Bestselling novelist Sinéad Moriarty and popular RTE broadcaster and Book Club curator Rick O’Shea have teamed up with Eason to share their Must Reads for Autumn. Wherever your time off takes you this year, switch off and read with Sinead and Rick’s brilliant recommendations - we’re loving these books and think you will too!
All Must Reads are available to order online and in-store. Also, be sure to check out our #EasonMustReads on our Eason social channels!
As an author of 14 outstanding novels, and as a winner of the Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year, Sinead knows a thing or two about books. Check out Sinead’s latest must reads!
The well-known broadcaster Rick O’Shea runs the largest book club in Ireland which boasts over 25,000 members, and is a proud and passionate book advocate. Check out his latest must reads!
Ten years after her hugely influential ‘How To Be A Woman’, Caitlin Moran now finds herself a decade older, a lot wiser and not exactly in the place she thought she’d be.
As she enters middle-age she has a whole new bunch of problems to deal with, and sets about talking to us about how (or how not to) tackle them.
If you’re a man, then this has a huge amount to say about the lesser 48% of the human race too, and about the wonderful, vast complexity of the relationships we sometimes have with each other. I found myself shouting “yes!”, and poking the page more than once as she writes about what makes long term relationships stable and sexy, “dad bods”, parenting, care duties, the problems besetting men in 2020, and, in general, about how we could all make the world a better place.
Funny and warm, yes - but it’s also wildly, wildly insightful about all of us.
I absolutely loved this novel - it is jaw-dropping, beautiful, heart wrenching and uplifting. It is made even more fascinating by the fact that the story was inspired by the life of the author’s own mother.
Betty was born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father and a white mother. She is the sixth of eight siblings and is the watchful one, the one who notices the darkness occurring all around her. But there is love too. Betty loves her father and her sisters fiercely. Her father fills her childhood with magical stories of her Cherokee ancestors, which ignite Betty’s own creativity. Betty’s way of coping with the violence, racism and poverty that she experiences is to write about it. She buries her stories deep in the ground that surrounds the house and this helps her to deal with the confusing world around her.
As Betty grows up, she begins to make sense of the world around her and realises that the only way to survive is to get away and carve out her own path.
This is a heart-breaking yet magical story which will particularly resonate with anyone who loved Tara Westover’s acclaimed memoir Educated.
You may have seen me rave on about how much I love the Young Adult books of former Laureate na nOg Sarah Crossan before, but this is her first, long awaited novel for adults.
Ana Kelly is a solicitor with a broken heart. She is happily married, just not to Connor, the married man with whom she’s currently having a relationship. One day, the phone rings in Ana’s office, and a woman is put through asking about a will made a few years ago as her husband has just passed away suddenly.
The caller is Connor’s wife and she has no idea who Ana is.
As the story flips back and forward from the present, we gradually see Ana and Connor’s past relationship revealed as one of the most universal of stories, as this beautiful portrayal of love between people who shouldn’t be in love unfolds in the most unusual way.
‘Here Is The Beehive’ is, like Sarah Crossan’s other work, exquisitely written in blank verse – it’s a single-sitting read and is utterly heartbreaking.
Strange Flowers is a lyrical, bitter-sweet family drama set in a small Catholic, rural village. The story begins in 1973 with the disappearance of 20-year-old Moll Gladney. Her bereft parents, tenant farmers Paddy and Kit Gladney, find their lives torn apart when one day their only child walks out the door and disappears. But, just as your heart is breaking for Paddy and Kit, Moll walks back into their lives five years later and acts as if nothing has happened. It takes a while for her to come clean about the 5 years she spent in London, but slowly, we learn about her time there. We gradually discover once again Moll is running away from her life, only this time it is her London life.
Nothing is the same for Moll or her family after her return. This is a story of running away, and of how your past always catches up with you. It’s also a story of a parent’s unconditional love for their child.
Donal Ryan writes so beautifully about life in small, claustrophobic communities in 1970s rural Ireland and perfectly captures everything - the gossip, the judgement, and the lack of privacy. His exquisite prose will have you savouring every word of this wonderful novel – he is quite simply a masterful storyteller.
If you read The Irish Times regularly, then you’ll know who Patrick Freyne is. His interviews and, in particular, his TV reviews are frequently the funniest and most entertaining pages in the paper - more than once I’ve actually wept laughing at his articles.
So therefore, needless to say, I had very high expectations of this, his first collection of non-fiction essays. I’m happy to say it delivers in fine fashion. Patrick has led a fairly extraordinary life, so it’s full of observances on everything from childlessness, mental health, his experience of working as a professional carer, through to being a member of a (fairly well known as it happens) band and throwing himself out of a plane at the age of 19.
Immensely readable, warm, human and very, very funny, ‘Ok Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea’ is the perfect read for these testing times.
Inspired by true events, this is a heart-warming historical novel set in Japanese occupied China during the second world war. It’s a section of the second world war that not very much has been written about.
The story is narrated from the viewpoints of school teacher, Elspeth Kent, and her student, Nancy Plummer. Elspeth has fled an unhappy life in England to teach at a missionary school in northern China. Ten year old Nancy is one of her star pupils. But then Japan declares war on the Allies and invades China. Overnight the Japanese soldiers storm in and occupy the school, changing all of their lives forever.
The book follows them through the school’s internment in Weihsein camp and their six year nightmare where they are subject to the cruelty of the Japanese guards.
The frightened children are reassured by their teachers’ valiant efforts to stick to a routine and continue with their education despite the awful circumstances. Elspeth Kent becomes the protector of her class and has to dig deep to be brave, resilient and creative to keep them fed and engaged.
Ultimately ‘The Bird in the Bamboo Cage’ is a wonderful story of resilience and triumph over adversity – a perfect read for these times.
The debut novel from Galway poet Elaine Feeney has had a buzz about it for a long time now (I first read it in February). Covid got in the way, but finally now you get a chance to enjoy it as much as I did.
Sinead is a young property developer with a secret she’s keeping from everyone, even those closest to her. She ends up in a hospital ward and from there, her story unfolds slowly revealing how she deals with what’s happening to her as she finds out more about the stories of her fellow patients.
What could be constricting and stifling (a lot of the novel takes place in one room!) instead ends up exploring Irish family dynamics, institutional abuse, and the Ireland of 2020.
It’s beautifully written too, and you can see there’s a poet’s eye at work here. ‘As You Were’ is destined to be one of the Irish debut books of the year.
In March 2017, Niamh Fitzpatrick’s life was changed forever. Her beloved sister Dara was killed in the Irish Coast Guard Rescue 116 helicopter crash. It was a tragedy that shook a nation as we all prayed for the bodies of the four victims to be found.
But not only was Niamh struggling with her sister’s sudden and shocking death, she was also grieving the break-up of her marriage and the realisation that she would never have children of her own.
Niamh is a psychologist and in this beautiful memoir, she walks us through the different forms that grief takes, depending on what you are grieving. She analyses the grief of giving up the hope of being a mother, the grief of a marriage break up and the grief of a sudden death in the family.
I stayed up until 3am to ‘Tell Me the Truth About Loss’. I cried a lot, and also learnt a lot.
This is a book about grief - deep, raw, rip-your-heart-out grief. Niamh’s observations, study and insight into the act of grieving are both astonishing and very enlightening. But ultimately this is a tender love story from one sister to another, as Niamh tries to find a way to honour her beloved sister’s memory.