The diaries of Nella Last : writing in war & peace

This collection brings together into a single volume the best of Nella Last’s prolific outpourings, including a great deal of new, unpublished material from the war years. Capturing the everyday trials and horrors of wartime Britain and the nation’s transition into peacetime and beyond, Nella’s touching and often humorous narrative provides an invaluable historical portrait […]

The Islandman

Translated from the Irish (An tOileánach) by Robin Flower Tomás Ó Criomhthain, or, if you’d prefer an anglicised version, Thomas O’Crohan, was born on the Great Blasket Island in 1856. He lived all his life there as a farmer and fisherman, married and had ten children, although many of them died before reaching adulthood. In […]

Old Burnside

A memoir of a Southern Girlhoodold burnside

In 1913 Harriette Simpson Arnow moved to Old Burnside, Kentucky, with her family. This is her recollections of life in the once bustling lumber town. She was only four years old at the time, and yet she still manages to recreate the town and people she knew back then. It is a small book, only 125 pages in the edition I read, but there is plenty going on.

Fun home : a family tragicomic

ISBN: 9780224080514

This is the memoir of Alison Bechdel, her recollections of growing up in an emotionally-distant family, the role of literature in her, and her father’s, life, her identifying as a lesbian at college and coming out, by letter, to her parents. It is the story of growing up in a house that can seem more like a museum than a home. Of living in a funeral home. Of trying to connect with her father. All told in graphic form.

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A primate’s memoir

I first came across a mention of Robert M. Saplosky on Metafilter and I was a little interested, so I did what any librarian might do, and ordered one of his books. To be honest my expectations weren’t all that high. My personal reading challenge for 2010 might be to read more non-fiction, but at the same time I know that non-fiction often requires more concentration and time than fiction, and then there was the fact that Sapolsky is a neurobiologist, and to be totally honest I really didn’t think it’d be all that interested. But I challenged myself, and was I ever glad that I did because from the opening page this really is a delight to read. …

Blankets

Blankets by Craig Thomspon
Blankets by Craig Thomspon
ISBN: 1891830430 DDC: 741.5973
LibraryThing : Author’s blog
Read for the Graphic Novels Challenge

When we were young, my little brother Phil and I shared the same bed.

This is one I picked up because I’d seen positive mentions on a few blogs, I think Nymeth’s post was the one that prompted the purchase. So it came with a little bit of hype. That being said, I don’t really read reviews before I read a book, just skim the opening paragraph for a sense of what the reviewer thought of the book, so I wasn’t all hyped out. And Blankets did live up to those positive reviews.

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Wedlock

Mary Eleanor Bowes was born in 1749. Her father was extremely wealthy and, unusually for the time, had her well educated. A most eligible young woman, not least because she was the richest heiress in C18th Britain. Her first wedding was nothing unusual for the time. Pretty loveless and to an older man it wasn’t a romantic love match. Her second, to a dashing young soldier, was. Mary Eleanor probably hadn’t intended to marry Andrew Robinson Stoney, but upon hearing that he had fought a duel for her honour and was laying on his deathbed wishing for nothing but her hand in marriage… well, who could resist that romance!

The Courtesan’s Revenge

Harriette Wilson, the woman who blackmailed the king
ISBN: 0571205240
See also: LibraryThing ; Other reviews

Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs omit both time and place; there are no addresses given, no locations described, no elections, diseases, or wars. “Dates make ladies nervous and stories dry,” she wrote.

It has taken me quite a while to finish this book. Usually that isn’t a very good sign, it means I’ve not really being all that interested in it, but usually I don’t read non-fiction. Whenever I do it always takes me longer to get through.

This is the story of Harriette Wilson who grew up to become a courtesan in Regency London. The woman whose Memoirs caused a scandal, and raised her quite a bit of cash, as those named began to buy her silence. But as well as that it is a story of how few options there were available to women at that time. It was a case of be married or be damned. Harriette seems to have chosen the damned option. It was her book that led to the, now famous, if incorrect line by Wellington, “publish and be damned”.

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Rules of Engagement

25 May 2003
The tip-off came from a Fleet Street contact that Saturday evening: something serious was brewing in the media, something ‘pretty big’. I’d been under the cosh for the last week after being accused of war crimes, so I wondered how much bigger it could get.

So, do I admit at the start or the end of this review that I was anti the Iraq war? Does that political inclination mean that my opinion of this book is biased? I’m not sure, I do however know that this book did not get off to a good start with me, as the dedication is “to the soldiers of Ireland who left their native land to fight for the Crown so that small nations might be free.” That grates. It is meant with the best of intentions, or at least I suppose so, and I’m guessing he is talking about in modern times, but it still grates. After all, Ireland is one of those small nations that had to fight against the Crown so that she might be free.

Zero Point One Six: living in extra time

ISBN: 184018485X
See also: Wikipedia on Mick Doyle ; Irish Examiner’s Obit

I still do not know the exact point at which I first became aware; all I can recall is waking up very gradually and becoming increasingly conscious that I was probably in this world, or somewhere else, other than just being dead.

In 1996 Mick Doyle suffered a brain haemorrhage and spent four weeks in a coma. He was lucky enough to wake up and to be able to begin the road back to recovery. This book tells his story of recuperation. A former international rugby player, an Irish rugby coach, a British and Irish Lions coach, a media pundit, Doyle was also lucky enough to be on of the 0.16 per cent of people who recover from a brain haemorrhage. Hence the title of the book.

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Back from the Brink

with Vincent Hogan ISBN: 1846050766 See also: ; Wikipedia ; BBC ; The Telegraph Paul McGrath is probably Ireland’s best loved sporting star. Known as god to many an Aston Villa fan, he was one of our greatest players ever. And we all knew he had a drinking problem, there were the disappearances. And a […]

Time Added On

When you are a child, and you’re poor, and you live next to other people who are poor, you never think of yourself as being poor.

Around a month ago I read an entry on Omaniblog about this book, up until then I hadn’t even known that George Hook had a book out. But that post caught my attention. George Hook is probably best known in Ireland for his rugby punditry. Together with Brent Pope and Tom McGurk, he analyses rugby for RTE in an entertaining, honest, blunt manner. He also has a radio show, but I’m not big on the radio so haven’t heard him enough to comment on that. In many ways I suppose he is the Eamonn Dunphy of the rugby world.

But I know him primarily from his rugby comments, and his constant promises that Munster will lose, and that the likes of Stringer shouldn’t be playing. I disagree with him, but am well aware that he is very knowledgeable about the game. And in an entertaining way.