Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Reads

I haven’t posted a lot recently but that’s because I’ve been so busy travelling here and there! Hopefully I’ll have a post up tomorrow with March Recap so you can read all about what I’ve been up to if you’re interested.

This month, I kept my reading to a strict theme. Following reading In the Woods by Tana French at the end of February, I decided to only read books by Irish authors I’d never read before. I didn’t get a whole lot finished, well compared to other months anyway, but I still enjoyed it.

March Reads

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín


I got this out of the library as an audiobook. It follows the story of Eilis Lacey, who lives in a small town in Wexford in 1950s, who is given the opportunity to move to Brooklyn after an Irish priest living there sponsors her move. It’s a story of her move and how she struggles at first to fit in, living in a house with other women, working in a department story and finding love with Italian Tony. All seems to be going well for Eilis until she gets a call from Ireland. The story is not fast paced or action packed, if you’re looking for something like that, you’re looking in the wrong place. It’s more of a slow paced coming of age sort of story, a story of an Irish emigrant which is partly what intrigued me when I picked out this book, having recently moved abroad myself. I liked the audio narrative, the accents which were done along with the characters. While I won’t go into it now, I wasn’t very keen on the ending. But it was still a solid book and I look forward to trying out more of Tóibín’s novels.


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

dorian gray

I hadn’t read anything by Wilde prior to this, except the quotes you often come across by him. The Picture of Dorian Gray is the first and only novel by Wilde to be published. Dorian is a very attractive, innocent young man, who is fawned and loved by Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotton. Basil is so struck by Dorian’s beauty that he paints a portrait of him. While doing so, Lord Henry has begun to manipulate and mould Dorian’s innocent mind and Dorian eventually wishes that he could stay looking young and beautiful while the portrait would age instead. As they say, be careful what you wish for as it could come true! Over time, with Lord Henry like a devil on his shoulder, Dorian becomes more corrupt, leading a double life of crime and cruelty, all the mean time remaining beautiful and unblemished. The portrait however becomes more and more hideous, as Dorian’s sins are displayed as ugly blotches upon it. I really enjoyed this book, Wilde has a beautiful style of writing. There was a section near the middle of the book that I thought waffled on a bit and was pointless but other than that I do recommend this book, I loved it!


Room by Emma Donoghue


I’d heard of this book ages ago and it was on my list for a while, so this month was the perfect excuse for me to finally pick it up. It’s told from the perspective of Jack, a 5 year old, who’s entire world is Room and all the contents in it, including Ma, his mother. Straight away as adults reading this, we realize this is a lot more sinister, with the mother and son being kept captive in Room by the mysterious Old Nick, who comes every night and brings food and takes away the rubbish. The idea of the book is very unique and I did find it gripping. Telling the story from a 5 year old’s point of view is a refreshing way to tell it, but at times it irrigated me. I found that some of the words and phrases were a bit too old for Jack, I couldn’t believe he was saying them when the sentence before was so childish. None the less, I wouldn’t let that put you off reading the book. I know Ariel Bissett listened to the audio book and recommended it, as it’s read by a young boy, which I imagine would add to the storytelling of the book.


Some Girls Do by Clodagh Murphy

some girls do

When I was looking up Irish authors to read for this month, I used Google and Goodreads and came up with a long list, which you can find by clicking HERE. I’d never heard of Clodagh Murphy before but when browsing the library after writing the list, I saw this book on the shelf and decided to give it a go. Claire is quiet, works in a bookshop and lives with her mother in Dublin. She longs to be an author. Her alter ego NiceGirl writes a blog called ‘Scenes of a Sexual Nature’, a steamy tell all of her raunchy sex life. Except it’s all made up. NiceGirl enjoys flirting on Twitter with publisher Mark Bell, who one day contacts her offering a book deal and wants to meet up. Claire is delighted until she realises that Mark will be looking to meet NiceGirl. Claire decides she needs to sex up her life and hires down and out artist Luca to help her become a sex goddess. This isn’t something I’d usually read, it’s chick lit (no harm in that!) but I did enjoy it. It is very descriptive with it’s sex scenes, so if you’re not into reading things like that, this book isn’t for you. Putting the sex scenes aside, I thought it was a cute story and I will pick up more of Murphy’s books in the future when I’m looking for something light and fun to read.


Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

skippy dies

The book starts off with what happens in the title of the book, 14 year old Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster dies in a doughnut shop in Dublin. The book then goes back a month or so to see how this came to be. Set in a boarding school in Dublin, the chapters are told from the view point of several different characters, mainly Skippy, his roommate Ruprecht Van Doren, Lori, the girl Skippy falls for, Carl, troubled drug dealer and who’s also in love in Lori, and Howard Fallon, Skippy’s History teacher. Each have problems of their own as well. This book is long, over 600 pages, and is a slow burner. There is a lot of talk about physics and multiple dimensions and M-theory which kinda bored me at times and made it hard to get through parts of the books. I do think it’s worth it though for what the big build up is, I thought it was amazing. This book is very dark but has it’s humorous moments too. I’m glad I finally read it after years of seeing it in the library!


March Stats

Number of books read- 5
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- All fiction
Number of eBooks- 2 (The Picture of Dorian Gray and Skippy Dies)

Number of audio books- 1 (Brooklyn)

Number of books borrowed from library- 4 (all but The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Number of books from Reading Resolutions- 1 (Read more Irish authors)

So 5 books. I think I could have gotten a few more in (I had another audiobook ready to listen to but never got around to it) except reading Skippy Dies slowed me down a lot as it was so big. I actually started reading it before the Clodagh Murphy book. I think I was just so busy as well that I lost interest in reading towards the end of the month. I finished Skippy Dies on 26th and I started 2 books but put them down again. I was at the library yesterday though and got some books out so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them!


  1. I loved Dorian Grey and Room, thought Brooklyn was a bit..meh but I do like Toibin in general. I have Skippy dies on my shelf but still haven't read it, must give it a go! x

    1. I wonder if our experiences of Brooklyn are different because I listened to the audio version? For a book that basically has no plotted, I think I was drawn to it as I've recently moved abroad and have that immigrant connection? It does fall completely flat though at the end, I really really disliked the ending.

      Skippy Dies is a big book! And it's quite dark. But I did enjoy it (despite all that physics talk!)


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