Brilliant Book Titles #125

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


‘The most brilliant and fascinating book I have read in my entire life’ Dan Snow

‘Blitzed is making me rethink everything I’ve ever seen and read about WWII… terrific!’ Douglas Coupland

‘A huge contribution… remarkable’ Antony Beevor, BBC RADIO 4

‘Extremely interesting … a serious piece of scholarship, very well researched’ Ian Kershaw

The sensational German bestseller on the overwhelming role of drug-taking in the Third Reich, from Hitler to housewives.

The Nazis presented themselves as warriors against moral degeneracy. Yet, as Norman Ohler’s gripping bestseller reveals, the entire Third Reich was permeated with drugs: cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, used by everyone from factory workers to housewives, and crucial to troops’ resilience – even partly explaining German victory in 1940.

The promiscuous use of drugs at the very highest levels also impaired and confused decision-making, with Hitler and his entourage taking refuge in potentially lethal cocktails of stimulants administered by the physician Dr Morell as the war turned against Germany. While drugs cannot on their own explain the events of the Second World War or its outcome, Ohler shows, they change our understanding of it. Blitzed forms a crucial missing piece of the story.

Brilliant Book Titles #124

tell me how this ends well
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

In 2022, American Jews face an increasingly unsafe and anti-Semitic landscape at home. Against this backdrop, the Jacobson family gathers for Passover in Los Angeles. But their immediate problems are more personal than political, with the three adult children, Mo, Edith and Jacob, in various states of crisis; the result, each claims, of a lifetime of mistreatment by their father, Julian.

The siblings have begun to suspect that Julian is hastening their mother Roz’s demise, and years of resentment boil over as they debate whether to go through with the real reason for their reunion: an ill-considered plot to end their father’s iron rule forever. That is, if they can put their bickering, grudges, festering relationships and distrust of one another aside long enough to act. And God help them if their mother finds out . . .

Tell Me How This Ends Well presents a blistering vision of near-future America, turning the exploits of one very funny, very troubled family into a rare and compelling exploration of the state of America itself.


#girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

If you are in the mood for a book that will give you the self-belief that you can start a business, this is the book for you! The author, Sophia Amoruso gives an honest, behind the scenes look at how she set up her online clothing empire ‘Nasty Gal’. Sophia is not your typical entrepreneur. She didn’t create business plans and never got seed money to start her company. She literally built ‘Nasty Gal’ from her bedroom with just her laptop.

The book goes through how she set up a vintage fashion shop on eBay and eventually was able to grow this into an online store. She’s very honest about the trials and tribulations of being a business woman and the struggle when you have no prior business knowledge. But with a will to work you can overcome these obstacles.
If you have recently been bingeing on the new Netflix series ‘Girlboss’ you will already be familiar with Sophia. That series is loosely based on this book. Loosely being the operative word. The book gives a far more rounded view of Sophia. So if you have written off Sophia as an annoying millennial in the TV show, give her a chance with the book.
It’s an easy read and very approachable business book for those that don’t have a business background. It’s funny and in your face, but has a charm. If you want to light the match of entrepreneurship within, this is a good start.
This book will really appeal to those finishing up with their Leaving Cert or in college and are wondering ‘what next?’ This might just be the book that helps open their eyes to what is possible and maybe become their own Girlboss.


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

5 New Fitness Books to Watch Out For

eat sweat play
Eat Sweat Play: How Sport Can Change Our Lives (13 Jul 2017)
‘I’d go as far to say that this book was a life changer for my health and fitness.’
Estee Lalonde

Sport’s for everyone… isn’t it?

Society has led us to believe that women and sport don’t mix. But why? What happens to the young girls who dare to climb trees and cartwheel across playgrounds?

In her exploration of major taboos, from sex to the gender pay gap, Anna Kessel discovers how sport and exercise should play an integral role in every sphere of our modern lives.

Covering a fascinating range of women, from Sporty Spice to mums who box and breastfeed, Eat Sweat Play reveals how women are finally reclaiming sport, and by extension their own bodies, for themselves – and how you can too.

