Brilliant Book Titles #204

the less than epic adventures.jpg
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries catalogue here.

E.K. Weaver’s critically-acclaimed road trip romance comic is collected here in this award-winning, commercially-successful omnibus edition. Less Than Epic tells the story of Amal (just out of the closet and freshly disowned by his parents) and TJ (a mysterious and eccentric vagrant) and their journey across the continental United States.

Brilliant Book Titles #203

paul takes the form of a mortal girl
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

It’s 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flaneur with a rich dating life. But Paul’s also got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women’s Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in a series of adventures that take him from Iowa City to Boystown to Provincetown and finally to San Francisco–a journey through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure.

Andrea Lawlor’s debut novel offers a speculative history of early ’90s identity politics during the heyday of ACT UP and Queer Nation. PAUL TAKES THE FORM OF A MORTAL GIRL is a riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman whose hero/ine wends his way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and opening into an array of intimacy and connections.

“I love this book, in all its ecstasy, wit, and hilarity. I laughed out loud in recognition and appreciation of Lawlor’s spot-on portrait of an era, scene, and soundtrack, the novel’s particular sluice of pleasures, fluids, and feelings. The liberatory rush of Lawlor’s writing is as rare as it is contagious, not to mention HOT. Paul is on fire, and an antihero for the ages.”–Maggie Nelson

“Fast-paced and cheeky, full of intellectual riffs, of observations so sharp they feel like gossip, PAUL TAKES THE FORM OF A MORTAL GIRL is a touchingly sweet-hearted and deeply cool book. Andrea Lawlor has written a magic story, showing us the real magic of our world in the process. If you like your humor supersmart and your theory full of camp and irony and heart, you won’t be able to put this book down.”–Michelle Tea

“I am such a fan. Andrea Lawlor’s prose is restless, muscular and playful and uncannily able to zero in on the cultural details that make the world Paul is traveling through shimmer and pucker with truth. Stealth too. Lawlor is either a good ‘liver’ or a good liar. They know. PAUL TAKES THE FORM OF A MORTAL GIRL Lawlor takes the ancient trope of ‘the changeling’ and makes it be me, you. Paul’s such a funny book that studies how studied we are especially when we go out. Who do we seek and who or what is seeking? It’s a tight satisfying masterpiece which I am very glad to hand you if you happen to love sex, clothes, literature which now includes the apparitional blessing of a new elastic genre (which Paul initiates) that seamlessly makes both what’s out there and in here less lonely, less fixed and less fake. This book updates the present. In Andrea Lawlor’s fiction the dream walks, and I watch. Paul’s got flickering feet like Mercury.”–Eileen Myles

How to Bullet Plan: Everything You Need to Know About Journaling with Bullet Points by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

how to bullet plan

Bullet journaling is having a moment right now. You can’t go on Instagram, YouTube or Pinterest without a beautifully laid out bullet journal open on a white marble desk greeting you.

So what is a bullet journal? Well Rachel describes it as a system for writing down all the thing you want to remember in a single notebook. Everything from things you want or need to do, things you’ve already done, your thoughts and observations – basically encompassing all parts of your life.  What sets bullet journaling apart from a regular diary is that you use a handful of symbols to help categorise the information. Therefore you have a system in place to help keep track of information. In simple terms, it’s basically a to-do list, diary and planner all rolled into one.

As someone who works in a library, I obviously love being organised and having a system to follow. I always have a planner on the go, but I often wondered was I using it the most efficient  way possible.

The main reason I loved this book was that Rachel demonstrated in easy to follow photos, how to lay out your diary in many different ways , depending on your planning needs. They were all so simple but effective. If the overly intricate and complicated bullet journals on Pinterest make you anxious, you will love the examples in this book.

The book includes examples of monthly, weekly and daily spreads. As well as financial, meal-planning, travel and health & fitness spreads. There is no aspect of your life you can’t organise.

If you want to embrace bullet journalling, this is the perfect introductory book!

