Brilliant Book Titles #107

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

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but only if we skip it.

Since Victorian times, we have been told to breakfast like kings and dine like paupers. In the wake of his own type 2 diabetes diagnosis, Professor Terence Kealey was given the same advice. He soon noticed that his glucose levels were unusually high after eating first thing in the morning. But if he continued to fast until lunchtime they fell to a normal level. Professor Kealey began to question how much evidence there was to support the advice he’d been given, and whether there might be an advantage for some to not eating breakfast after all.

Breakfast is a Dangerous Meal asks:

• What is the reliable scientific and medical evidence for eating breakfast?

• Why do people suppose that eating breakfast reduces the total amount of food they consume over the day, when the opposite is true?

• Who should consider intermittent fasting by removing breakfast from their daily routine?

• From weight loss to reduced blood pressure, what are the potential benefits of missing breakfast?

The Daughter by Pavlos Matesis


The Daughter (or The Dog’s Mother) is a novel set in Greece during the German Occupation years and later on during Greece’s turbulent post-war period. The story is told through the eyes of Raraou, “the great star of theatrical revue” as she features herself, and follows her from her childhood years in a war-torn country, through her early adulthood into her old age in post-war Athens. Pavlos Matesis brings his dark humor into play in an exquisite sketch of his characters in their everyday struggles for survival; he carries the readers through the tough predicaments of his anti-heroines, little Raraou and her mother Asimina, who is sleeping with an Italian soldier to feed her children in a place ravaged by hunger and fear. One of the most critical scenes from the novel, one to be imprinted in a reader’s memory, is set in the fictitious ‘’Rampartville’’ during the Liberation; Raraou witnesses an ugly carnival: crowds of villagers previously shattered by the atrocities of war committed by the Nazis, now themselves inflicting a punishment on her mother, amongst other women, with an almost dionysiac frenzy.  Raraou starts to bark at the crowd…

If Raraou has eventually become a renowned actress as she purports to be during her post-war years in the second part of the novel, we will never know for certain. Raraou’s frivolous, often childishly cunning and apparently simplistic sketch of a character in search of a chimera, becomes a reflection of a country unable to heal its deep wounds inflicted by consecutive wars: World War II, occupation resistance and Civil War – still numb by grief and unable to re-invent itself.

Pavlos Matesis is a prominent Greek novelist and playwright who has courageously deconstructed national stereotypes and taboos through his refined as much as unsettling use of caricature, parody, and the absurd, in order to shed light upon the paradoxes and intricacies of human nature. Subtle nuances of dark comedy are inevitably lost in the translated version, but nevertheless The Daughter still manages to communicate its profound secular humanism, as intended by its author.


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

5 New Sports Books to Watch Out For

Giro d’Italia: The Story of the World’s Most Beautiful Bike Race
13 Apr 2017)
Born of tumult in 1909, the Giro d’Italia helped unite a nation.

Since then it has reflected it too; the race’s capricious and unpredictable nature matching the passions and extremes of Italy itself.

A desperately hard race through a beautiful country, the Giro has bred characters and stories that dramatise the shifting culture and society of its home: Alfonsina Strada, who cropped her hair and raced against the men in 1924. Ottavio Bottecchia, expected to challenge for the winner’s Maglia Rosa in 1928, until killed on a training ride, probably by Mussolini’s Black Shirts. Fausto Coppi, the metropolitan playboy with amphetamines in his veins, guided by a mystic blind masseur; and his arch rival Gino Bartali; humble, pious and countrified (and brave: recently it emerged he smuggled papers for persecuted Jewish Italians). The Giro’s most tragic hero – Marco Pantani, born to climb but fated to lose.

Halted only by World Wars, the Giro has been contested since 1909. The 2017 edition will be its one hundredth. This book celebrates it in all its kaleidoscopic glory.

football's secret trade
Football’s Secret Trade: How the Player Transfer Market Was Infiltrated (14 Apr 2017)
A no–holds–barred exposé on the financial transactions of the world′s favourite sport.

The transfer fees clubs pay to sign top players now top 4 billion a year but much of the money has been flowing out of the game. A small group of wealthy investors including Russian oligarchs, English racehorse owners and a former billionaire gold miner have seized the opportunity to enter this booming market.

Some have moved in on the territory of banks and lent money to clubs in exchange for a share in fees generated by Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and dozens more of today′s stars. Others have acquired obscure teams to get a piece of the pie.

Even as the global financial crisis sent fortunes tumbling this select group found a profitable place to park their money. The size of the transfer market has continued to rise – it increased seven–fold in value the last two decades, more than the FTSE share index.