‘Anna Kessel’s book should inspire a whole generation of women. It ought to be on the school curriculum.’
Hadley Freeman

the no meat
The No Meat Athlete Cookbook by Matt Frazier  and Stepfanie Romine (13 Jul 2017)
A fast-growing global movement, No Meat Athlete (NMA) is inspiring everyone from weekend joggers to world-class competitors to be healthier and fitter and perform better on whole plant foods. Written by NMA founder Matt Frazier and longtime health coach, yoga teacher, and nutrition writer Stepfanie Romine, The No Meat Athlete Cookbook features 150 whole food, vegan recipes that are affordable and quick to get on the table, even on busy nights. Flere are: Breakfasts to power you up (Almond Butter-Banana Pancakes), mains that aid recovery (Beet Bourguignon), and natural sports drinks, portables, energy bites, and bars (V9, Umeboshi Electrolyte Drink, Calorie Bomb Cookies) to take you further and help you get the most from every workout Minimal gluten, soy, and sweeteners, plus oil-free options throughout (ideal for followers of the Forks Over Knives diet) Meal-planning guidelines, nutritional info, adaptable “blueprint” recipes–and more!

how not to get hit
How Not to Get Hit: The Art of Fighting Without Fighting by Nathaniel Cooke (15 Jul 2017)
The average person isn’t looking to be in a situation where fists are going to fly, but many of us have found ourselves there anyway. At that moment, it’s probably too late to do anything about it. But how do we change circumstances so those situations don’t happen? How Not to Get Hit is a book on personal safety for people who don’t want to learn to fight, but do want to learn how to avoid those situations where a fight is likely to develop. Told in a lighthearted, irreverent style, How Not to Get Hit takes you on a journey through the funny side of violence, its roots in our evolutionary past and where it fits in to modern society. Self defense isn’t a series of techniques or moves, it’s an attitude, a strategy and a life skill. This martial arts philosophy book will give you an understanding of why people want to use violence, how they will use it and using this knowledge to manage situations and create a better outcome.

yoga for backache
Yoga for Backache by Carrmine Ireene (28 Jul 2017)
Holistic solution to day to day living. Easy to follow steps of instructions for practice in the privacy of ones own home. Exercises for spinal problemsDiet, nutrition, minerals and vitamins as useful tips. Suitable for Therapists, Gym instructors, Sports enthusiasts, Physical Trainers

stretch to win
Stretch to Win by Ann and Chris Frederick (10 Aug 2017)
Are you looking for the key to optimal performance? Increased speed, power, and agility? What you need is a complete flexibility training system–one designed for today’s athlete and made up of dynamic stretches that mirror sport-specific movement. And you should also have the skills to assess exactly what your body needs at any time. That complete program is found in Stretch to Win.

In its first edition, Stretch to Win raised the bar for flexibility training. The first edition quickly became a best-selling stretching resource for consumers and professionals alike. From amateur to professional athletes, weekend warriors to Olympians, the benefits were clear: increased mobility, improved range of motion, faster recovery, and more. Now it’s time to raise the bar further.

This is Stretch to Win, Second Edition. Inside, Ann and Chris Frederick build on their system with the latest research, specific ways to assess yourself, and more stretching options. New illustrations of the body’s fascia will help you assess and identify your imbalances. Then the text will guide you to eliminate these imbalances with corrective stretch movements that quickly improve mobility.

You’ll learn the most effective techniques for your sport, your position, or your event; then you’ll put these techniques into action.

Using the new Stretch to Win fascia mobility assessment (FMA) protocol, you’ll determine range of motion deficits and identify your performance inhibitors. Then, with the stretching matrix, you’ll personalize a program developed for your needs and your goals. You can incorporate the matrix into your existing workout as well as into rest days, when stretching can aid in recovery and bring your body back in balance.

It’s all here–all the tools, all the stretches, and all the instruction to create an effective flexibility program for any sport or activity. If it’s time to increase mobility, power, speed, agility, range of motion, and overall performance, it’s time for Stretch to Win!



Off Base by Annabeth Albert


This was enjoyable. A solid 3-star romance, although for the first half or so of the book, I really wasn’t sure about it; sometimes I’d be liking it and others I just couldn’t get into it, but as the circumstances surrounding the characters ramped up, the book certainly picked up and led to a satisfying ending.

Zack Nelson is a Navy SEAL who is definetly definetly not gay (of course not, no way *koffkoff*). He’s been getting some homophobic abuse from a fellow officer, and as a result, he decides to move offbase. Pike Reynolds, avid gamer and adept at doing up houses, offers to move into the dump Zack has agreed to renovate in exchange for cheap off-base living. Never mind that Pike drives him wild, and that Zack won’t admit that he’s into guys. This surely isn’t a good idea, right? And especially since Pike has been with someone deep in the closet before, and that’s an unpleasant experience he doesn’t want a repeat of.

What follows is a decent romance where two roommates come together. Throw in a subplot about homophobic abuse from colleagues, and a heavy dose of gaming, and this was an enjoyable read. It didn’t set my world on fire initially, but by the end, I’d come to quite like both Pike and Zack, and their kitties.

