Brilliant Book Titles #97

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved―plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time―and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candour and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

A King in Hiding by Fadim


This is a true account of a boy called Fahim from Pakistan who has a talent for chess. He played in his father’s chess club until threats began to be made against himself and his family and Fahim was at risk of being kidnapped. Fahim and his father fled Pakistan and tried to get to Spain, on the way they passed through France and found a chess club with a world class chess coach Xavier Parmentier who saw huge potential in Fahim. They decided to stay in Paris and applied for asylum in France. In the meantime Fahim played in the chess club and finally went on to win the World under 13 Student Chess Championship. The book follows the ups and downs- a lot of downs- in Fahim’s daily life while they wait for the verdict on their asylum applications. Both he and his father make huge sacrifices so that Fahim can play and compete in chess and live in terrible poverty, sometimes camping out in parks during winter, not having enough to eat. They also are fortunate in that people they meet do as much as possible to help them in their asylum applications, finding places for them to stay, providing free chess lessons. This story provides an insight into the reality of what it’s like to be a refugee and at its heart is about the determination of both Fahim and his father and the will to succeed, overcoming a seemingly impossible situation to achieve their dreams.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

5 New Comics to Watch Out For

Snotgirl Volume 1 by O’Malley & Hung (28 Feb 2017)
WHO IS LOTTIE PERSON? Is she a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star with a perfect life or a gross, allergy-ridden mess? Enter a world of snot, blood, and tears in this first collection from New York Times Best Seller BRYAN LEE O’MALLEY (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds) and dazzling newcomer LESLIE HUNG!

Collects SNOTGIRL #1-5.

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen (23 Mar 2017)
Sarah Andersen’s hugely popular, world-famous Sarah’s Scribbles comics are for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair, who are always down for all-night reading-in-bed parties and extremely exclusive after-hour one-person music festivals. In addition to the most recent Sarah’s Scribbles fan favorites and dozens of all-new comics, this volume contains illustrated personal essays on Sarah’s real-life experiences with anxiety, career, relationships and other adulthood challenges that will remind readers of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. The same uniquely frank, real, yet humorous and uplifting tone that makes Sarah’s Scribbles so relatable blooms beautifully in this new longer form.

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Uncomfortably Happy by Yeon-Sik Hong (28 Mar 2017)
Uncomfortably, Happily is the story of a young couple finding their way. Burdened by unmet comics deadlines and high rent, our narrator and his wife know they must make a change. Convinced the absence of traffic noise will ease his writer s block, our pair welcomes the idea of building a life from scratch. Deciding on a home atop an uninhabited mountain, they excitedly embrace the charms of their new rural existence. From tending to the land and attempting grocery runs through snow, to the complexities of fighting depression in seclusion, the move does not immediately prove to be the golden ticket they d hoped for, and the silence of the mountain poses as much of an obstacle to output as the sirens of the city. Through it all, though, we see simple pleasures seep in and gain prominence over these commercial, and, often, comparatively trivial worries: the smell of the forest, the calming weight of enveloping snow, and the gratification of a stripped down life making art begin to muffle other concerns. Originally published in Korean to great acclaim and winning the Manhwa Today award, Uncomfortably, Happily uniquely explores our narrator s inner world. Hong propels the comic with gorgeously detailed yet simple art, sharing the story of two lives unfolding slowly, sometimes uncomfortably, yet ultimately, happily.

Saga Volume 7 (4 Apr 2017)
From the worldwide bestselling team of FIONA STAPLES and BRIAN K. VAUGHAN, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained SAGA event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience.

Collects issues 37 through 42.

The Hellblazer Vol 1: The Poison Truth (11 Apr 2017)
John Constantine, the hard-hearted Hellblazer returns home to London to face an impossible choice: live an immortal life bonded to a demonic curse, or shift that curse to eight million people–killing each and every one of them! What to do, what to do… The Hellblazer is back in the first volume of the continued story of one of DC’s most iconic and long-lasting characters by writer Simon Oliver (FBP) with art by Moriat (The Spirit). Collects THE HELLBLAZER #1-6. Rebirth honors the richest history in comics, while continuing to look towards the future. These are the most innovative and modern stories featuring the world’s greatest superheroes, told by some of the finest storytellers in the business. Honoring the past, protecting our present and looking towards the future. This is the next chapter in the ongoing saga of the DC Universe. The legacy continues.

