Library Moments: Irish books for St. Patrick’s Day

 Amanda Wilk, Public Services Librarian:  Hello, my name is Amanda Wilk from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is library moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

This week, in honour of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re here to talk about all things Irish. At Haliburton County Public Library we have a number of wonderful materials which highlight Ireland’s culture, landscape and people.

For example, if you’re looking for a sweetly romantic read you might enjoy Celia Ahern’s debut novel P.S. I Love You, which recounts the journey Holly undertakes after the untimely death of her husband Gerry, with the aid of a series of letters he left her before he died. P.S. I Love You is the kind of book that is likely to make you both laugh and cry. The film adaptation of the book awaydiffers from the novel as the novel is set in Ireland, while the film is reset in New York, and Holly is of Irish-American heritage, and only Gerry is from Ireland. However, both the film and book showcase the beauty and culture of Ireland in their own distinct way.

Catherine Coles, Branch Services Librarian: One great Irish read that I would like to talk about is Away by Jane Urquhart. Jane Urquhart is Canadian but Away brings to life the harsh landscape of the Northern Irish coast circa 1840. In this novel, the author takes the stories of several generations stretching from Ireland to Canada, and interweaves them with history, fantasy and whimsical elements of Irish folklore. Away is worth considering if you are fan of beautifully crafted prose and books that strongly evoke a sense of time and place.

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Eoin Colfer is the Irish equivalent to J.K. Rowling. He is most famous as the author of the Artemis Fowl series.  Artemis is a child prodigy and a ruthless master criminal, he uses his intelligence to build his family fortune through crime. At first, Artemis is cold, cynical, and distant. Throughout the series, his moral character improves, and he begins to show remorse for his actions and love for his family. Under positive influences, he steals only from those who deserve it, and shares his loot with the public.  There are eight books in the series and they are clever and entertaining.  Production of a movie version is underway.

Catherine Coles, Branch Services Librarian: I read Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt ages angela's ashesago and it has since stuck with me as one of the first books of non-fiction that truly absorbed me like a novel. This heartbreaking memoir follows the childhood of the author as his Irish-immigrant family moves from Depression-era Brooklyn back to the slums of Limerick. His father drinks away his wages and the young family is left impoverished – but young Frank perseveres. For those belonging to a book club, we have Angela’s Ashes available as a book club set – it is definitely worth reading if you haven’t already done so.

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: One of my favourite chick-lit writers is Irish writer Marian Keyes.  Her stories usually revolve around a strong female character who overcomes numerous obstacles to achieve lasting happiness. Although many of her novels are thought to be sushi for beginnersfunny, they revolve around dark themes including domestic violence, drug abuse, mental illness, divorce, and alcoholism.  Keyes is no stranger to some of these themes and draws upon her own experience which gives her writing credibility.  I like to call it chick-lit with an edge, my favourite titles by her are: Sushi for Beginners, Rachel’s Holiday, and This Charming Man.

Amanda Wilk, Public Services Librarian: Another film that is set in Ireland is Albert Nobbs. Taking place in the 19th century, a time during which women were not encouraged to be independent, it tells the story of Albert Nobbs, a women who for the past thirty years has posed as a man in order to work in the service industry in Dublin, Ireland. Exploring topics of gender, love, and equality Albert Nobbs is an engrossing movie.

As always, if you’d like to request a copy of any of the titles heard on today’s show, you can stop by any of Haliburton County Public Library’s eight branches, or visit us online at This was Library Moments. Thanks for tuning in, here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

* Originally aired on Canoe FM from March 14th-March 20th


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