I have read some brilliant books this year and it is impossible to choose but I must so here we go.
If you would like to buy a book for someone you love or even for yourself, then consider these…Because, apparently book sales are up this year which is exciting and amazing for booksellers, publishers, writers and readers! Woooo!
Buy the lovely Springs of Affection by Maeve Brennan and published by Stinging Fly. It is a beautiful book with some very cool photos of Maeve on the front and back. But, do not be swayed by mere human beauty for it is the writing that is the best! The collection is made up of some memoir/short stories to begin with and then gets fully into the heads of two different Dublin families. It always amazes me when writers can get right under the skin of what it means to be a mother or father when they are not. Maeve writes so well about the complexities of being alive and being in a marriage made of hatred. Each of the stories build on each other and zip in and out of the past and into the future. I really enjoyed it. Maeve passed away sadly in 1993 and was not well-known at all but is making a deserved comeback. Put her at the top of your shopping list. Stinging Fly will ship if you go to this address http://www.stingingfly.org/book/springs-affection
Also, her novella The visitor is a strong read and you will get it on amazon. I bought mine second-hand from Kenny’s Bookshop or kennys.ie. It is the perfect book as it is small and compact enough to bring with you and show off and swoon over. It is a short story/novella(Make up your mind, Rozz) that shows us a little girl who is very afraid of her evil Grandmother who wants her out of her family home. Be scared. Scared.
The Pier falls by Mark Haddon rocks. I loved his story, the gun when it was shortlisted for the Times Short story award and it lost out by basically having the award stolen. Well, the award wasn’t stolen as in a real theft but it was in my head. I read all 5 shortlisted stories and therefore I declare the award was stolen from Mr. Hadden. T
The Pier falls is one of the best modern collections I have read in a long while. Each story is brilliant, different, heartbreaking and entirely suited for those who may not be used to reading the short story thing. Get it. The cover is all stripey and will be a worthy present for anyone who likes coloured stripey books and an excellent reading experience. You will buy it anywhere but I like it if you buy it from an Irish independent bookshop like Kenny’s in Galway at http://www.kennys.ie/the-pier-falls-3.html and Kenny’s will ship it free!
Other excellent Irish short story collections this year that I have read and can stand over are William Wall’s Hearing Voices, Seeing things published by Doire Press and free P and P from those lovely publishers in Galway.
I really, really liked Jan Carson’s Children’s children published by Liberties Press with a gorgeous, gorgeous cover. Yes, I love my covers and I think every reader does too. It looks all wintery and stuff so you really shouldn’t be hesitating on this one.
If you want something really, really special, go for any of Carver’s short story collections. The book depository and amazon stock Raymond Carver but not sure if you will get before Christmas. Dubray Books who have real-life shops and online stock some of his collections. I would recommend What we talk about when we talk about love. http://www.dubraybooks.ie/What-We-Talk-About-When-We-Talk-About-Love_9780099530329 If you haven’t read this, I am jealous and excited for you!
Happy shopping, hope you get something you love!