Between them, these wealthy investors have amassed hundreds of millions of euros in profits. At the same time, they have managed to stay out of the spotlight the world s most popular sport brings.

Football s Secret Trade follows the money along a trail very few know about, from nondescript offices in the U.K. and ramshackle stadiums of South American clubs you have probably never heard of to offshore bank accounts in the Caribbean. Warning you won t see a major transfer deal in the same light again. 

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Road Racer: It’s in My Blood (
20 Apr 2017)
Michael Dunlop is quite simply the greatest road racer on the planet. Brother of William, also an accomplished rider, son of the late Robert and nephew of the late great Joey Dunlop, Michael can fairly claim that racing is in his blood. Now for the first time he talks in depth about his family story, how he got involved in the family business and how he manages to keep getting back on his bike despite all he knows of the deadly risks he encounters every time he crosses the start line.

The death of his uncle during a competition in Estonia in 2000 was followed just eight years later by the death of his father at the North West 200. But despite these tragic losses Michael was undeterred and, two days after his father’s death, he returned to the North West, and won. The next year Michael won his first TT, joining both his father and uncle in the record books.

Now with thirteen TT wins to his name Michael is a phenomenal competitor, and in this sensational autobiography he reveals the highs and lows of racing, what it was like growing up part of a motorcycle dynasty and how that made him the incredible racing driver he is today.

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Following On: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession and Terrible Cricket by Emma John (20 Apr 2017)
Its one thing to be 14 years old and a loser. Its one thing to be the class swot, and hopelessly infatuated with someone who doesnt know you exist. But what kind of teenager is besotted with an entire sports team when the players are even bigger losers than she is? In 1993, while everyone else was learning Oasis lyrics and crushing on Kate Moss or Keanu, Emma John was obsessing over the England cricket team. She spent her free time making posters of the players she adored. She spent her pocket money on Panini stickers of them, and followed their progress with a single-mindedness that bordered on the psychopathic. The primary object of her affection: Michael Atherton, a boyishly handsome captain who promised to lead his young troops to glory. But what followed was one of the worst sporting streaks of all time a decade of frustration, dismay and comically bungling performances that made the England cricket team a byword for British failure. Nearly a quarter of a century on, Emma John wants to know why she spent her teenage years defending such a bunch of no-hopers. She seeks out her childhood heroes with two questions: why did they never win? And why on earth did she love them so much?

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For the Love of Running: A Companion (11 May 2017)
Do you know…

  • Who holds the world record for the fastest marathon run in flip flops, or dressed as a beer can?
  • The stories behind the running legends known as ‘Grandma’ and ‘The Buckeye Bullet’?
  • Why a race in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is known as the Trail of Tears?

Running is the simplest, the most natural, the most wildly liberating and gloriously exhilarating of sports. All you need is a pair of trainers – and not even that, if you’re one of those barefoot-runner types – and you’re set. But the strength, determination and stamina required to get to the top of your game is something to be admired and aspired to. Collected here are all the most fascinating insights into the world of running – from its illustrious history to tales of modern-day greats – that you could ever need to inspire your next run. This miscellany is perfect for anyone who knows the incomparable joy of hitting the road, whether you’re on your first 5K or your latest ultramarathon!



Maud’s Line by Margaret Verble

This is a debut by the author who is  a member of the Cherokee Tribe, a small number who can trace their origins to survivors of the famous or infamous Trail of Tears. It is the poignant and sometimes raw story of a young native American girl struggling with life in the Arkansas Bottoms which were ceded to “Indians” instead of reservations . These lands provided a very meagre hand-to-mouth day-to-day struggle to subsist and while many of them realised land was “gold” others allowed themselves to be cheated out of their holdings and sold to oil companies .The book is bleak  and it shows the decline of the Native lore and language because of the encroachments of civilization . Ironically it was the promise of this affluence not the austerity of  the indian wars which marked the decline of the native American culture. Maud is neither one thing or another, she is an enigma, she can read she likes to read and yearns for more, but everything has a price.
I found this a compelling read so simply written,very like Winters Bone by Daniel Woodrell.


