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Our pick of the best books for grown-ups to give or receive this Christmas 2020. So, have a browse and discover some great new reads. And remember – we offer Free Postage in ROI on orders over €30 – just choose the Free Postage option at checkout.

  • The Irish language has thirty-two words for field. Among them are: Geamhar - a field of corn-grass Tuar - a field for cattle at night Reidhlean - a field for games or dancing Cathairin - a field with a fairy-dwelling in it The richness of a language closely tied to the natural landscape offered our ancestors a more magical way of seeing the world. Before we cast old words aside, let us consider the sublime beauty and profound oddness of the ancient tongue that has been spoken on this island for almost 3,000 years. In Thirty-Two Words for Field, Manchán Magan meditates on these words - and the nuances of a way of life that is disappearing with them. ISBN 9780717187973
  • Patrick Freyne has tried a lot of stupid ideas in his life. Now, in his scintillating debut, he is here to tell you about them: like the time (aged 5) he opened a gate and let a horse out of its field, just to see what would happen; or the time (aged 19) he jumped out of a plane for charity, even though he didn't much care about the charity and was sure he'd end up dead; or the time (aged old enough to know better) he used a magazine as a funnel for fuel when the petrol cap on his band's van broke. He has also learned a few things: about the power of group song; about the beauty of physically caring for another human being; about childlessness; about losing friends far too young. Life as seen through the eyes of Patrick Freyne is stranger, funnier and a lot more interesting than life as we generally know it. Like David Sedaris or Nora Ephron, he creates an environment all his own - fundamentally comic, sometimes moving, always deeply humane. 'Patrick Freyne is a comic genius' Marian Keyes 'Clever, lovely and great, great fun' Roddy Doyle ISBN 9781844884889
  • Old Ireland in Colour brings to life the rich history of Ireland and the Irish through the colour restoration of these stunning images of all walks of Irish life throughout nineteenth and twentieth century. From the chaos of the Civil War to the simple beauty of the islands; from legendary revolutionaries to modest fisherfolk, every image has been exquisitely transformed and every page bursting with life. Using a combination of cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology and his own historical research, John Breslin has meticulously colourised these pictures with breath-taking attention to detail and authenticity. With over 250 photographs from all four provinces, and accompanied by fascinating captions by historian Sarah-Anne Buckley, Old Ireland in Colour breathes new life into the scenes we thought we knew, and brings our ancestors back to life before our eyes. ISBN 9781785373701
  • A true original. In this stunningly unusual prose debut, Doireann Ni Ghriofa sculpts essay and autofiction to explore inner life and the deep connection felt between two writers centuries apart. In the 1700s, an Irish noblewoman, on discovering her husband has been murdered, drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary poem. In the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy. On encountering the poem, she becomes obsessed with its parallels with her own life, and sets out to track down the rest of the story. A devastating and timeless tale about one woman freeing her voice by reaching into the past and finding another's. ISBN 9781916434264
  • An anthology of the very best Irish short stories, selected by Sinéad Gleeson, author of Constellations. There have been many anthologies of the short story as it developed in Ireland, but never a collection like this. The Art of the Glimpse is a radical revision of the canon of the Irish story, uniting classic works with neglected writers and marginalised voices - women, LGBT writers, Traveller folk-tales, lost 19th-century voices and the first wave of 'new Irish' writers from elsewhere now making a life in Ireland. Sinéad Gleeson brings together stories ranging from the sublime to the downright bizarre, from classics to the new generation of writers, and from well known names to previously unpublished talent. The collection paints a tremendous spectrum of experience: the story of a prank come good by Bram Stoker; Sally Rooney on the love languages of the new generation; Donal Ryan on the pains of ageing; Edna O'Brien on political entanglements; James Joyce on losing a loved one; and the internal monologue of a coma sufferer by Marian Keyes. List of contributing authors: Samuel Beckett, Sally Rooney, Melatu Uche Okirie, William Trevor, Marian Keyes, Kevin Barry, Edna O'Brien, Claire-Louise Bennett, Sheridan Le Fanu, Danielle McLaughlin, Mairtin O Cathain, Frances Molloy, Blindboy Boatclub, Elizabeth Bowen, Frank O'Connor, Chiamaka Emyi-Amadi, John McGahern, Anne Enright, Mike McCormack, Maeve Brennan, Oein de Bhairduin, Eimear McBride, Sean O Faolain, Cathy Sweeney. ISBN 9781788548809