This book, by the way, is a spin-off from Albert’s #gaymers series, of which Ryan and Josiah from book three, Connection Error, appear frequently (Ryan is the mutual friend and the reason they met). I hadn’t read Connection Error (note: you don’t have to have to read this), but I’m very tempted to now, especially since they included the first chapter of their story at the end of Off Base.

Overall, a decent military romance. And there’s another, At Attention, out now too (which I’m curious about as the lead in that, who’s a minor character here, was introduced but not with info so I’m not really sure what he’s like yet).

Brilliant Book Titles #123

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

Twenty-five years after the arrival of the Internet, we are drowning in data and deadlines. Humans and machines are in fully connected overdrive – and starting to become entwined as never before. Truly, it is an Age of Overload. We can never have imagined that absorbing so much information while trying to maintain a healthy balance in our personal and professional lives could feel so complex, dissatisfying and unproductive.

Something is missing. That something, Julia Hobsbawm argues in this ground-breaking book, is Social Health, a new blueprint for modern connectedness. She begins with the premise that much of what we think about healthy ways to live have not been updated any more than have most post-war modern institutions, which are themselves also struggling in the twenty-first century. In 1946, the World Health Organization defined ‘health’ as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ What we understood by ‘social’ in the middle of the last century now desperately needs an update.

In Fully Connected Julia Hobsbawm takes us on a journey often a personal one, ‘from Telex to Twitter’ to illustrate how the answer to the Age of Overload can come from devising management-based systems which are both highly practical and yet intuitive, and which draw inspiration from the huge advances the world has made in tackling other kinds of health, specifically nutrition, exercise, and mental well-being.

Drawing on the latest thinking in health and behavioural economics, social psychology, neuroscience, management and social network analysis, this book provides a cornucopia of case studies and ideas, to educate and inspire a new generation of managers, policymakers and anyone wanting to navigate through the rough seas of overload.

Brilliant Book Titles #122

there once lived a woman.jpg
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Here are attempts at human connection, both depraved and sublime, and the grinding struggle to survive against the crushing realities of the Soviet system: in Among Friends, a doting mother commits an atrocious act against her beloved son in an attempt to secure his future; The Time: Night examines the suicide of the great Russian poetess Anna Andreevna with heartbreaking clarity; while in Chocolates with Liqueur the struggle for ownership of an apartment between a nurse and a madman turns murderous. With the satirical eye of Cindy Sherman, the psychological perceptiveness of Dostoevsky, and the bleak absurdities of Beckett, Petrushevskaya blends macabre spectacle with transformative moments of grace and shows just why she is Russia’s preeminent contemporary fiction writer.

One of Russia’s best living writers … her tales inhabit a borderline between this world and the next – The New York Times

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya was born in Moscow in 1938 and is the only indisputable canonical writer currently writing in Russian today. She is the author of more than fifteen collections of prose, among them this short novel The Time: Night, shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize in 1992, and Svoi Krug, a modern classic about 1980s Soviet intelligentsia. Petrushevskaya is equally important as a playwright: since the 1980s her numerous plays have been staged by the best Russian theater companies. In 2002, Petrushevskaya received Russia’s most prestigious prize, The Triumph, for lifetime achievement. She lives in Moscow.

Wuvable Oaf by Ed Luce


This book is definitely a book right up my street. Oaf is a big softie, who was formerly a famous wrestler called Goteblud, and now helps run a home for kittens and makes scary looking dolls out of his own hair. This book is super cute, and funny. I love Oafie and his love interest Eiffel, a small angry man who is the singer and frontman of local band Ejaculoid, and their story, but my problem is that we only get so much of their story…

And the book stops, and gives us a whole load of unrelated short stories, which are probably from its zine days. Given how large the book, I really felt there should’ve been more of a main story.

I’d love to read more about Oafie and Eiffel but I’m dismayed to read that the Lambda award-winning sequel, Blood and Metal, actually goes back and tells the story of Oafie’s reign as Goteblud. I’ll read it, and I’m sure I’ll like it, but I kinda feel cheated that I’ve to wait for book three for the main story to return.

Still, there’s a lot to be said for this book. With a well-drawn cast of supporting characters (although there’s a lot of them, which actually sometimes can get a little confusing) and a beautiful art style, this book is a gorgeous object. I just wish the author would get back to the main story. But let’s not forget, that thanks to this, there’s now a comic about a Morrissey-obssesed ex-wrestler who counsels troubled kitties, I mean, how can you not want to read that?