5 New Music Books to Watch Out For

Bluegrass Generation: A Memoir by Neil V Rosenberg (15 May 2018)
bluegrass generation
Neil V. Rosenberg met the legendary Bill Monroe at the Brown County Jamboree. Rosenberg’s subsequent experiences in Bean Blossom put his feet on the intertwined musical and scholarly paths that made him a preeminent scholar of bluegrass music. Rosenberg’s memoir shines a light on the changing bluegrass scene of the early 1960s. Already a fan and aspiring musician, his appetite for banjo music quickly put him on the Jamboree stage. Rosenberg eventually played with Monroe and spent four months managing the Jamboree. Those heights gave him an eyewitness view of nothing less than bluegrass’s emergence from the shadow of country music into its own distinct art form. As the likes of Bill Keith and Del McCoury played, Rosenberg watched Monroe begin to share a personal link to the music that tied audiences to its history and his life–and helped turn him into bluegrass’s foundational figure. An intimate look at a transformative time, Bluegrass Generation tells the inside story of how an American musical tradition came to be.

Unlimited Replays: Video Games and Classical Music by William Gibbons (1 Jun 2018)
unlimited replays
Classical music is everywhere in video games. Works by composers like Bach and Mozart fill the soundtracks of games ranging from arcade classics, to indie titles, to major franchises like BioShock, Civilization, and Fallout. Children can learn about classical works and their histories from interactive iPad games. World-renowned classical orchestras frequently perform concerts of game music to sold-out audiences. But what do such combinations of art and entertainment reveal about the cultural value we place on these media? Can classical music ever be video game music, and can game music ever be classical? Delving into the shifting and often contradictory cultural definitions that emerge when classical music meets video games, Replay Value offers a new perspective on the possibilities and challenges of trying to distinguish between art and pop culture in contemporary society.

I Got Something to Say: Gender, Race, and Social Consciousness in Rap Music (4 Jul 2018)
i got something to say.jpg
What do millennial rappers in the United States say in their music? This timely and compelling book answers this question by decoding the lyrics of over 700 songs from contemporary rap artists. Using innovative research techniques, Matthew Oware reveals how emcees perpetuate and challenge gendered and racialized constructions of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality. Male and female artists litter their rhymes with misogynistic and violent imagery. However, men also express a full range of emotions, from arrogance to vulnerability, conveying a more complex manhood than previously acknowledged. Women emphatically state their desires while embracing a more feminist approach. Even LGBTQ artists stake their claim and express their sexuality without fear. Finally, in the age of Black Lives Matter and the presidency of Donald J. Trump, emcees forcefully politicize their music. Although complicated and contradictory in many ways, rap remains a powerful medium for social commentary.

Equipment for Living: On Poetry and Pop Music by Michael Robbins (24 Jul 2018)
equipment for living.jpg
“Funny and smart” (The New Yorker) criticism of why we turn to art–specifically to poetry and popular music–and how it serves as an essential tool to understanding life.

How can art help us make sense–or nonsense–of the world? If wrong life cannot be lived rightly, as Theodor Adorno had it, what weapons and strategies for living wrongly can art provide? With the same intelligence that animates his poetry, Michael Robbins addresses this weighty question while contemplating the idea of how strange it is that we need art at all. Ranging from Prince to Def Leppard, Lucille Clifton to Frederick Seidel, Robbins’s mastery of poetry and popular music shines in Equipment for Living. He has a singular ability to illustrate points with seemingly disparate examples (Friedrich Kittler and Taylor Swift, to W.B. Yeats and Anna Kendrick’s “Cups”). Robbins weaves a discussion on poet Juliana Spahr with the different subsets of Scandinavian black metal music, illuminating subjects in ways that few scholars can achieve.

As Dwight Garner said in The New York Times about Robbins: “This man can write.” Equipment for Living is a “freakishly original” (Elle) look at how works of art, specifically poetry and popular music, can help us understand our own lives.

Superfans – Music’s Most Dedicated: From the Beatlemania to the Beyhive by Tobias Anthony (1 Aug 2018)
Musicians and bands have been adored since the first notes were recorded, but it was Beatlemania in the ’60s that heralded the birth of the Super Fan – a breed of music obsessive that literally worshipped their idols.

Superfans looks at the crazed followers and fan groups that surround the old–school as well as modern music scene in a witty, fun and tongue–in–cheek way. From Beyoncé’s Beyhive, the Britney Army, Gaga’s Little Monsters, Nicki Minaj’s Barbz to Justin Beiber’s Beliebers – author Tobias Anthony goes deep into these fan groups to see how they tick

The Choice by Philly McMahon

the choice.jpg

When Dublin footballer Philly McMahon lost his older brother John in 2012, it brought to an end a painful decade, during which John had slipped from the family circle into a deteriorating cycle of addiction. The effects were personally devastating, but amidst the loss there was a glimmer of hope, of opportunity, and what ultimately became the starting point for a journey of remarkable self-discovery.

