Monday, December 24, 2012

My favorite book this Christmas is A.M. Holme's brilliantly written "May We Be Forgiven."

My favorite book this Christmas is A.M. Holme's brilliantly written "May We Be Forgiven."

This is a novel about the destruction of a family and how the main character pulls it and himself back together. It is an ambitious and often enthralling book, which 
The Silver family seem like the perfect product of the American dream. The descendant of recent immigrants, George is a highly rewarded television executive, married to Jane, a beauty, with two kids at boarding school; his brother, Harold, is a professor of history. So far, so successful. But the Thanksgiving scene at the beginning of the novel is full of intimations of trouble: Harold fancies Jane; the children are locked into computer screens; nobody helps clear up. Before the reader has even had a chance to blink, George has gone mad, killed two people, been sectioned, escaped, found Harold in bed with Jane, and murdered the latter with a lamp.
Homes plays with the substance of the American dream, and gives us a horrific, internet-age deconstruction. In homage to the fast-paced, senselessly violent narratives with which we are increasingly surrounded, she piles the incidents on Harold and his remaining family without breaking narrative stride. Her style – pacy, unwordy and direct – moves things along breathlessly. Soon after George is put (again) in a mental hospital, Harold embarks on a string of casual sexual encounters, is imprisoned by two children, and is sacked from his teaching job. These things happen, Homes suggests, because we all live in bubbles, incapable of communicating, kept alive by suspicion and medication.
There is a sense that we are becoming desensitised, not just emotionally, but in all other aspects, through technology. Everybody in the book is seeking some kind of relationship, even if, like George, they are incapable of keeping it. A female teacher finds comfort in George’s 11-year-old daughter; two demented old people that Harold ends up housing nurse dolls as if they were children. And yet nobody really knows how to connect with others in a true manner. Harold muses: “The loss of the human touch scares me.”
The narrative is unrelenting, and yet it makes a kind of sense that all these troubles should be brought to bear on a few individuals. What’s interesting about this book is that for all its ferocious now-ness, its messages are old fashioned. Peace is found in a South African village, amongst community and participation; acts of kindness bring their own rewards. Homes, however, is not a pious or a schmaltzy writer – she is aware that things are compromised, as when George’s son Nate realises that the South African villagers he’s been supporting are really only interested in what material goods they can buy. But this doesn’t detract from the morality of the book’s core. Only connect, Homes tells us, and we can escape the nightmare of the 21st century – if only for a while.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nordic crime lovers- Asa Larsson

If you are like me and have spent the last few years reading crime fiction set in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, you will love the new author that Village Books has discovered- Asa Larsson. Her series of novels are set in Kiruna which is in Lapland in the North of Sweden. Her books revolve around a young female lawyer Rebecka Martinsson and two local detectives Anna-Maria Mella and Sven-Ulrich. Kiruna in Lapland is the location of a baptist religious revival which forms the backdrop to the crimes. The extreme weather, constant daylight, subzero conditions and Sami culture which Larsson explores provide an insight into this unusual location. I have just read three Asa Larsson books in a row, I thoroughly recommend them. Start with the first book "The Savage Altar".

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What Mary read on holidays...

I had a wonderful holiday in Spain, sipping Manzanilla, eating omelettes and of course reading loads.

Here is what I read: "Live by Night" the new Denis Lehane, set in a casino in 1920s. "The Bat"by Jo Nesbo which tells the story of Harry Hole first detection of a serial killer in Australia....great read, I love Harry. Another great series of nordic crime thrillers that I tried were the ASA Larsson series, a great find.

After all those thrillers, I read "The Cutting Season" by Attica Locke, a murder set the in an American plantation and "We may be forgiven" by AM Holmes a darkly comic look at 21st century domestic life. Eileen Battersby gave it a great review, here's the link:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pregnancy books

The book most woman buy when they find out they are pregnant is "What to expect when you are expecting" by Heidi Murkoff. This is a helpful book which details week by week the mother and babies development. However I found that it was very American in focus and did not give sufficient local information on maternity options, care and procedures.

For a great book on the Irish maternity system "The better birth book" by Tracey Donegan is invaluable. Tracey is a Doula, trainee Midwife and hypno-birth practitioner and she provides really interesting information on traditional and non-traditional birthing methods.