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight


A baby’s body is found in the quiet upper-class town of Ridgedale, New Jersey. The normal crime beat reporter is out of town and Molly (who usually does the fluff pieces) is pulled in to do a report on the scene.

Molly is a recent addition to the town so she doesn’t know the history of the area. This discovery threatens to unearth secrets long buried by the town’s most powerful residents. As Molly starts digging in for answers, she finds out that another death happened at the same place. Molly has also recently lost a baby herself and her friends and husband question her as to whether she can handle being so close to this case.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints including Barbara, the helicopter mom who is married to the chief of police & Sandy, a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks who is used to taking care of her “wild child” mom Jenna. Now Jenna is missing.
Is it all connected……who is the mother of the dead baby?

Where They Found Her is a riveting domestic thriller. Who can be trusted as the web of lies expand?

She creates a world that pulls us in completely and genuinely, with characters that can enrage, amuse, and fill us with empathy. It’s a thrilling, lovely novel.” — Gillian Flynn


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #96

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Cal Newport’s clearly-written manifesto flies in the face of conventional wisdom by suggesting that it should be a person’s talent and skill – and not necessarily their passion – that determines their career path.

Newport, who graduated from Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa) and earned a PhD. from MIT, contends that trying to find what drives us, instead of focusing on areas in which we naturally excel, is ultimately harmful and frustrating to job seekers.

The title is a direct quote from comedian Steve Martin who, when once asked why he was successful in his career, immediately replied: “Be so good they can’t ignore you” and that’s the main basis for Newport’s book. Skill and ability trump passion.

Inspired by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ famous Stanford University commencement speech in which Jobs urges idealistic grads to chase their dreams, Newport takes issue with that advice, claiming that not only is thsi advice Pollyannish, but that Jobs himself never followed his own advice.

From there, Newport presents compelling scientific and contemporary case study evidence that the key to one’s career success is to find out what you do well, where you have built up your ‘career capital,’ and then to put all of your efforts into that direction.

Brilliant Book Titles #95

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

The English language that is spoken by one billion people around the world is a linguistic mongrel, its vocabulary a diverse mix resulting from centuries of borrowing from other tongues. From the Celtic languages of pre-Roman Britain to Norman French; from the Vikings’ Old Scandinavian to Persian, Sanskrit, Algonquian, Cantonese and Hawaiian – amongst a host of others – we have enriched our modern language with such words as tulip, slogan, doolally, avocado, moccasin, ketchup and ukulele.

May We Borrow Your Language? explores the intriguing and unfamiliar stories behind scores of familiar words that the English language has filched from abroad; in so doing, it also sheds fascinating light on the wider history of the development of the English we speak today.

Full of etymological nuggets to intrigue and delight the reader, this is a gift book for word buffs to cherish – as cerebrally stimulating as it is more-ishly entertaining.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


If you want to engage with a novel that is truly timeless in its appeal, then look no farther than this classic. Inexplicably, this work is often found in the Children’s Fiction section. This is incongruous, as Jane Eyre is very definitely a book for grown-ups. Was there ever a more resilient heroine than Jane? The device of using the first person narrative adds a sense of intimacy and insight for the reader, as we are drawn into Jane’s world, a world in which she is completely alone. Jane has no support from others and has to survive on her own resources. From a feminist perspective, there is much to admire in Jane, she has a strong sense of herself and remains true to her own beliefs and principles, regardless of the consequences. While the narrative has a very gothic trajectory, the heroine’s approach to her challenges feels very modern. Charlotte Bronte had an astonishing ability to create a story in which what matters is, not what happens to the protagonist, but rather how she triumphs over adversity, and triumph she does.

