Brilliant Book Titles #99

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

‘He’s 100% political herpes. Back in six months whatever you do. Or three days, like last time.’ Camilla Long on Nigel Farage
‘You’re as ugly as a salad.’ Bulgarian insult
‘I’m going to beat him so bad he’ll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.’ Muhammed Ali

There’s no pleasure like a perfectly-turned put-down (when it’s directed at somebody else, of course) but Matthew Parris’s Scorn is sharply different from the standard collections. Here are the funniest, sharpest, rudest and most devastating insults in history, from ancient Roman graffiti to the battlefields of Twitter.

Drawing on bile from such masters as Dorothy Parker, Elizabeth I, Donald Trump, Groucho Marx, Princess Anne, Winston Churchill, Nigel Farage, Mae West and Alastair Campbell – which form an exchange between voices down the ages – Scorn shows that abuse can be an art form. This collection includes extended literary invective as well as short verbal shin-kicks.

Encompassing literature, art, politics, showbiz, marriage, gender, nationality and religion, Matthew Parris’s sublime collection is the perfect companion for the festive season, whether you’re searching for the perfect elegant riposte, the rudest polite letter ever written, or a brutal verbal sledgehammer.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

First things first – this book is beautiful. Do not, I repeat, do not get the e-book. This book is gorgeously designed to within an inch of its life and is a stunning art object in its own right, and something you need to hold in your hands.


Like most people over this side of the pond, I haven’t seen Hamilton on stage (although I may have seen a bootleg, but I wouldn’t publicly admit that, of course) but I have listened to the Cast Recording to the point that I could, if pushed, rap a lot of it. I’m in a cabaret troupe, and a couple of cast members are obsessed with the show so that piqued my interest, and I fell in love with the show and its music hard.

Hamilton, for those who haven’t heard of it, is a musical about Alexander Hamilton, former treasury secretary and contemporary of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson. I won’t spoil the story (although, it’s a few hundred years old, so could I even really spoil it) but the musical went from just another musical to a bona fide cultural phenomenon.


This book contains the entire libretto of the musical (which is sung-through) annotated with footnotes by its author Lin-Manuel Miranda which offer some very interesting insights about the creation of, and inspiration for, some of the songs. Couple with these are essays on the musical from inception to opening night, featuring plenty of behind the scenes info about the cast and crew. Also, I must praise the book for its stunning photography, which coupled with the aforementioned design, make this an essential for any Hamilton fan, and considering the money its raked in on and off Broadway, as well as being one of the bestselling cast recordings ever, there are plenty out there.



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

5 New Thrillers to Watch Out For

Earthly Remains by Donna Leon (6 Apr 2017)
During the interrogation of an entitled, arrogant man suspected of giving drugs to a young girl who then died, Commissario Guido Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the aftermath, he begins to doubt his career choices and realises that he needs a break from the stifling problems of his work.

Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti is shipped off by his wife, Paola, to a villa owned by a wealthy relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the Venetian laguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny’s Natural History.

The recuperative stay goes according to plan and Brunetti is finally able to relax, until Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house, goes missing following a sudden storm. Nobody can find him – not his daughter, not his friends, and not the woman he’d been secretly visiting. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his holiday and discover what happened to the man who had recently become his friend.

In Earthly Remains, Donna Leon shows Venice through an insider’s eyes. From family meals and vaporetti rides to the never-ending influx of tourists and suffocating political corruption, the details and rhythms of everyday Venetian life are at the core of this thrilling novel, and of the terrible crime at its heart.

A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly (6 April 2017)
It is deep winter. The darkness is unending.

The private detective named Jaycob Eklund has vanished, and Charlie Parker is dispatched to track him down. Parker’s employer, Edgar Ross, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has his own reasons for wanting Eklund found.

Eklund is no ordinary investigator. He is obsessively tracking a series of homicides and disappearances, each linked to reports of hauntings. Now Parker will be drawn into Eklund’s world, a realm in which the monstrous Mother rules a crumbling criminal empire, in which men strike bargains with angels, and in which the innocent and guilty alike are pawns in a game of ghosts . . .

The Burial Hour by Jeffery Deaver (11 April 2017)
New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver returns to forensic detective Lincoln Rhyme in his most harrowing case yet.