For more alternative books,  Ina May Gaskin books "Guide to Childbirth" and "Spiritual Midwifery" offer a natural and holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth. Her ideas and midwife practice revolutionised approaches to childbirth by de-medicalizing the process and giving control back to woman.

Another interesting author is Frederick Leboyer, like Ina May he focuses on natural, baby focused birth in "Birth without violence".

If you are interested in natural birthing, hypnobirthing might be for you. It uses meditation, chanting and breathing during the birth. Marie Mongans "Hypnobirthing" is a good starting point

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Great books for babies

There are some amazing books available for babies right from newborn. Newborn babies have very bad eyesight and can only see in black and white- the Amazing Baby Black and White series is perfect,  full of geometric shapes in black and white.

Cloth Books: These are great for young babies who like to eat and snuggle their books. Two cloth books I like are "Guess How Much I Love You Snuggle Book" and "Baby Touch Snuggle Book" Both are very bright and tactile.

Cot Books: Cot books attach to the outside of your babies cot or craddle, they can look at them lying down. Usborne has a great range these such as "Animals: Babies First Cot Book" and "123 Cot Book"

Board  Books: There are alot of board book available. "Duck on Wheels" by DK is a toy and a book in one. "My Noisy Book of Ducklings" this book quacks and is my daughters current favourite. "Baby loves Peekaboo!" by DK is a fun lift the flap book. "The Hungry Caterpillar" is a very popular book, I have a version that has a finger puppet included!

Buggy Books: Buggy books attach onto the side of the pram and can be read on the go. "Night" and "Day" by Campbell Books are eye-catch with mirrored front covers suitable for newborns.

Nursery Rhymes: If you cant remember the words to any nursery rhymes, I recommend investing in a good book such as "100 Best Loved Nursery Rhymes" by Miles Kelly or  Babies love them!

Songs and Music: "Wheels on the Bus" is a Nursery Rhyme and song CD produced by the BBC great for listening to in the Car. "The Usborne Book of Lullabies" is a book and CD compilation, again great for putting baby to sleep in the car.

All of these books and many more available in Village Books.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


'Into the Lion's Den'

A biographical history of the Talbots of Malahdie by Stephen E. Talbot.


Signed copies available.

Retailing for €30. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Criminal by Karen Slaughter

The newest Karin Slaughter doesn't disappoint- an edgy and intense read. Criminal is the next instalment in Slaughter's series which follows detectives Faith and Will from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Will Trent is an orphan, son of a murderer and seriously dyslexic. Criminal traces his past,set simultaneously in 1975 and present day- investigates the murder of Will's mother and his birth. I highly recommend Criminal, a great thriller.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Booker Prize 2012 long list

The Booker prize long list was released yesterday. Here are the nominees...note the lack of Irish writers!

Man Booker Prize - 2012 longlist

  • Nicola Barker - The Yips
  • Ned Beauman - The Teleportation Accident
  • Andre Brink - Philida
  • Tan Twan Eng - The Garden of Evening Mists
  • Michael Frayn - Skios
  • Rachel Joyce - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
  • Deborah Levy - Swimming Home
  • Hilary Mantel - Bring Up the Bodies
  • Alison Moore - The Lighthouse
  • Will Self - Umbrella
  • Jeet Thayil - Narcopolis
  • Sam Thompson - Communion Town

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Non fiction top 10 July 2012

   Top 10 Non Fiction

·        The Magic Reality
     By Richard Dawkins

·        American Caesars
     By Nigel Hamilton

·        Treasure Islands
     By Nicolas Shaxson

·        Political Corruption in Ireland
     By Elaine Byrne

·        I was a boy in Belsen
     By Tomi Reichental

·        White Fever
     By Jacek Hugo Bader

·        Thinking Fast and Slow
     By Daniel Kahneman

·        The House on an Irish Hillside
     By Felicity Hayes-McCoy

·        Travels with Bertha
     By Paul Martin

·        Mrs Robinsons Disgrace
     By Kate Summerscale

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Junior Book Club Round Up:

We have had another very successful year with our Junior Book Clubs. They never failed to provide a bit of excitement down in the shop on Monday afternoons, debating and arguing over their chosen books. 

