unbelievable and maybe implausibly bad, bad misfortune in life. I could not suspend my belief here.

I liked the setting and the story very much. I just think it dragged in many places but I can absolutely see this getting shortlisted for the Man Booker because of its ambition of scope, language,style and of course the abuse of children by the Catholic Church mixed in with dementia.

I'd still recommend it if you can keep pushing through. It might just be worth it.

Anyway, what do I know?


#manbooker #rozzie #novel #irishWriters
Aftersun. Watched this film last night on @mubiuk . It was so so so good. Slow, ultra slow but then took off in very small ways. Father and daughter on Turkish beach holiday. How we remember our parents and mental health. Really raw. Acting superb. Thank you to @_dellers_  for this recommendation. I really should watch more special films..
#rozzie #literary #artfilms
Kala by Colin Walsh
Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood.
The island of longing by Anne Griffin.
As always, Anne writes with emotional perfection. Her characters and plots feel so real. Probably my favourite of her three so far!
Warning. This book will make you cry. 😭😍
Zen in the art of Writing by Raymond Bradbury.
A mostly energetic, frantic read on creativity and writing. Basic premise is to start to notice the things you love and hate. Make lists of these and hide away and write pieces based on these lists. Really interesting read on how he came to writing and stuck with it.
#rozzie #writing #reading #writingbooks
Everything's fine by Cecilia Rabess.

Josh and Jess. Jess is our black protagonist. Josh is our very white and upper middle class banker analyst. They clash big time. In fact the best parts of the book are those clashes. The one at the end relating to a Make America great campaign hat.

Is it ossible for a Black liberal and a white conservative to be happily in love? 

An american love story that pushes out questions about racism, privelege, class, politics and also a really good storyline.

 So many thought provoking ideas and arguments have been promoted while I read this. I think this is a really important book for black lives matter and also great links with Irish politics too.

Heard a lot about this before it came out. A must read. My favourite parts are with Jess and her father. I love that guy.

#rozzie #novel #antiRacism #Equality #equity #writing #bookstagram
The Rachel Incident by Caroline O'Donoghue

Finished this in about a day.

I so enjoyed this from the first page to that perfect ending.
This story is about two best friends in their 20s in 2008 sharing a house while one attends UCC, Rachel doing an arts degree and the other, James, is a bookseller who is closet gay.
Rachel fancies her professor, Dr Byrne who is married.

I won't give any of the plot points away but this book, the characters, the dialogue, the setting, the situations they found themselves in were so real, so well thought out that I'm convinced most of this is based the author's life.

It's very Irish but not in a "oirish" way. If you were ever young, in your twenties, as the blurb says, you can't help but love this book!

This is a brilliant book.

 Heartwarming. Funny. Real. Soft.

 You will cheer the characters on, all of them. The characters shape the plot as the plot shape the characters so it feels plausible as if it happened.

I loved all the insider publishing and book references too!

Bring this away on your holidays or just savour it at home. It likely one of my top books of 2023.

#rozzie #IrishWriting #therachelincident #carolineODonoghue #novel #bookstagram #whatImReading
Pet by Catherine Chidney. Thanks to the awesome book reader and fellow equality in schools activist that is @littlecassreads for this recommendation.

There is a huge amount to like here. The book is set in 1980s New Zealand in a Catholic school. The narrator worships her teacher Mrs Price as does everyone else in the school and the town. Her mum has died recently. Her dad is lonely and she's vunerable. Stakes are high, unfold story arc! 

The writing is super solid. The images of the school show us they don't force themselves on the reader.

I loved the way the story unfolded from present day back to 1984.
That really worked and that's probably why it worked.

But... I found Mrs Price to be picture book fairytale evil. Too predictable, too step mother ish. I liked the subtlety of the oppressive catholic school atmosphere. That was done well.
 I enjoyed the subtle themes of racism, sexism and oppression of female body. Not that I enjoy those themes but the writer reflected them well. 

I finished this in one day. It's most definitely a holiday read but let's not make that a negative. It's a very good read but I felt no surprises even at the "twist". It all turned a bit "The hand that rocks the cradle" and that's a good film!

I'm still going to recommend this as a pretty good thriller of a summer read.

I'm fussy, I know.

#rozzie #reading #bookstagram #petNovel #catherineChidney #thriller
Deadwood Encore by Kathleen Murray.
Why the moon travels by Oein DeBhaurduin.
Gorgeous takes from the oral tradition of the Irish Traveller community. Collected by Oein throughout his childhood and beautifully retold.
#rozzie #tales #irishTravellers #IrishWriting
Juno loves legs by Karl Heary.


I raced through this. Impeccably written and observed. The author gets poverty and gets the hole of disadvantage. Juno and Legs is heartbreakingly real.

If you've read Fintan O Toole's 'We don't know ourselves then this is basically a story of how Fintan shows us how awful Irish society had and still is to children, women and gay people. Anyone from a minority that was born without priveleged. It's a book about trauma and what it does to the young child.

When I picked it up I thought 'Not another bad priest and bad nun book' as if we have had too much of those, as if we have accepted and attoned for our shameful history and connection with the church but guess what, there is room for another book about the Ill health of the relationship between the church and Ireland and if its the good it needs to be read and read and read.
Get this on your to read list, I dare you!

#rozzie #novel @karlGeary