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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 Winter. Wherever you cosy up to a book, 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 with our new click-and-collect option. Also, be sure to check out our #EasonMustReads on our Eason social channels!

About Sinéad & Rick

Sinéad Moriarty

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!

Rick O'Shea

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!


SINEAD AND RICK’S MUST READS - WINTER SELECTION

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

In 2017, two determined and dogged reporters, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey began their investigation into Harvey Weinstein.

This groundbreaking book is their account of gathering the evidence that led to the story that ended Harvey Weinstein's career, and that also sparked the #MeToo movement.

During months of confidential interviews with top actresses, former Weinstein employees, and other sources, countless incidences of sexual assault were discovered along with secret payouts and nondisclosure agreements that helped to hide Weinstein’s relentless sexual harassment and abuse.

Within days of the story breaking, women all over the world came forward with their own traumatic stories. Over the next twelve months, hundreds of men from every walk of life and industry were outed following allegations of wrongdoing. But did too much change—or not enough?

What I really like about this book is that it takes a serious look at whether conversations around #MeToo have become too divisive, and what we can do going forward to manage that.

This insightful account of one of the most important news stories to emerge this generation makes for essential reading.

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Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

If you’ve ever watched any of the three programmes made on the notorious Westboro Baptist Church starting with “The Most Hated Family In America” in 2007 and found yourself both amazed and appalled by what went on there, then this book is completely unmissable.

Megan Phelps-Roper was a vocal and devout member of the church in the first programme. However, she gradually became disillusioned with it, and eventually escaped with her sister back in 2012. In ‘Unfollow’ she tells the sometimes surprising story of the origins of the church itself (astonishingly, Fred Phelps, her grandfather and the founder of the church, was a leading civil rights lawyer in the 60s), and details what it was like to grow up as a part of the family often referred to as ‘the Most Hated Family in America’. I guarantee you it’s not what you think it was like. It also reveals how she came to question her entire life as a result of, amongst other things, talking to and engaging with people on Twitter.

For me, as someone who has been intently interested in the Westboro Baptist Church story for years now, this is an astonishing and eye-opening story of redemption and forgiveness.

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The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

‘The Dutch House’ has all the ingredients of a dark fairy tale - the beautiful house, the distant father, the disappeared mother, and the cruel stepmother and stepsisters.

Cyril Conroy, a self-made property magnate, surprises his wife, Elna, with the purchase of a mansion – known locally as the Dutch House. But Elna absolutely hates the house and is completely overwhelmed by it.

Not long after moving in, Elna walks out the front door abandoning her two young children, Maeve and Danny. The heartbroken children are left with their cold and distant father.

Cyril soon remarries a pretty young widow Andrea who moves her two young daughters into the house and begins to work on getting rid of Maeve and Danny. Andrea got married for money and is determined to inherit everything, including the house.

When Cyril dies of a heart attack, Andrea kicks her stepchildren out of the house and locks the door. Exiled from their home, Maeve and Danny find themselves penniless and orphaned. They realise that all they have to count on is one another.

The novel is narrated by Danny and is a sweeping account that covers almost five decades of their lives. It’s an incredible story about an obsession with a house and a fractured family, but most of all, it’s a book about the powerful bond between siblings. I loved it.

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Gotta Get Theroux this by Louis Theroux

Chances are that if you’ve watched the BBC at any stage over the last decade, then you’ll have come across some of the work of the acclaimed documentary maker Louis Theroux. Most famously he’s covered subjects from the Westboro Baptist Church through to Jimmy Savile in his unique trademark style. In this autobiography, he tells the story of how he got started, and also how all of those programmes came in to being.

Unsurprisingly Theroux comes across in much the same way he does on TV – fascinated in people, nerdy, but with incredible flashes of insight at important moments. He’s honest, tortures himself sometimes (particularly on the subject of Saville), and shows a lot of his own personal uncertainty not just about certain programmes but about entire parts of his career. It’s refreshing and unusual and gives some of us in similar circumstances a little hope that maybe we’re not all messing it up after all.