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

Brilliant Book Titles #106

Hearing-Voices-final-Web.jpgYou can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

‘Hearing Voices: The History of Psychiatry in Ireland’ is a monumental work by one of Ireland’s leading psychiatrists, encompassing every psychiatric development from the Middle Ages to the present day, and examining the far-reaching social and political effects of Ireland’s troubled relationship with mental illness. From the ‘Glen of Lunatics’, said to cure the mentally ill, to the overcrowded asylums of later centuries with more beds for the mentally ill than any other country in the world Ireland has a complex, unsettled history in the practice of psychiatry. Kelly’s definitive work examines Ireland’s unique relationship with conceptions of mental ill health throughout the centuries, delving into each medical breakthrough and every misuse of authority both political and domestic for those deemed to be mentally ill. Through fascinating archival records, Kelly writes a crisp and accessible history, evaluating everything from individual case histories to the seismic effects of the First World War, and exploring the attitudes that guided treatments, spanning Brehon Law to the emerging emphasis on human rights. ‘Hearing Voices’ is a marvel that affords incredible insight into Ireland’s social and medical history while providing powerful observations on our current treatment of mental ill health in Ireland.

Brilliant Book Titles #105

Class is a Doctor Who spinoff, with much older teenagers (so the clickbait title is perfect!)

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

‘We want your stunts, your dares, your whatevs. There is only one rule. There is no such thing as oversharing.’

At Coal Hill School, things have started to get public. Kids have become obsessed with a website that demands you perform risky stunts, or tell it your most painful secrets. And Seraphin, everyone’s favourite vlogger, wants you to get involved. All in the name of charity.

At first people just get hurt. Then their lives are ruined. Finally, they disappear.

As April’s fragile group of friends starts to fracture, she decides she’s going to uncover the truth behind this site herself. Whatever it takes, whoever she hurts, April’s going to win. But then, to her horror, she wakes up and finds her whole world’s changed.

What she does next will astound you.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Toast on Toast: Cautionary Tales and Candid Advice by Steven Toast

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Steven Toast is the very funny creation of actor Matt Berry and Arthur Matthews (co-creator of Father Ted). You may recognise him from the comedy show, Toast of London, which chronicles his exploits. I’ve watched an episode or two of this, and found it funny, but haven’t watched it fully.

As such, when this was on sale on Audible, I bought this on a whim, and I was very glad I did. It’s narrated by Matt Berry, and I couldn’t imagine reading this book any other way than having Toast narrate his journey through acting – replete with Toast Tips (!) – that is full of spilling the beans on other actors and settling scores, in his own very funny, inimitable way.

It’s not too long either, which suits the format and the book also, as I can’t imagine Toast narrating a 10 hour audiobook! Even if you haven’t watched the show, it’s worth getting for a good laugh. The character is so wonderfully arrogant and overly confident in his acting ability that it cheered up a few of my morning commutes no end.


You can reserve the audiobook of Toast on Toast here and the book version here.

5 New Cookbooks to Watch Out For

Monster Shakes by Vicki Valsamis (4 Apr 2017)
Is it a dessert, is it a drink? No, it’s a freakin’ Monster Shake! Here you’ll find 50 over-the-top and out-of-this-world milkshake recipes (including a whole bunch of dairy-free options) that will wow, shock, likely give you diabetes and make you the most popular Instagrammer among your friends. These over-indulgent dessert sensations are not for the faint-hearted. Filled with delicious sugary goodness, there are no rules and no limits to what can be added: cupcakes, muffins, donuts, pretzels are all fair-game, not to mention sauces such as dulce de leche, salted caramel, or rich chocolate glazes, all garnished with more of the above and a delicately placed straw that really serves no use other than to remind you of the fact that this is, actually, a humble milkshake in disguise. Perfect for those who love indulging in the sweet stuff, so grab your mason jar, fill it until overflowing, dig in and die from happiness.

Picnic in Paris: Chic Food for On-The-Go by Suzy Ashford (11 Apr 2017)
Picnic in Paris reimagines outdoor lunching as a chic activity that’s worth putting in a little more effort into. Rather than take along a boring sandwich and a flask of coffee to your next picnic, why not a bacon and leek quiche, a beautiful potato and pork sausage galette or cherry tomato tartlets? Classic French recipes can be perfectly transportable and are not overly complex or require particularly hard-to-find ingredients or an advanced skillset. The recipes in the book are designed for the home-cook. Picnic in Paris’s 50 perfectly transportable recipes include drinks, nibbles, more substantial fare, zesty salads and delicate sweet treats. Start the picnic with a glass of Champagne with fresh white peach syrup, nibble on caramelised onion tartlets, a slice of camembert tart and a witlof salad. And finish with a selection of delectable treats including fresh raspberry tartlets and white chocolate macarons. Be transported to Paris on your next outdoor feast!

Mighty Salads (11 Apr 2017)
A collection of 60 recipes for turning ordinary salads into one-dish worthy meals.

Does anybody need a recipe to make a salad? Of course not. But if you want your salad to hold strong in your lunch bag or carry the day as a one-bowl dinner, dressing on lettuce isn t going to cut it.

