Limerick faces choose their top literary favourites for 2017

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Radio and television presenter Muireann O'Connell

Radio and television presenter Muireann O'Connell

WELL-KNOWN Limerick people share their library experiences for the past 12 months:

McLysaght’s and Breen’s book about people we all know

Radio and TD presenter Muireann O'Connell

It’s been a few years since I found a book that I read with real delight and awe; one that made me laugh, cry and want to re-read it almost immediately. I was fairly confident that I would like ‘Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling’ by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen but that I would be shouting in people’s faces telling them to buy it, devour it, love it was not a part of the plan. It is what happened.

The book is about people that you know: The woman who walks to work in her runners and put the heels on just outside the door of work; the mates who are always looking for the perfect ‘nice top’, the people you can always depend on.

This book is one of the funniest and heart warming things I have ever read and in our world, anything that can make you feel a little bit better is to be celebrated. Oh my god, what a completely brilliant book!

A bang of dark in ‘pure class’ short story series

Comedian and author Blindboy Boatclub

When we asked Blindboy Boatclub – author, comedian, musician and Rubberbandits frontman – what his favourite read of the year was, he gave us a short and sweet response. 

His top book of the year was June Caldwell’s Room Little Darker, and in a succinct review, he said: “Pure class short stories with a bang of dark off them.”

The Limerick artist published his debut novel The Gospel According to Blindboy in October this year. 

Devoured in one sitting

Author Dan Mooney

It’s been a good year for debut novels (he said modestly). Sally Rooney’s excellent Conversations with Friends and a runaway juggernaut success for Gail Honeyman’s first offering Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, both spring to mind, but for all that I think it’s a 2016 debut that I missed that really wrapped me up this year.

Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon was my standout read. Devoured it in a single sitting because I couldn’t put it down. It’s sad and sweet with a powerful sense of place and time, being set in 1980’s London.

The backdrop of the whole thing bulges with conflicting identities and ideologies seen through the eyes of nine-year-old Leon. Neglected by some, embraced by others the boy muddles his way through a landscape he’s not old enough to understand and takes us gently with him. Highly recommend it.

Mooney’s ‘clever’ debut

Musician Emma Langford

My book of the year is local man Dan Mooney's award winning novel "Me Myself and Them". Despite knowing Dan to be a talented writer, I went into it prepared to do that supportive friend thing of telling him it's great and deserves a wider audience... I can't tell you how relieved I was not to have to lie even a little bit.

The book is clever, insightful, and has that dry dark wit unique to Irish literature.

I picked it up of an evening, and didn't put it down til it was read cover to cover that night.

This is a standout piece of psychological fiction and has rightly earned Dan recognition on a national scale.

Hooked on Ross O’Carroll Kelly’s unique thoughts

Rose of Tralee Kayleigh Maher

My favourite books at the moment are Paul Howard's Ross O'Carroll Kelly books. Ross O'Carroll Kelly represents everything we all loath. Yet, his humorous approach to critiquing political turmoil, throughout the world, is both comical and addictive. Paul Howard's most recent book is 'Operation Trumpsformation'.

I recently finished this book and for me, it enabled me to take time out of a busy life and enjoy the satirical approach of commenting on political happenings at home and abroad.

Although he mocks various Dublin social classes, Rugby, GAA and various counties throughout Ireland, we can't help ourselves from being hooked on Ross O'Kelly's thoughts!

Enamored by 1965 novel

Arts officer Sheila Deegan

'Stoner' by John Williams published in 1965, is a book that has gained success through word of mouth.

The main character, Stoner, was a lifelong academic, who entered the University of Missouri as a student in 1910 initially studying agriculture. A requirement of his course was to take a class in English literature.

While taking the English class he has an epiphany and from there his life course as a student and then as a teacher are set in motion. As someone who studied English literature I ​loved it, the clean prose and the resilience of the character and ultimately his belief in humanity and the power of literature.

My favourite line by the character Stoner is 'I wanted friendship and the closeness of friendship that might hold me in the the race of mankind'.

Written over 50 years ago, before the presence of social media, I was struck by the resonance of that line and the important place of close friendships in our lives.

Meaney’s engaging read

Author Judi Curtin

So hard to pick a single book from the many I read this year, but I’m going to go for my feel-good read of 2017, which is definitely ‘The Street Where you Live,’ by Limerick’s own Roisin Meaney. This book is set during a heatwave in Ireland, as the inhabitants of a small town prepare for an end of summer concert.

It’s full of engaging characters, many of whom have long-buried secrets which are slowly revealed as the long hot days roll on. Like all of Roisin’s novels, this one is like a big warm hug.

Not for the first time, I was left wishing that this small town of Roisin’s imagination really existed, so I could go there and spend some time getting to know all the fun, quirky residents.