The Start of a Book Series

Do you ever come across a book in a different genre to what you usually read and find yourself drawn slowly but surely into the lives of the characters?  Then at the end of the book finding it is the first in a series?

This has just happened to me. If you like Downton Abbey television series, if you like books about “the big houses”, or perhaps it is more modern rather than historical novels which appeal to you or yet again it is Irish themed novel?  Then I have the very book for you.  The House by A O’Connor published by Poolbeg Press.

Although the books spans many generations the imagery evoked by the author is brilliant.  The characters are well-developed and the story line just begs for more.  It is one of those books which lures you in until today’s world is forgotten.

As the title suggestions the house is the link between the characters of the various generations.  As it says on the front of the book “one house, one family, three generations.

The House (Armstrong House Series Book 1)

 

If you decide to read this book I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

Happy reading

 

Did I Really Miss It?

How did I miss it?   August 9th was National Book Lovers Day.  I mean I love books, adore reading, have some perfect places in which to read.  I have the snuggler for when it is cold and of course have the tea-tray with all the accoutrements for the perfect cuppa.

So how did I miss it?  i totally forgot to note it on my calendar!!

If you are a book lover I hope you enjoyed your day.  I hope you had time to read.  I hope you enjoyed the book.  I hope you are enjoying your reading if you are still reading your book.

What book do you have on hand?  At the moment, I am reading a series of books by P. F. Ford.  They are a British Police detective series and which I am thoroughly enjoying.

 

 

Where My Books Go

By W.B.Yeats

 

All the words that I utter,

And all the words that I write,

Must spread out their wings untiring,

And never rest in their flight

Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,

And sing to you in the night,

Beyond where the waters are moving

Storm-darkened or starry bright.

Bliss with a Twist

One of life’s pleasures is curling up with a good book to the sound of rain beating against the window pane. Bliss.

Now there are a certain few tweeks to make this pleasure absolute bliss.  Firstly the coffee it has to be a blend which you enjoy, this is definitely not the time for “it will do” blend.  Secondly the mug.  It has to be big enough to hold a warming amount of coffee but not too big that the mug itself is hard to lift.  Thirdly one has to be comfy. Perhaps a quilt to throw aIMAG1015[1]round the shoulders or over the knees.  Perhaps a throw or perhaps that old warm roomy jumper that has survived so many mishaps.

 

 

Of course the most important choice is that of a book.  This is the time for the latest book by a favourite author.  Perhaps this is the time for renewing the warmth one feels from a favoutite book read so many times that the cover has that well thumbed look.

Easter Monday dawned to the sound of rain battering the windows.  Grey skys enveloped the area cutting the house off to the rest of the world.  Small streams were already forming as yet again another year had passed and the drains had not been cleared.  Rain dripped from the forlorn looking trees.

I went through my mental list. Dinner?  Left overs from Easter Sunday Lunch. Snacks? Leftovers from Easter Sunday and Easter Eggs.  Kitchen? Spick and span.  Oh yes, mental list checked off.  This day had all the makings for an uninterupted reading day.  Sheer Bliss.

I found myself in my favourite chair, my quilt folded beside me, in my comfy clothes and footrest in place.  Not knowing quite what book I wanted to read I had a selection.  Ruth dudley Edwards “Matricide at St. Martha’s”, Donna Leon’s “Earthly Remains“, Noel Dorr’s “Ireland at the United Nations” and Daisy Thurbin’s “The Radziwll Leagacy“.

A tray beside me held toasted hot cross buns my husband had made, a sliced apple and a pot of tea being kept warm with a tea cosy.  Beside it sat a small china mug with images of the London Olympics bringing back happy memories.

Yes I was all set.  Still there was something amiss.  I couldn’t put my finger on it.   Something just wasn’t quite right.  What was preveinting me from settling into one of my favourite pastimes.  Standing up and looking at the space I had made for my reading day it took a while for the incongruity to emerge.

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I sat down a little stunned. I was reading with a pot of tea!! For those of you who may not know me I am a coffee holic.  I love coffee and it hurts when I purchase or make a bad cup of coffee.  Realisation slowly dawned upon me that since I had had a massive allergy attack I had not sipped a drop of coffee.coffee.

Yikes. Nóilín minus a mug of coffee?  What a weird notion.  But it was no longer a notion it was a reality.  During the previous thirteen days I had not had a drop of coffee but what was really weird was that I had not missed it.  Nursing a cup of tea I pondered this new situation but the call of a book soon interupted these musings.

It wasn’t long before Ruth Dudley Eadwards had me laughing at the antics of the heroine and the question of why my body was rejecting coffee for tea was soon forgotten.  The rain continued unabated while I read and savoured being warm, having books to read while listening to music of the rain on the window.

It certainly was absolute bliss but with a new twist.

I will try this book genre just one more time.

 

I love to read. I enjoy finding a new book on perhaps a subject I haven’t really looked at before and being drawn in.

There are books however that over the years I have detested.  Yes a strong word but aptly describing my feeling towards fairy tales.  Yes, fairy tales.  I can remember fairy tales being read to me, later reading them for myself and always being frightened by either the tales themselves or the illustrations.