5 New Fashion Books to Watch Out For

Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore by Terry Newman (27 July 2017)
Discover the signature sartorial and literary style of fifty men and women of letters, including Maya Angelou; Truman Capote; Colette; Bret Easton Ellis; Allen Ginsberg; Patti Smith; Karl Ove Knausgaard; and David Foster Wallace; in this unique compendium of profiles—packed with eighty black-and-white photographs, excerpts, quotes, and fast facts—that illuminates their impact on modern fashion.

Whether it’s Zadie Smith’s exotic turban, James Joyce’s wire-framed glasses, or Samuel Beckett’s Wallabees, a writer’s attire often reflects the creative and spiritual essence of his or her work. As a non-linear sensibility has come to dominate modern style, curious trendsetters have increasingly found a stimulating muse in writers—many, like Joan Didion, whose personal aesthetic is distinctly “out of fashion.” For decades, Didion has used her work, both her journalism and experimental fiction, as a mirror to reflect her innermost emotions and ideas—an originality that has inspired Millennials, resonated with a new generation of fashion designers and cultural tastemakers, and made Didion, in her eighties, the face of Celine in 2015.

Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore examines fifty revered writers—among them Samuel Beckett; Quentin Crisp; Simone de Beauvoir; T.S. Eliot; F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald; Malcolm Gladwell; Donna Tartt; John Updike; Oscar Wilde; and Tom Wolfe—whose work and way of dress bears an idiosyncratic stamp influencing culture today. Terry Newman combines illuminating anecdotes about authors and their work, archival photography, first-person quotations from each writer and current designers, little-known facts, and clothing-oriented excerpts that exemplify their original writing style.

Each entry spotlights an author and a signature wardrobe moment that expresses his or her persona, and reveals how it influences the fashion world today. Newman explores how the particular item of clothing or style has contributed to fashion’s lingua franca—delving deeper to appraise its historical trajectory and distinctive effect. Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore is an invaluable and engaging look at the writers we love—and why we love what they wear—that is sure to captivate lovers of great literature and sophisticated fashion.

A Gentleman’s Look Book for Men with a Sense of Style by Bernhard Roetzel (31 Jul 2017)
look book.jpg
You’ve often heard the proverb You don t get a second chance to make a first impression And why? Because it s true. Appearance counts! And the appearance of a gentleman is his stage. In A Gentleman s Look Book, menswear and style expert Bernhard Roetzel presents stylish combinations fit for every occasion from elegant to casual chic. For this book, the author has summoned the best dressed men from the fashion scene to share their favorite looks. What does a man wear to a business-lunch, over the weekend, or on special occasions? From the tie to the shoe, from the shirt to the tuxedo everything a man needs for a stylish appearance is shown in exquisite color photos and diverse, elegant outfits. In the business look, the gentleman appears in a classic and formal outfit, which has many advantages. Bernhard Roetzel: The classic look is timeless, independent of fashions and trends so to say. It is however timeless in the sense that you can wear classic clothing at any age. The look of the casual gentleman is well suited for day-to-day life. On the one hand, the wearer demonstrates timeless taste; on the other, he shows himself to be finely dressed, despite a certain casualness. The wardrobe for festive occasions shows the gentleman in striking, yet discreet elegance.

Tudor Fashion: Dress at Court by Eleri Lynn (22 Aug 2017)
tudor fashion.jpg
The captivating story of Tudor dress, its construction and symbolism, and the people who made and wore it The Tudor monarchs and their courtiers are some of the best-known figures in history. They continue, even today, to spark our curiosity and imagination. Their enduring popularity is no doubt partly due to the iconic portraits in which they are depicted in magnificent style, in farthingales and ruffs, furs and jewels, codpieces and cloaks, and vast expanses of velvet and silk. Far from being mere decoration, fashion was pivotal in the communication of status and power. It was used as a tool in securing and holding the tenuous Tudor throne and as a competitive weapon in the factions, intrigues and love-affairs of the court. This book presents new information about the fashions of the Tudor dynasty, offering fresh insight into their social and political milieu. Histories of Kings and Queens complement stories of unsung dressmakers, laundresses, and officials charged with maintaining and transporting the immense Tudor wardrobes from palace to palace. Evidence from rare surviving garments and textiles, original documents, fine and decorative art, and archaeological findings enhance our understanding of the Tudors and their courts. Handsomely illustrated, this sumptuous book contextualises Tudor dress within the buildings in which it was worn and fills in gaps in our knowledge of the period and its fascinating historical figures.