Make way for Mighty Salads, in which the editors of Food52 present sixty salads hefty with vegetables, meats, grains, beans, fish, seafood, pasta, and bread. Think shrimp and radicchio tossed in a bacon vinaigrette, a make-ahead jumble of white beans with charred lemon and fennel, slow-roasted duck and apples scattered across spicy greens. It s comforting food made captivating by simply charring one ingredient or marinating another shaving some, or roasting a bunch.

But because we don t always follow recipes, there are also loose formulas for confident off-roading, as well as back-pocket tips and genius tricks for improving any old salad. Because once you know how to fix too-salty dressing, wash greens once and for all, keep an avocado from browning, and even sprout your own grains, the humble salad starts looking a lot more interesting and a whole lot more like dinner.

The National Trust Book of Scones by Sarah Clelland (13 Apr 2017)
Sarah Clelland brings you 50 scone recipes from the National Trust. History is best enjoyed with a scone, as everyone who’s visited a National Trust house knows. This book brings you the best of both. Scone obsessive Sarah Clelland has gathered 50 – yes 50 – scone recipes from National Trust experts around the country. And she’s written a quirky guide to 50 National Trust places to delight and entertain you while you bake or eat those blissful treats. Eccentric owners, strange treasures, obscure facts – it’s all here. Whip up a Triple Chocolate scone while you read about the mechanical elephants at Waddesdon Manor. Or savour an Apple & Cinnamon scone while you absorb the dramatic love life of Henry Cecil of Hanbury Hall. Marvel at a Ightham Mote’s Grade 1 listed dog kennel while you savour a Cheese, Spring Onion and Bacon scone. 50 of the best scones in history. And 50 of the best places to read about. You’ll never need to leave the kitchen again.

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Simple Green Suppers: A Fresh Strategy for One-Dish Vegetarian Meals by Susie Middleton (20 Apr 2017) 
The ultimate game plan for complete one-dish vegetarian suppers for anyone aspiring to eat a more plant-based diet.
Discover the pro-veggie, pro-flavor way to prepare fresh, healthy, high-quality plant-based dinners. In Simple Green Suppers, Susie Middleton demonstrates how to prepare seasonal vegetables in satisfying, filling suppers by pairing them with staple ingredients: noodles, grains, beans, greens, toast, tortillas, eggs, and broth. How you cook your veggies and how you combine them with other satisfying whole foods is the secret to delicious results. With 125 recipes for flavorful and veggie-forward dishes, tips on keeping a flexible and well-stocked pantry, and make-ahead and streamlining strategies, Simple Green Suppers is an essential resource that will make cooking delicious, easy vegetarian meals possible every night


The Faithful Couple by A. D. Miller

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Two friends. One secret. No escape.

This novel tells the story of Neil and Adam, two young men on the cusp of adulthood, who meet one golden summer in California. Despite coming from vastly different backgrounds-they soon become the best of friends and travel around the States together.

But on a camping trip they lead each other into wrongdoing – which will impact on them later in life…….

Their friendship lasts through love affairs, marriage, fatherhood…..wild successes and unforeseen failures….but the secret from their holiday still looms in the background.

Then the truth of that long-ago night emerges…… What happens when the friendship you can’t live without was always based on a lie?

Guilt, regret and repression haunt the novel. The story is crafted with precision.

There may be no murder in this novel, but nevertheless it oozes with tension.

This frenemy thriller is a knockout-you will find it hard to put it down……. Recommended!


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

Brilliant Book Titles #104

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

This landmark work contains a remarkable selection of 560 of the thousands of songs and poems created during, and reflecting upon, the most extraordinary decade of Ireland’s history. This opened with the Dublin Lockout of 1913 and ended with the post-independence civil war, embracing World War I, the Rising of 1916, and the Anglo-Irish war. The Indignant Muse also includes 177 musical airs and 136 illustrations.

‘Terry Moylan’s compilation surpasses in scale, variety and historical interest anything that’s been attempted to date … the glory of the collection is the large number of items published here for the first time … a herculean effort by a lifetime collector of songs with an encyclopaedic knowledge of his material.’
— from the Foreword by Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh

“What is of interest in the material presented here is simply that it is a response in verse to the events of that time. No viewpoints are favoured other that the viewpoints of song-maker and poet. Poems and songs condense experience and afford the reader an opportunity of sharing another’s perceptions in a more or less pleasing way. Delight in verse can be – and often is – combined with an interest in history, particularly the history of one’s own spot on earth.”
– from the Introduction by Terry Moylan