In this inspirational memoir, McMahon traces his and John’s paths… from his earliest recollections of their childhood through the maelstrom of Ballymun’s heroin epidemic. He considers the relationships, tensions, arguments and chance occurrences that pushed them in very different directions: Philly to university, the boardroom and the hallowed turf of Croke Park; John to exile in London, heartbreak and, ultimately, tragedy.

Raw, vivid and intensely moving, The Choice is many things – an epic story of triumph in the face of adversity and loss, a family saga, a tribute to the redemptive power of sport – but above all it’s a stirring meditation on the roles compassion and resilience can play in shaping our lives, and those around us, for the better.

This is a great read simply from a human level. It is also a great read for anyone who loves sport-and particularly the Dublin Football Team. Even as a Meath fan I enjoyed it! It would be great for Teenagers to illustrate how choices can make or break you.


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

Brilliant Book Titles #202

i killed scheherezade.jpg
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Joumana Haddad is angry about the way Arab women are portrayed in the West. In I Killed Scheherazade she challenges prevalent notions of identity and womanhood in the Middle East and speaks of her own intellectual development and the liberating impact of literature on her life. Fiery and candid, this is a provocative exploration of what it means to be an Arab woman today.

Brilliant Book Titles #201

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

In the publishing tradition of Driven to Distraction or The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing, this prescriptive book by a developmental psychologist and sufferer of Sensory Defensive Disorder (SD) sheds light on a little known but common affliction in which sufferers react to harmless stimuli as irritating, distracting or dangerous.

We all know what it feels like to be irritated by loud music, accosted by lights that are too bright, or overwhelmed by a world that moves too quickly. But millions of people suffer from Sensory Defensive Disorder (SD), a common affliction in which people react to harmless stimuli not just as a distracting hindrance, but a potentially dangerous threat.Sharon Heller, Ph.D. is not only a trained psychologist, she is sensory defensive herself. Bringing both personal and professional perspectives, Dr. Heller is the ideal person to tell the world about this problem that will only increase as technology and processed environments take over our lives. In addition to heightening public awareness of this prevalent issue, Dr. Heller provides tools and therapies for alleviating and, in some cases, even eliminating defensiveness altogether.

Until now, the treatment for sensory defensiveness has been successfully implemented in Learning Disabled children in whom defensiveness tends to be extreme. However, the disorder has generally been unidentified in adults who think they are either overstimulated, stressed, weird, or crazy. These sensory defensive sufferers live out their lives stressed and unhappy, never knowing why or what they can do about it. Now, with Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight, they have a compassionate spokesperson and a solution–oriented book of advice.

The Art of Deception by A.J. Cross

art of deception

The New Year brings a gruesome new discovery for forensic psychologist Dr Kate Hanson and Birmingham’s Unsolved Crimes Unit. A mummified body is found beneath the floorboards of a deserted lake house in Woodgate Country Park. The dead man was art student Nathan Troy, who disappeared 20 years ago, but evidence at the scene suggests the killer has been keeping an eye on his on his long-dead victim.

I found this British whodunit had a well-developed plot, with enough information for the reader to come to the correct conclusion to the mystery, but not so much as to have it be a dead giveaway.

Definitely worth a read-especially during the recent snowy weather!


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

Read This If You Want To Be Instagram Famous

read this if you want to be instagram famous

If you dream of becoming an Instagram Influencer, this book will be the perfect read for you.

This book comprises of tips and advice from 50 successful Instagrammers. It content focuses on more general and inspirational advice, rather than on practical Instagram functions. However that is understandable as a platform such as Instagram is constantly changing and evolving.

The aspect of the book that I found most useful was the mini articles between the 50 case studies of Instagrammers that gave actionable advice. These articles included how to make money from Instagram, how to become a suggested user and how to use hashtags effectively.

The book is full of gorgeous photography and is a joy to flick through at any time. I found it the perfect book to keep on my bedside locker and flick through before going to bed.

If you love Instagram, or are an aspiring blogger or influencer, I definitely recommend giving this a read.