Saville Row: The Master Tailors of British Bespoke by James Sherwood (24 Aug 2017)
bespoke.jpgThe skilled tailors of Savile Row in Mayfair, central London, have dressed kings, movie stars, rock legends, billionaires – and even a few regular guys. A Savile Row suit remains an enduring and highly individual symbol of the finest a man can buy. From its origins close to Britain’s main royal palaces, the Row has grown from clothing aristocrats to military men; more recently it has been revivified by the renewed appreciation of personalized, handmade goods, and by a new generation of modern sartorialists seeking ‘heritage luxury’.

Told through eight chronological themes, this beautifully illustrated celebration brings together Savile Row’s highlights and low-lifes, the dramas and private tales, the suits and their accoutrements, the fabrics and the cuts, the history and future, as never before. Each chapter charts a stage of the Row’s development and its contribution to men’s fashion and culture. Throughout the book are dispersed 26 profiles of today’s master tailors, providing insight into what makes their work, relationships and clothes so special. The book is finely detailed with reference sections on the anatomy and making of the perfect suit.

This once-in-a-lifetime publication, by the archetypal modern gentleman and devoted customer of the Row, weaves a fabric rich with anecdote, personality and sartorial detail.

Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers by Michael Gross (29 Aug 2017)
“This thoroughly absorbing narrative dazzles with the most profound investigation and research. Focus is an enthralling and riveting read.” –Tim Gunn

“Smart, well-researched…engaging…canny” (New York Times Book Review), Focus is a “fast-paced–and clearly insider–look at the rarefied, sexy world of fashion photography” (Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada). New York Times bestselling author Michael Gross brings to life the wild genius, egos, passions, and antics of the men (and a few women) behind the camera, probing the lives, hang-ups, and artistic triumphs of more than a dozen of fashion photography’s greatest visionaries, including Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Bill King, Helmut Newton, Gilles Bensimon, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, and Bob and Terry Richardson.

Tracing the highs and lows of fashion photography from the late 1940s to today, Focus takes you behind the scenes to reveal the revolutionary creative processes and fraught private passions of these visionary magicians, “delving deep into the fascinating rivalries” (The Daily News) between photographers, fashion editors, and publishers like Conde Nast and Hearst. Weaving together candid interviews, never-before-told insider anecdotes and insights born of his three decades of front-row and backstage reporting on modern fashion, Focus is “simply unrivaled…a sensation….Gross is a modern-day Vasari, giving us The Lives of the Artists in no small measure” (CraveOnline).



Master of Ceremonies by Joel Grey

Joel Grey is an icon, of that there is no doubt. As the Master of Ceremonies, or Emcee, in Cabaret, he created that role with the writers that made his career, but the parallels go far deeper than just the role.

Well-written and engaging, this book charts Grey’s life from his youth, when he was Joel Katz, and performed with his father, and then was a star of the nightclub scene, which he hated – since he always wanted to be seen as a serious actor.

That, and heterosexual. These desires; to become a world-renowned actor and to beat the homosexual feelings that had “plagued” him since he started fooling around with boys at the age of ten, are the main drive of the book. Whilst he achieves the former, he never manages to achieve the latter. The book is a document of a section of gay men a few generations ago who felt the crushing desire to conform and have a wife and kids – it should be noted that Grey seemed to desperately want a family of his own, independent of this conformity – and he stamped down his homosexuality as much as possible, which is very sad. However, interestingly, Grey doesn’t veer away from his failings with his marriage to his wife, Jo. He browbeat her into marrying him, into having his child, and ultimately to give up her promising career (she was also an actor on broadway) as HE was the star, not her – he couldn’t deal with her having her own career and when they had their second child, Grey got his way and she gave up work.

There is much discussion of the Emcee and the notion that although he’s smiling and inviting and asking you to come play, he is callous and soulless underneath and the parallel between Grey and the Emcee rings out loud and clear, in the way he treated his wife. They had happy times, sure, but I never got past the sense that his wife had to subsume herself to his career, his way, and that was that. And when, years later, he confessed that he had been with men years ago, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and she divorced him. Much like his Emcee, I found Grey utterly engaging although not at all sympathetic.

That is, until the end, when he says that after his divorce, now that he’d finally dealt with all of his guilt, shame and fear about being gay, that he hoped he would meet a man that he would have a connection with the way he did with Jo, but that that never happened. He concludes that he is a better family man, than a gay man. And despite his selfishness, there was a love between him and his wife, and now that he was free to be himself, I did hope that he’d find a little happiness but that appear to be the case.

A fascinating memoir, that at times flies by years and lingers over others (the book could’ve been longer in parts, more detailed in others), that is a portrait not only of a bygone era of nightclub acts, variety shows and the “golden age” of Broadway, but of a man who excels at being someone else because he could never truly be himself.


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