  • In his fascinating and thought-provoking new book, Professor Luke O'Neill, one of the leading voices of authority during the COVID-19 pandemic, grapples with life's biggest questions and tells us what science has to say about them:Do we have control over our lives?Can we escape working in bullshit jobs?Must we vaccinate our children?Are men and women's brains different?Will we destroy the planet?Covering topics from global pandemics to gender, addiction to euthanasia, Luke's trademark easy wit and clever pop-culture references deconstruct the science to make complex questions accessible. Arriving at science's definitive answers to some of the most controversial topics human beings have to grapple with, Never Mind the B#ll*ocks is a celebration of science and hard facts in a time of fake news and sometimes unhelpful groupthink. ISBN 9780717186396
  • Cocooning with her ninety-year-old Aunt is not the life Helen imagined when she came home to Dublin after 30 years in London. Bickering, bitching, masking-up for rare outings, The Stairlift Ascends is a Twitter diary of our time trying to live together, surviving the pandemic: and each other! Aunt: *calling loudly from sitting room* Helen, can you help me? Me: *drops everything, rushes to front room, expecting her to have fallen* Aunt: The cat’s on my lap, could you pour me a small Jameson? Cocooning with my ninety-year-old Aunt is not the life I’d imagined when I came back to live in Dublin after 30 years of being a high-flying media executive in London. From the Groucho Club to our North Dublin coastal cocoon, it was back to earth with a bump. Funny and frustrating, living with the Aunt in our Covid bubble has been quite the eye-opener. Bickering, bitching, masking-up for rare outings, The Stairlift Ascends is a Twitter diary of our time trying to live together, of surviving the pandemic ... and each other. Love, lashings of apple tart, laughter and a longing for trips to Arnotts have seen us through, so far ... A hugely popular, funny and compassionate view on 2020 from @HelenORahilly ISBN 9781788492539
  • Nessa Crowley's murderer has been protected by silence for ten years. Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth. On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella's wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley's lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder. The killer couldn't have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever. Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella's carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry's guilt and Keelin's complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa. In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O'Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close. ISBN 9781784298906
  • Over the course of fifteen years, John Delaney ran the Football Association of Ireland as his own personal fiefdom. He had his critics, but his power was never seriously challenged until last year, when Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan published a sequence of stories in the Sunday Times containing damaging revelations about his personal compensation and the parlous financial situation of the FAI. Delaney's reputation as a great financial manager was left in tatters. He resigned under pressure, and the FAI was left hoping for a massive bail-out from the Irish taxpayer. In Champagne Football, Tighe and Rowan dig deep into the story of Delaney's career and of the FAI's slide into ruin. They show how he surrounded himself with people whose personal loyalty he could count on, and a board that failed to notice that the association's finances were shot. They detail Delaney's skilful cultivation of opinion-formers outside the FAI. And they document the culture of excess that Delaney presided over and benefited from, to the detriment of the organization he led. Champagne Football is a gripping, sometimes darkly hilarious and often enraging piece of reporting by the award-winning journalists who finally pulled back the curtain on the FAI's mismanagement. ISBN 9781844884933
  • Why the moon travels by Oein DeBharduin is a collection of haunting folktales, a retelling of stories from the Traveller oral tradition in lyrical prose and beautifully illustrated by artist Leanne McDonagh. The book will be the first of its kind published in Ireland that captures several aspects of the rich Traveller culture, expression and intricate understandings. ISBN 9781916493506
  • In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it's too late? 'Smart, compassionate, warm, moving and so VERY funny. I smiled a million times. This book will make a lot of people very, very happy' Marian Keyes. 'Robert Galbraith meets Tom Sharpe. Plot driven with great characters, I'm doing actual lols on every page. I don't ever want to finish this book!' Philippa Perry. ISBN 9780241425459
  • “For over thirty years, bodies have been my business. The lucky ones have died peacefully in their own bed, surrounded by loved ones. But, life, or should I say death, is not always like that. This is your opportunity to duck under the police tape with me. Walk carefully in my footprints and follow me into the scene but don’t touch anything, just look. Remember Locard’s principle, every contact leaves a trace . . .” Marie Cassidy was Ireland’s State Pathologist from 2004 until 2018. During that time, she was involved in many high-profile cases, including the Stardust exhumation and the deaths of Siobhan Kearney, Rachel O’Reilly, Robert Holohan and Tom O’Gorman. In Beyond the Tape, she invites us into the world of forensic pathology, and shares her remarkable personal journey, from working-class Glasgow to becoming Ireland’s head pathologist. A fascinating, behind-the-scenes account of real-life forensics, the intricate processes central to solving modern crime, and the stories from behind the crime tape. ISBN 9781529352573