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Barefoot Pilgrimage by Andrea Corr

In ‘Barefoot Pilgrimage’, Andrea Corr takes a wistful and lyrical look back on the huge success of one of Ireland’s most successful ever bands, ‘The Corrs’, with a unique insight and understanding of what it all meant, and also it affected them as people. She reflects on the death of her mother at a young age, and how that affected her and her family and, more recently, she talks about coming to terms with the loss of her beloved father.

Andrea also talks about her own struggle to become a parent, and the subsequent joy that her children have brought to her life. But she is honest about how motherhood affects her career, and the choices and sacrifices she now has to make.

She writes the book the way she writes lyrics, which makes it not only unusual, but also a pleasure to read. It’s interspersed with original poems, which flip back and forth throughout key times throughout Andrea’s life. ‘Barefoot Pilgrimage’ also emphasises the importance of creativity, and how essential is it for our own personal fulfilment.

This compelling and honest memoir is a beautifully written meditation on family, music and creativity.

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The Body by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson’s ‘The Body’ is his first new book in four years and is a fascinating read where he flies through a myriad of topics relating to, well, ‘The Body’. From the blood coursing throughout our veins through to revealing how our brain works he manages to do all this in his usual entertaining style, using a combination of scientific facts together with fascinating anecdotes about experiments that have helped inform the knowledge we have gained about how the body works today.

It’s also full of genuinely fascinating stories of the men and women who made discoveries that sometimes went on to change the face of modern medicine, but, who have for various reasons, been forgotten.

Bryson’s unique take on how our body works is jam-packed with a brilliant treasure trove of mind-boggling and fascinating facts.

This makes it the perfect Christmas gift for that awkward family member who is tricky to buy for, and notoriously hard to please – we all have one in our lives and this is perfect for them.

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Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

I loved Elizabeth Strout’s previous novel ‘Olive Kitteridge’, so I was thrilled to hear about this follow up. I’m equally delighted to say that having read ‘Olive Again’, it definitely does not disappoint, and has many similar characteristics of her earlier novel.

In ‘Olive Again’, Strout weaves together the stories of the various characters living in Crosby, Maine, all tied together by the formidable Olive, who is crustier than ever and just as unapologetic as she was when we first met her.

When we first meet Olive in this book, it’s two years after her husband Henry’s death. She is a little less prickly and more introspective now that she is in her eighties, and experiencing loss and loneliness (she isn’t lonely for long –but I won’t spoil that part of the story for you!).

What I love about Elizabeth Strout’s writing is that she reminds us that life is a struggle for everyone despite appearances to the contrary. In this little town, we meet characters dealing with loneliness, infidelity, alcoholism, ill health, aging, death and regrets, but there is also friendship, romance, love and empathy.

This is a wonderful novel from a keen and astute observer of human nature, and in my opinion, it cements Elizabeth Strout’s reputation as one of the finest writers of this generation.

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Akin by Emma Donoghue

Noah is a retired widower living in an affluent part of New York. When his sister passes away she leaves him a sum of money with the one condition that he uses it to have some fun. With this in mind he decides to visit the city he grew up in but hasn’t seen since he was a child – Nice in the South of France. Not just for fun, but also to investigate the true meaning behind old photos which hint that his mother had a shady wartime past.

Enter Michael, the 11-year-old mobile phone addicted, foul mouthed, Brooklynite great-nephew he has never met. Michael’s mother has just been sent to prison and Noah has been contacted by the authorities, as he has been identified as the child’s only living blood relative. It subsequently transpires that if Noah doesn’t agree to take his grand-nephew on for the foreseeable future, Michael will go into the state care system. Reluctantly, Noah must bring Michael with him on his eagerly awaited holiday of a lifetime.

This is a hugely enjoyable warm, human odd couple adventure. Part detective story, part coming together of two lonely people at the opposite ends of their lives who are, ultimately to each other, the only family they have left.

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