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Recommended Reads - Non Fiction

Fat Chance My Life in Ups, Downs and Crisp Sandwiches by Louise McSharry   Fat Chance My Life in Ups, Downs and Crisp Sandwiches by Louise McSharry
Published by Penguin Ireland in 2016

2FM DJ and cancer survivor Louise McSharry writes about everything from surviving a messed up childhood, to crashing out of education and still making it, to figuring out sex, weight, feminism, make-up, friendship, workplace politics and a whole lot more. This book is an honest read that provides the reader with a multitude of emotions throughout the chapters.

"McSharry is funny and open and even though it is in the adult section, it could be a recommended read for TY students. I will certainly be recommending it to readers here in Kilmihil library". - a Kilmihil Library staff member

     
Educated by Tara Westover   Educated by Tara Westover
Published by Hutchinson in 2018

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen she decided to educate herself.

A riveting account of growing up in a world where violence is part of everyday life and the emotional toll it takes on a child. A testament to the incredible, potent power of education to haul oneself out of even the most difficult of circumstances.

"A brilliant memoir". - a Sixmilebridge Library member

     
Mary Berry Fast Cakes  

Mary Berry Fast Cakes
Published by Headline in 2018

Mary Berry’s latest publication is a collection of recipes for cakes, sweet breads and biscuits that can be made quickly and easily with the minimum of fuss and trouble. She says that there is no need to bother with fancy tins or piping bags to produce an informal yet professional finish to all kinds of teatime specials.

With lots of pictures - a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. - a Clare County Library staff member

 
100 Poems by Seamus Heaney  

100 Poems by Seamus Heaney
Published by Faber and Faber in 2018

Seamus Heaney had planned to compile a personal selection of his poems but unfortunately died before accomplishing this. Now his family have selected 100 of their favourite poems for this book. Readers will find his most loved and celebrated poems alongside newer works including a poem which is dedicated to his granddaughter, written only 12 days before his death.

Including favourite poems such as Digging and Mid-term Break the book will serve as an introduction for people who haven’t read much of Heaney’s poetry before, or who are unsure about where to start. For long-time readers, the book plots a course through Heaney’s life, times and work: from the early portrayals of the people and places of his native rural Derry, through the turbulent years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and blossoming into the mature voice and mastery of his later work. - a Clare County Library staff member

 
The Doctor’s Wife is Dead by Andrew Tierney  

The Doctor’s Wife is Dead by Andrew Tierney
Published by Penguin Ireland in 2017

This non fiction read is based on the murder of Ellen Langley, the wife of a prosperous doctor, in 1849, who was buried in a pauper’s grave. She had been confined to the attic space of her own home and then expelled to a rented house in an impoverished part of the town. There was a public outcry during the time of the trial.

"A great read, based on a true story of a murder case in Nenagh. Local and interesting, it gives a great insight into life in the local area around Nenagh during the time of the famine. There is a twist in the tale!" - a Clare County Library staff member

     
I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice  

I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice
Published by Chatto and Windus in 2017

Simon Fitzmaurice, a filmmaker, was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in 2008 and was given 4 years to live. His wife Ruth was 32 years old at the time. In I Found My Tribe Ruth chronicles their life together following the diagnosis and she touchingly recounts the impact of Simon's condition on the family.

Set in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ruth’s ‘tribe’ is her husband, 5 children, family and friends. These close friends are a huge support to her and she shares their therapeutic experience of swimming daily in the sea together. In an honest and moving account we learn that Simon eventually lost the use of all movement other than his eyes, yet managed to communicate by using an eye gaze computer. He continued to write and direct, though paralysed. Simon Fitzmaurice died in 2017.

"This book is at times raw, at times inspiring. Though the topic is painful and heart-breaking the story is surprisingly uplifting". - a Clare County Library staff member

Ruth Fiztmaurice will be in conversation with Mick Heaney in glór at 4pm on Friday 2nd March as part of the 2018 Ennis Bookclub Festival.

     
The Warrior’s Code by Jackie Tyrrell with Christy O’Connor   The Warrior’s Code by Jackie Tyrrell with Christy O’Connor
Published by Trinity Mirror Sport Media in 2017

This autobiography by one of the most successful hurlers in Irish sporting history, lifts the lid on what motivates a winner of nine All-Ireland titles and four All-Star awards. And for anyone who has ever wondered what makes the Kilkenny club such a success machine, Jackie Tyrrell provides some answers.

"Brilliant book - very open and honest account of Kilkenny hurling and their manager." - a Sixmilebridge Library member.

     
A Time to Risk All: the incredible untold story of Mary Elmes, the Irish woman who saved children from Nazi concentration camps by Clodagh Finn   A Time to Risk All: the incredible untold story of Mary Elmes, the Irish woman who saved children from Nazi concentration camps by Clodagh Finn
Published by Gill Books in 2017

Clodagh Finn has travelled throughout Europe to piece together the story of this remarkable, unknown Irish woman, meeting many of the children Mary Elmes saved from the Nazis during the Second World War. Here, in a book packed with courage, heroism, adventure and tragedy, her story is finally remembered.

"An amazing story of courage and bravery" - a Sixmilebridge Library member.