Thinking back to those tales still sends a shiver down my spine.  I can remember receiving a book one Christmas entitled “The Stolen Child and Other Stories” by Sinéad Bean DeValera.  Although these were Irish based I was still scared.

Recently, I was given a bag of children’s books some first published in the 1970’s.  In among them  was a book ” Great Fairy Tales of Ireland” compiled by Mary McGarry.  After numerous pots of tea I finally finished the book but I never relaxed into the book.

I think I can safely say that I will not be reading any more fairy tales however, I would recommend any of the books by Sinéad Bean DeValera if you can find them.  Also “The Lucky Bag” a book of Irish children’s stories by various authors.

Another series of children’s books, set in County Wicklow and written by Cormac Mac Raois are “The Battle of Giltspur, Dance of the Midnight Fire, and Lightening over Giltspur”.  These are adventure books with gripping tales centred around three children Niamh and Daire Durkan and their cousin Rónán.  They are books which can be enjoyed by a reader of any age, yes even a sixty year old!

For those who are nature lovers then the trilogy “Run with the Wind“, “Run to Earth” and “Run Swift Run Free” by Tom McCaughren are beautifully crafted books with descriptive passages which immediately evoke images of the Irish countryside.

I am halfway through this wonderful bag of books and thanks to Marie, Sinéad and Trina I have many more hours of enjoyment ahead of me.

 

Library and Craftsmanship

As you know by now paper is important to me together with pens.  Places where the two come together hold a fascination for me.  So it is one of the reasons I love libraries.

Do you ever find that each library has its own unique atmosphere.  Okay I know if I was working in them day after day I suppose I wouldn’t be wafting on about atmosphere.  But from a purely visitor’s view so far each library I have visited is unique.

I had a return visit to one this week.  Can you imagine a library set in a house on seventy eight acres of land surrounded by  farm, sunken gardens, a lake, and a veiw stretching out to the mountains and still in a city?

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Farmleigh House, Dublin is the guest house for visiting dignatries and gusets of the Irish Nation.  It is an Edwardian Period house originally purchased by Edward Cecil Guiness of the famous Guiness dynasty on his marriage to his cousin Adelaide Guinness in 1873.  The Iriah Government purchased it in 1999.  It has since been restored and refurbished by the Office of Public Works.  The craftsmanship in the restoration has been so high.

There are many wonderful rooms to view on the tour of the house.  However it was the library which stole my heart away.  The Benjamin Iveagh Library, to give it it’s official title, is stunning.

It is a wooden pannelled room  filled with books some with exquisite binding.  It has a hidden stairs to access the upper library shelves.  And no the public cannot access the books.  Although normaly my hands are itching to pick up a book this was a time when I just gazed in raputure at the workmanship of those bindings.

In this rrom you can see the work of suthors dating back to 1280.  The work of amazing binders each binding adding to the work of the author.  Then the work of the carpenters to allow for the storage of these valuable and read works.

This room like so many other libraries ackowledges the work of so many. Yet another library very much worth a visit.

History Through Taste

I have been reading recently about food fusion and hearing about it on food programmes.  Surely this concept has been around since Adam was a boy.

Perhaps we use the style of cooking which we are used to, then move to a new location where ingredients are different but we use the cooking techniques we know, to cook with the new ingredients.  Surely people have been doing this for hundreds of years.

There are cook books abounding with the fusion concept.  The concept is not new but if it draws people into cooking for themselves I for one am all for it.

I really enjoy reading cook books especially second-hand ones.  I like to imagine those other food lovers who have read and used the recipes within.  However, it is the books which have been both loved and used which I cherish the most.

Some of my reading memories are to do with cook books and tonight not being able to sleep I started to read a cook book which had belonged to my mother-in-law Sheila and which was recently given to me.

The book is only 9 inches long by 5 inches wide with less than a hundred pages.    The cover is intact but the spine will need repairing and it is obvious that this book was used over and over again.    It is called “the Tricity cookery book”.    It is a very straight forward cook book with only 4 colour plates.    There are a few sketches but this book is all about the recipes.   Some pages were used more often than others and I love the fact that it isn’t in pristine condition.   It was a book which was used.

Right beside it on my cookery shelf, I found “A taste of Ireland in food and pictures” by Theodora Fitzgibbon.  A friend of mine Rhona, who knows how much I love cookery books, gave it to me prior to moving to Charlton near Banbury in the United Kingdom to run The Rose and Crown.  If you get a chance to visit just try the superb food there.

Again, this is a small cookery book but it has a wealth of history together with the recipes.  The edition I have ,was published by Pan in 1971.   One odd thing about the recipes is that the quantities are not only given in imperial measurement as was used in Ireland at the time but also in U.S.  cup measurements.   However, on the back of the book there is an endorsement by the Irish Tourist Board. Perhaps this book was intended for the tourist industry mainly and that would explain the use of U.S. measurements.

The black and white photographs which accompany each recipe give more information on the times and evoke a sense of times past. The recipes cover everything from toffee to cruibíns. If you ever come across this book it is well worth a read especially if you are interested in social history or cookery.