  • Is it possible to be young, progressive and a Catholic? Ellen Coyne is about to find out ... 'You know, this isn't a Catholic country anymore,' someone proudly declared in a Dublin pub where Ellen Coyne was celebrating the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. About to turn 30, like many her age, Ellen had left the Church a long time ago, but she had never stopped believing in and talking to God. Now, she suddenly realised she wasn't quite ready for this statement to be true, however much of a contradiction it seemed to present with some of her most strongly held views. Abandoning the Church had been an act of protest, a form of punishment. However, she began to wonder: who had really lost the most? Why should those who did the damage to the Church get to keep it and all its good bits, like going to Mass for the ritual and the community, having a clear guide for living a better life, and the comfort of believing it's not the end when somebody dies?But how could she ally herself to an institution she doesn't entirely agree with? In her first book, Ellen tries to figure out how much she really wants to go back to the Church, and if it is even the right thing to do. A stunningly intelligent and thoughtful debut work of non-fiction. ISBN 9780717188949
  • Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time - her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone's moving to the suburbs. There's no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who's caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia. Dolly Alderton's debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now. ISBN 9780241465332
  • In this rapturous third collection, we encounter a ragbag of West of Ireland characters, many on the cusp between love and catastrophe, heartbreak and epiphany, resignation and hope. These stories show an Ireland in a condition of great flux but also as a place where older rhythms, and an older magic, somehow persist. Since his landmark debut collection, There Are Little Kingdoms in 2007, and its award-winning sequel in 2012, Dark Lies the Island, Kevin Barry has been acclaimed as one of the world's most accomplished and gifted short-story writers. Barry's lyric intensity, the vitality of his comedy, and the darkness of his vision recall the work of masters of the genre like Flannery O'Connor and William Trevor, but he has forged a style which is patently his own. ISBN 9781782116219
  • Shame and longing can flow through generations, but the secrets of the heart will not be buried for ever. It is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for a wedding. The day before the ceremony a group of young friends, including bride and groom, drive out to the beach. There is an accident. Three survive, but three are killed. The lives of the families are shattered and the rifts between them are felt throughout the small town. Connor is one of the survivors. But staying among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as living with the shame of having been the driver. He leaves the only place he knows for another life, taking his secrets with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he makes a home - of sorts - for himself in New York. The city provides shelter and possibility for the displaced, somewhere Connor can forget his past and forge a new life. But the secrets, the unspoken longings and regrets that have come to haunt those left behind will not be silenced. And before long, Connor will have to confront his past. Graham Norton's powerful and timely novel of emigration and return demonstrates his keen understanding of the power of stigma and secrecy - with devastating results. ISBN 9781473665170
  • Out of stock
    As Governor of Galicia, SS Brigadesfuhrer Otto Freiherr von Wachter presided over an authority on whose territory hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles were killed, including the family of the author's grandfather. By the time the war ended in May 1945, he was indicted for 'mass murder'. Hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the Poles and the British, as well as groups of Jews, Wachter went on the run. He spent three years hiding in the Austrian Alps before making his way to Rome and being taken in by a Vatican bishop. He remained there for three months. While preparing to travel to Argentina on the 'ratline' he died unexpectedly, in July 1949, a few days after having lunch with an 'old comrade' whom he suspected of having been recruited by the Americans. In THE RATLINE Philippe Sands offers a unique account of the daily life of a Nazi fugitive, the love between Wachter and his wife Charlotte, who continued to write regularly to each other while he was on the run, and a fascinating insight into life in Rome and among American and Soviet spies active at the start of the Cold War. Using modern medical expertise, the door is unlocked to a mystery that haunts Wachter's youngest child, who believes his father was a good man - what was Wachter doing while in hiding, and what exactly caused his death? Dublin Festival of History 2020 Event - Sunday 4th October 7pm. Watch Philippe Sands in conversation with Robert Gerwarth. Booking required HERE. ISBN 9781474608138