Some of their favourites from this year include;

'War Horse' by Michael Morpurgo. Heather (12) said, 'It's a very realistic story of friendship and loyalty.'
'Tom Gates Everything's Amazing (sort of)' by Liz Pichon. This will appeal to Wimpy Kid fans and is a crazy, fun read. 'I really liked the story line.' - Leah (11)

However, 'The Recruit' by Robert Muchamore is no doubt, the Junior Book Club's top read from this year. 'The Recruit' is the first in a 12 part series called CHERUB and is an action packed thriller that readers of all levels and taste seem to enjoy. Aaron (12) put it best when he said, 'It's a real blockbuster!'

Below are the books they have chosen to read over the summer holidays;

Group 1:
'Outlaw' by Michael Morpurgo
'Dark Lord The Teenage Years' by Jamie Thomson
'The Mysterious Benedict Society' by Trenton Lee Stewart

Group 2:
'Lobster Boy' by Rodman Philbrick
'Claws' by Mick & Rachel Grinti
'Tao' by John Newman
'Journey to the River Sea' by Eva Ibbotson

Group 3:
'Mad Dogs' (Cherub) by Robert Muchamore
'The Boy Who Lost His Face' by Louis Sachar
'Dead End' by Jack Gantos

The Junior Book Clubs will be meeting up again in September. If you think your child would be interested in joining one of the clubs please let us know and we'll add you to the waiting list.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Hunger Games Trilogy

75 years ago, the districts attempted to revolt from the Capitol. The punishment and reminder for this revolt is the annual Hunger Games. Every year a girl and a boy are reaped to represent their district at the Hunger Games. The aim of the games is survival. This year Katniss and Peeta represent district 12 at the Hunger Games, the trilogy follows their journey.

This trilogy is exciting, well written and bleak. Aimed at teenage readers, it appeals to a much wider audience and reminds me very much of the intricate writing and otherness of Lord of the Rings. I really enjoyed reading The Hunger Games, I did nothing else but read them for a week!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Impac prize 2012

The Impac prize winner for 2012 was announced yesterday. The winner is "Even the Dogs" by Jon McGregor. The Impac prize is chosen by librarians around the world and is the most significant prize of its kind.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Orange prize shortlist 2012

The Orange Prize shortlist for fiction came out yesterday. Here is the shortlist:
Esi EdugyanHalf Blood BluesSerpent’s TailCanadian2nd Novel
Anne EnrightThe ForgottenWaltz Jonathan CapeIrish5th Novel
Georgina HardingPainter of SilenceBloomsburyBritish3rd Novel
Madeline MillerThe Song of AchillesBloomsburyAmerican1st Novel
Cynthia OzickForeign BodiesAtlantic BooksAmerican7th Novel
Ann PatchettState of WonderBloomsburyAmerican6th Novel

Sunday, April 15, 2012

impac award shortlist 2012

The short listed titles, announced by The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Andrew Montague, Patron of the Award, in Dublin today are:

1. Rocks in the Belly by Jon Bauer (British / Australian). Scribe Publications (First Novel)
2. The Matter with Morris by David Bergen (Canadian). Harper Collins, Canadva
3. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (American) Alfred A. Knopf
4. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Born in Britain, raised in Sierra Leone) Bloomsbury Publishing
5. Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor (British) Bloomsbury
6. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (American) Atlantic Monthly Press (First novel)
7. Landed by Tim Pears (British) William Heinemann
8. Limassol by Yishai Sarid (Israeli) translated from Hebrew by Barbara Harshav Europa Editions
9. The Eternal Son by Cristov√£o Tezza, (Brazilian) translated from Portuguese by Alison Entrekin, Scribe Publications
10. Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin (American) Faber & Faber

Eileen Battersby had a great article about the shortlist last Thursday here is the link

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Cove by Ron Rash

Eileen Battersby has a very positive review of The Cove in today's Irish Times: have a look. It reminded us in VB of this great novel set in the south about Laurel and Hank an outcasted family running a farm in hills during World War 1. We agree with Eileen Battersby that The Cove is "a southern tragedy thats right on the money"

Saturday, March 24, 2012

New nordic crime

There are some great new Nordic crime novels out this spring!

Jo Nesbo's Phantom brings Detective Harry Hole back to Oslo from Hong Kong to investigate a murder involving his step son Oleg and a new heroin like drug...violin.