     
Mythos: the Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry   Mythos: the Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry
Published by Michael Joseph / Penguin in 2017

Stephen Fry’s book on the Greek gods of antiquity is an enthralling read, at once informative and highly entertaining. Fry introduces us to the Titans and the Olympians, the Immortals and minor branches of deity such as dryads and nymphs and the Cyclops. We meet the myriad gods and goddesses of antiquity, the polytheistic pantheon ranging from Apollo to Zeus and all in between, including Hades, Poseidon, Artemis and Kronos. All are introduced and brought centre stage in turn, and their defining characteristics and legends are recounted as well as rendering their Roman equivalent. In the course of the book the myths and legends of the ancient world which have informed our culture for centuries are told with verve and éclat.

"As Pasteur commented, it is the Greeks who have bequeathed to us the most beautiful word in our vocabulary, enthusiasm - en Theo, and Stephen Fry’s wonderful book will enthuse and delight all curious readers." - a Clare County Library staff member

     
Prisoners of Geography: ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics by Tim Marshall   Prisoners of Geography: ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics by Tim Marshall
Published by Elliott and Thompson Limited in 2015

Fascinating read about how the geographical realities of countries and how their physical borders still impact on political decisions. In ten chapters covering Russia, China, USA, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, Africa, India and Pakistan, Japan and Korea, Europe and the Arctic, we learn how a country’s geography has dictated their economic development through history. Some colonial countries have borders casually drawn on maps by colonialists, others are invented entities which struggle to succeed as nation states. Marshall is an experienced Foreign Affairs journalist who previously worked with Sky News and the BBC.

"This book is an accessible account of the ongoing issues in the political world, eg Russia and the Crimea, China’s investments in Africa and other geopolitical issues. Highly recommended." - a Clare County Library staff member

     
Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas by Neven Maguire  

Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas by Neven Maguire
Published by Gill Books in 2017

Packed with all the classics you need for the big day, like Neven's famous buttermilk turkey, perfect roast potatoes and traditional Christmas desserts, you'll also find lots of inspiration for the whole festive season: from a Snowman Cake to make with the kids and St Stephen's Day leftovers, right through to a festive New Year's Eve dinner.

"In addition, you'll find lots of fun ideas for edible gifts, party food and all the little extras that help make Christmas as special as it can be". – a Clare County Library staff member

     
Home for Christmas by Alice Taylor  

Home for Christmas by Alice Taylor
Published by Brandon in 2017

In this book Alice Taylor looks back over her past Christmases and prepares for this year’s celebrations. She tells how the Christmas foods were made when she was a child, using the bastable and the range, and how she prepares them now.

"Covering everything from picking the perfect tree to the very crucial puddings and pies, Alice takes us through the preparations for Christmas in her own intimate way". – a Clare County Library staff member

   


I am, I am, I am: seventeen brushes with death by Maggie O'Farrell.   I am, I am, I am: seventeen brushes with death by Maggie O'Farrell.
Published by Tinder Press in 2017

This memoir recounts the 17 times when award winning novelist O’Farrell has narrowly escaped death. There are episodes of near drowning, of life-threatening miscarriages, of encephalitis. There are close shaves with a murderer, with turbulent planes and a knife-point robbery in Chile.

‘Written as a series of self-contained essays, although essentially a book about death, this book is moving and life-affirming and reminds us all of how precious life is.’ – a Clare County Library staff member

     
Nothing to envy : real lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick  

Nothing to envy : real lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Published by Granta in 2010

The title of this book comes from a song North Korean children are taught, “We have nothing to envy in the world” – in a country where there is no internet access and all radio and television broadcasts are government sponsored.

In Nothing to Envy, journalist Demick interviews six defectors from North Korea - a couple of teenaged lovers, an idealistic woman doctor, a homeless boy, a model factory worker who loved Kim Il Sung more than her own family and her rebellious daughter.

‘At a time when North Korea is back in the international spotlight, this book provides an eye-opening account of the lives of ordinary people under its repressive regime.’ – a Clare County Library staff member

     
Letters of My Life by Mary O’Rourke   Letters of My Life by Mary O’Rourke
Published by Gill in 2016

On the eve of her 80th birthday, Mary O'Rourke has sat down to write a letter to twenty people past and present, close and distant, living and deceased. Every letter is heartfelt; every letter offers gratitude for the difference the recipient made to Mary's life.

‘I found this a very entertaining read. It was a great book to dip into and read a few letters at a time. Mary has a unique way of telling a story with great humour and as most of the people she writes to are in or were in the public domain, the book appeals to the reader all the more.’ - a Clare County Library staff member

 
The age of anger: a history of the present by Pankaj Mishra  

The age of anger: a history of the present by Pankaj Mishra
Published by Allen Lane in 2016

How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world?from American shooters and ISIS to Donald Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media? In Age of Anger, Pankaj Mishra answers our bewilderment by casting his gaze back to the eighteenth century before leading us to the present.

‘I listened to this book on Radio 4 Book of the Week. It was terrific and compelling listening. Current affairs straddling politics and the new world order of social media, informed by historical developments since the French and American revolutions.’ - a Clare County Library staff member

 
Would you like to recommend a book that you have read?
Email mailbox@clarelibrary.ie with your nomination, giving the title,
author, brief synopsis of the book and the reason why you recommend it.
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