  • In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency - a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil. Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation's highest office. A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective - the story of one man's bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of "hope and change," and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. ISBN 9780241491515
  • Between life and death there is a library... When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren't always what she imagined they'd be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live? ISBN 9781786892720/strong>
  • Out of stock
    Vol 6 of Winter Papers, Ireland’s annual anthology for the arts, is published by Curlew Editions. It offers fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, visual arts, along with craft interviews and in-conversation pieces on writing, film, theatre, photography and music. – ‘a treasure trove of soul fuel with deep roots in Irish soil’ Irish Times – Picked as an ‘Irish art book of the year’ Sunday Times Ireland Edited by Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith. Kevin Barry is the award winning author of the novels Beatlebone and City of Bohane and the story collections Dark Lies the Island and There are Little Kingdoms. Olivia Smith has published widely as an academic. ISBN 9780993302954
  • Richard Nairn has spent a lifetime studying - and learning from - nature. When an opportunity arose for him to buy a small woodland filled with mature native trees beside a fast-flowing river, he set about understanding all its moods and seasons, discovering its wildlife secrets and learning how to manage it properly. Wildwoods is a fascinating account of his journey over a typical year. Along the way, he uncovers the ancient roles of trees in Irish life, he examines lost skills such as coppicing and he explores new uses of woodlands for forest schools, foraging and rewilding. Ultimately, Wildwoods inspires all of us to pay attention to what nature can teach us. 'A book to inspire anyone who wants Ireland to grow more Irish trees.' Michael Viney. ISBN 9780717190218
  • If there's one word to describe Aisling, it's 'organised', and with this little book her creators Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen are providing Aislings everywhere with the perfect tool to stay on top of things. Each month kicks off with an Aisling-tastic inspirational quote, with each week clearly laid out so you can tell at a glance how many baby showers you have or when your car tax is due. There's also a space to out write the month's attainable goal. Do you want to take up Zumba? Or learn 'Maniac 2000' on the tin whistle? Get out your Good Pen and write it down. It's all about being intentional. And then once you achieve your goals you get to tick them off, which is really the only reason to make a list in the first place. Once you get into the habit of using it,you won't be able to imagine your life without it, sort of like how ludicrous the world would be without smartphones or Dolmio Stir In!It's the essential diary for every Aisling - plan your weeks, prioritise goals and never forget another birthday! ISBN 9780717190188
  • 'Food, for me, is a constant pleasure: I like to think greedily about it, reflect deeply on it, learn from it; it provides comfort, inspiration, meaning and beauty... More than just a mantra, "cook, eat, repeat" is the story of my life. 'Cook, Eat, Repeat is a delicious and delightful combination of recipes intertwined with narrative essays about food, all written in Nigella's engaging and insightful prose. Whether asking 'What is a Recipe?' or declaring death to the Guilty Pleasure, Nigella's wisdom about food and life comes to the fore, with tasty new recipes that readers will want to return to again and again. 'The recipes I write come from my life, my home', says Nigella, and in this book she shares the rhythms and rituals of her kitchen through over 100 new recipes that make the most of her favourite ingredients. Dedicated chapters include 'A is for Anchovy' (a celebration of the bacon of the sea), 'Rhubarb', 'A Loving Defence of Brown Food', a suitably expansive chapter devoted to family dinners, plus inspiration for vegan feasts, solo suppers and new ideas for Christmas. Within these chapters are recipes for all seasons and tastes: Burnt Onion and Aubergine Dip; Butternut with Beetroot, Chilli and Ginger Sauce; Brown Butter Colcannon; Spaghetti with Chard and Anchovies; Chicken with Garlic Cream Sauce; Beef Cheeks with Port and Chestnuts; and Wide Noodles with Lamb in Aromatic Broth, to name a few. Those with a sweet tooth will delight in Rhubarb and Custard Trifle; Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake; Rice Pudding Cake; and Cherry and Almond Crumble. ISBN 9781784743666
  • Brilliant, heart-breaking, tender, and highly original - poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born - a history whose epicentre is rooted in Vietnam - and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to the American moment, immersed as it is in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one's own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard. With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years. ISBN 9781529110685
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