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.

12 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Great list of books! I bought a book in Northern Ireland last year that I should have read for today.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Great post for today! I like reading about Irish mythology - am continually amazed at how complex it is!

bibliophiliac said...

Every one of these books sounds splendid! I love Eavan Boland's poetry-Quarantine is so powerful. Thanks for this great list-I'm adding all of them to my TBR....

Natalie Keller Reinert said...

I think Eureka Street, by Robert McLiam Wilson, is the best thing that's ever happened, ever. Irish books, English-language books, books in this universe.

JaneGS said...

I've been diving into Irish books myself this year, and will be bookmarking this list, as well as Eureka Street, which looks interesting.

I might start with The Outside Boy.

I've been reading Edna O'Brien's short story collection, Saints and Sinners. She's a wonderful writer, but the stories are pretty grim so I can't read too much of this at one time.

I also enjoyed Frank Delaney's Ireland, which is a good intro to the myths and legends of the country.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Vasilly said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Alyce said...

I can't think of a favorite Irish book off the top of my head. I certainly can think of one I didn't like - Ulysses. Oh, I just remembered Angela's Ashes - that was very good.

R. J. said...

The Outside Boy sounds very interesting. I'm totally out of touch with my greatly diluted Irish roots and it has never fascinated me as it does with others. I couldn't name a single Irish book that is a favorite. Two ethnic books that have been favorites of mine are King of the Gypsies and the Autobiography of Malcolm X. I highly recommend both even though they are very old--like me.

Kathleen said...

I've always wanted to read a book about the Irish Travelers. I am fascinated by them. Thanks for the recommendations.

caite said...

My experience with Travelers was not so happy and involves a police report with the Garda...
But still, it surprises me that I have not read any of these.

Marie said...

Caite, I'm sure there are shady people in any walk of life. I'm sorry you had a bad experience but I stand by the book! :-)

Zibilee said...

I have not read any of these, and have a couple of them. Now that I know that they are some of your favorites, I will have to make some time. Hope your St. Patrick's Day was a good one!