A businessman snatched from an Upper East Side street in broad daylight. A miniature hangman’s noose left at the scene. A nine-year-old girl, the only witness to the crime. With a crime scene this puzzling, forensic expertise of the highest order is absolutely essential. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are called in to investigate.
Soon the case takes a stranger turn: a recording surfaces of the victim being slowly hanged, his desperate gasps the backdrop to an eerie piece of music. The video is marked as the work of The Composer…
Despite their best efforts, the suspect gets away. So when a similar kidnapping occurs on a dusty road outside Naples, Italy, Rhyme and Sachs don’t hesitate to rejoin the hunt.
But the search is now a complex case of international cooperation–and not all those involved may be who they seem. Sachs and Rhyme find themselves playing a dangerous game, with lives all across the globe hanging in the balance.

one-perfect-lieOne Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline (11 April 2017)
A handsome stranger moves to the small Pennsylvania town of Central Valley, and his name is Chris Brennan. He s applying for a job as a teacher and varsity baseball coach at the local high school, and he looks perfect, on paper. But his name is an alias, his resume is false, and everything about him is a lie. And he has a secret plan – for which he needs a pawn on the baseball team.

Susan Sematov loves her younger son Raz, the quirky and free-spirited pitcher of the team. But Raz s adored father died only a few months ago, and the family is grief-stricken. Secretly, Raz is looking to fill the Daddy-shaped hole in his heart.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who s dedicated to her only son Justin, the quiet rookie on the team. But Justin s shy and reserved nature renders him vulnerable to attention, including that of a new father-figure.

Mindy Kostis is the wife of a busy surgeon and the queen bee of the baseball boosters, where her super-popular son Evan is the star catcher. But she doesn t realize that Evan s sense of entitlement is becoming a full-blown case of affluenza, and after he gets his new BMW, it s impossible to know where he s going or whom he s spending time with.

The lives of these families revolve around the baseball team and Chris Brennan. What does he really want? How far will he go to get it? Who among them will survive the lethal jeopardy threatening them, from the shadows?

Enthralling and suspenseful, One Perfect Lie is an emotional thriller and a suburban crime story that will keep readers riveted to the shocking end, with killer twists and characters you won t soon forget.

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo (20 April 2017)


A woman is found murdered after an internet date. The marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer.


Under pressure from the media to find the murderer, the force know there’s only one man for the job. But Harry Hole is reluctant to return to the place that almost took everything from him. Until he starts to suspect a connection between this killing and his one failed case.


When another victim is found, Harry realises he will need to put everything on the line if he’s to finally catch the one who got away.

‘An expertly plotted, compelling and gripping white-knuckle ride… Nesbo deserves to be crowned the king of all crime thriller writers’ Sunday Express on THE SON

‘Nesbo deploys all the key ingredients of a cracking good thriller with expertise and verve. The ticking clock, the tension expertly ratcheted ever upwards, the changing scenery, the constantly shifting goalposts and the effortless, triumphant outpacing of the reader’s ability to guess what’s going to happen will keep you gripped to the last page’ Guardian on THE LEOPARD

‘The undisputed king of Scandinavian crime fiction’ The Times

‘Scandinavian crime thrillers don’t come much darker or more tense than the best-selling Harry Hole series, and this tenth outing for the Norwegian detective is the best yet’ Sunday Mirror on POLICE

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

esssex serpent.png

From the cover which incorporated William Morris Fabric Design on, I was Enthralled  by this book. It could have been written by Henry James or Bram Stoker – it even had a Dickensian feel to it, set as it was in late Victorian times, when everything was changing socially and scientifically.

It had everything passion not romance, love which is not always straight forward,   adventure with an occult undertone. The scenes of teeming London and idyllic Essex on the Blackwater Estuary were so beautifully evoked that I want to go there. Reading about Colchester even reminded me of my childhood favourite by John Masefield, The Box of Delights. I always feel its an added bonus if a book has tidbits of interesting trivia about everyday words  and objects which make you smile and say” fancy that” and this book has it in spades. Recommended.


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

Brilliant Book Titles #98

It normally makes me hungry…

new-poets-coverYou can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

The Future Always Makes Me So Thirsty bucks the dominant publication trend of a long look back by focusing on the most recent of timeframes, in the belief that what is happening here, just now, is so special that it deserves a spotlight of its own. Sinéad Morrissey and Stephen Connolly

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.

uncomfortably happy.jpg
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.