I would urge anyone who hasn’t engaged with Jane Eyre, or who hasn’t read it in years, to immerse themselves in the world of Jane; a small quiet person, whose indomitable spirit wins out over all the obstacles life throws at her.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

5 Children’s Books to Watch Out For

Daisy and The Trouble with Chocolate by Kes Gray (9 Mar 2017, ages 5-7)
Daisy is SO excited! She’s been picked to look after the class hamsters, Pickle and Pops, over the Easter holidays – AND her mum’s taking her to Chocolate Land!!!

Trouble is, the two things probably shouldn’t mix…

The totally troublesome and laugh-out-loud funny new tale from the bestselling Daisy series.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky (9 Mar 2017, ages 8-12) 
A gloriously illustrated celebration of trailblazing women. Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds. The book also contains fascinating infographics and an illustrated scientific glossary. The extraordinary women profiled include well-known figures like the physicist and chemist Marie Curie, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists and beyond …

The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman (15 Mar 2017, ages 10-13)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets The Apothecary in this time-bending mystery from bestselling author Carol Goodman!
The day Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, four thirteen-year-olds converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where an eccentric curator is seeking four uncommonly brave souls to track down the hidden pages of the Kelmsbury Manuscript, an ancient book of Arthurian legends that lies scattered within the museum’s collection, and that holds the key to preventing a second attack on American soil. When Madge, Joe, Kiku, and Walt agree to help, they have no idea that the Kelmsbury is already working its magic on them. But they begin to develop extraordinary powers and experience the feelings of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, and Lancelot: courage, friendship, love…and betrayal. Are they playing out a legend that’s already been lived, over and over, across the ages? Or can the Metropolitans forge their own story?

My Little Cities: London by Jennifer Adams and Greg Pizzoli (11 Apr 2017, board book)
In this delightful series written by BabyLit author Jennifer Adams and illustrated by kidlit darling Greg Pizzoli, each book showcases a different city with lighthearted baby-appropriate text and ridiculously charming illustrations. Cross the pond and explore the city on the Thames: feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, marvel at the spinning lights of the London Eye, and say good night to London’s landmark skyline.

cat-up-cat-downCat Up, Cat Down by Catherine Hnatov (15 Apr 2017, board book)
Bold and playful images engage young readers as they are introduced to the concept of opposites. Big and small. Back and front. Tall and short. Cat Up Cat Down’s simple text allows children and the adults reading with them to expand on the story, building language development.

Live By Night by Dennis Lehane

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This is a prohibition-era story of Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a corrupt Irish-American police captain. Joe, a late addition to the family has taken a different path to his brothers and along with his childhood pal Dion, has moved from petty crime to more serious heists for local gangster Tom Hickey. On one such robbery of an illegal gambling den Joe meets Emma Gould, the mistress of a rival gang boss and their affair leads, indirectly, to prison time for Joe. Meanwhile Emma disappears, missing,  presumed dead. The son of a police officer is a vulnerable figure in jail and pressure is put on Thomas Coughlin to help out an Italian-American mobster who is threatening his son. Despite this Joe makes contacts while incarcerated which lead to a new life as a crime boss in Tampa on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

The book is a well-paced, period thriller covering the twenties to thirties era bootlegging and criminality in Boston and Florida with and also deals with our anti-hero’s complicated relationship with his father Thomas Coughlin. It’s the second part of a trilogy of novels about Joe Coughlin but the books read well as stand-alone stories.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #94

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Set in Tokyo, in a not-too-distant future, this novel tells the story of Shunsuke, a salaryman, and his complicated relationship with his mad poet father, Mr. Okuda, whose hobby is spying on his son. When Shunsuke falls in love with Iulana, a maelstrom of jealousy is set in motion that culminates in abduction and death. In poetic and imaginative language, Cuenca subtly interweaves reality and fiction, creating a dreamlike world whose palpable characters, including a silicone doll, leave a lasting impression. Written like a crime novel, full of odd events and reminiscent of Haruki Murakami’s work, this disturbing, kaleidoscopic story of voyeurism and perversion draws the reader in from the very first page.