Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day! My Favorite Irish Books

Happy St. Patrick's Day! There is no shortage of "wit and wisdom o'the Irish" type books on displays in bookstores and we all know about Joyce and Yeats. Here's some of my favorite Irish books.

The Outside Boy is a wonderful coming-of-age tale set among the Irish Travellers, about a young boy trying to find the truth about his mother and ultimately about himself. I wish everyone I know would buy this book!

Troubles, by J.G. Farrell, is a heavier but still wonderful novel about frustrated love and politics around the time of Irish independence. An English major arrives at a dilapidated hotel to marry one of its inhabitants, but nothing is as he expects. What follows is funny, bittersweet and tragic.

The Dork of Cork is a strange, enchanting and unforgettable tale of a dwarf named Frank Bois, a writer and recluse who loses himself in the beauty of the night sky.  He's about to become a star himself; as the book opens, he's about to publish his memoir. The novel is a beautiful poem to the power of love to shape our lives and heal our wounds.

And since it's not fair to talk about Irish literature without mentioning poetry, my favorite book of Irish poetry is certainly Eavan Boland's In a Time of Violence, a lovely volume about women, war, Ireland, memory, and more.

What's your favorite Irish book? What else do I need to read from the Emerald Isle? Don't forget to wear green and have a great St. Patrick's Day.