A new author James Hamilton, who doesnt sound nordic..but I assure you is- his Lucifer Tears is a gripping thriller featuring detective Kari Vaara who investigates a sadomasochistic killing in Stockholm.

One final not so nordic crime novel which I am starting this weekend is Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. Mary absolutely loved this thriller which she spent the last few nights reading under the covers.

Friday, March 16, 2012



Happy St Patrick's Day to all our customers, have a lovely holiday 
weekend, and pop in to see us we are open!


Sunday, March 11, 2012


The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes,
was the 2nd book the book club discussed.

Jacket image for Sense of an Ending, The

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit.
Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is in middle age. He's had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce.
He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove. The Sense of an Ending is the story of one man coming to terms with the past.

The group, bar one dissenter, thought that it was a wonderful book full of wit and insights, the characters are believable and if not altogether sympathetic, one is immediately drawn into the story, and the complexities of the relationships.  It is also about loneliness and the wish to change the mistakes of youth. 
Personally I gave it a second reading as I had so enjoyed it the first time, and I found it just as intriguing the second time round.



The Book club met this week and we discussed two books:

Glass Room by Simon Mawer
The book tells the story of a house set high on a Czechoslovak hillthe Landauer House shines as a wonder of steel and glass and onyx built specially for newly-weds Viktor and Liesel Landauer , a Jew married to a gentile. But the radiant honesty of 1930 that the house, with its unique Glass Room, seems to engender quickly tarnishes as the storm clouds of WW2 gather, and eventually the family must flee, accompanied by Viktor's lover and her child.

But the house's story is far from over, and as it passes from hand to hand, from Czech to Russian, both the best and the worst of the history of Eastern Europe becomes somehow embodied and perhaps emboldened within the beautiful and austere surfaces and planes so carefully designed, until events become full-circle.
This house is based on a real house which you can visit today, it is the Tugendhat House in Brno Chechoslovakia
The Group really responded to this book, the many historical layers and the interesting characters in each period and yet the thread of the original owners remains throughout the book.  One might quibble that the ending is an little pat but overall it is a book that is well worth reading.

Jacket image for Glass Room, The

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Check out the bookshop girls celebrating World Book Day dressed as their favourite character, Fancy Nancy!

Don't forget to pop in to Village Books with your World Book Day voucher to claim your free book!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


New diablos back in stock!
We have Standard Twister €10
Cyclone Triple Bearing €20
Super slick string (10 metres) €7
Wooden sticks €3
Metal sticks €10

Sunday, January 22, 2012

HOOT by Carl Hiaasen

This week's Junior Book Club will be reviewing 'Hoot', a very entertaining story about Roy who meets some interesting new people when he moves to Florida. 

There's Dana, the boy that likes to beat him up on the school bus. There's Beatrice, who likes to beat up Dana. And then there's the mysterious boy Roy has notice running around the town with now shoes on.

One day Roy decides to follow the shoeless runner and ends up in the middle of a whole heap of drama centred around pancakes and miniature owls!

'Hoot' reads like any other fiction bestseller; sometimes I forgot I was reading a children's book! It's funny, it's engaging, it's gripping.

It's a hoot!

Hopefully the Junior Book Club will be as impressed as me!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


We now have a range of beautifully illustrated TinTin calendars and dairies, varying in shape, size and price. 

All are currently on special offer - with 35% off! 

We also have very large and handy TinTin shopping bags for just €5.

Get them while stocks last!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


The Village Books Junior Book Clubs start back this Monday the 16th at 4.30pm. The first group back will be discussing 'Northern Lights' by Philip Pullman and 'Once' by Morris Gleitzman. 

'Northern Lights' is one of our favourite books of all time! Lets hope that the group enjoyed it just as much as us and didn't just watch the movie - which is possibly one of the worst films of all time! 

'Once' is a similar kind of story to 'The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas'. Follow Felix, a young Jewish orphan as he journeys across Nazi occupied Poland in search of family. It is beautifully written, taking great care and innocence whilst tackling such a tale of horror. We highly recommend it for children aged 10 and over.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Professional quality, great performance, rubber diablos now available!

Buy the diablos in a variety of colours for just €8.60.

Don't forget the metal sticks, sold separately for €9.30.