I’ve just done a count of the books beside my bed waiting to be read. There are nearly one hundred. If I set up shelves and organised them properly, I could have sections for history, fiction, literature, children’s, poetry, cookbooks, self-help, memoir. There’s even a picture book, and several book-related magazines.
I’ve been gathering them during the year, hoping a week will magically appear when all I have to do is read. That scenario hasn’t happened yet, but I’m keeping an eye on the week between Christmas and New Year as my Reading Time. If it comes off, here are the ten books I’ll be choosing from the top of the pile.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.
A story by acclaimed YA writer Patrick Ness, from an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, with striking, spiky black and white illustrations by Jim Kay. A tale of loss and grief, the author Meg Rosoff described it as ‘exceptional …This is storytelling as it should be – harrowing, lyrical and transcendent.’ It’s been recommended to me many times over.
The Club by Christy O’Connor
A nominee for the Irish Book Awards and winner of the William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year, the subtitle says it all: Hunger, Conflict and Heartbreak – An Extraordinary Year in the Life of a GAA Club. It’s a world I know little about and this book sounds like a great introduction to it.
Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton.
I read the author’s previous psychological thriller Sister in one sitting earlier this year and was gripped by its twists and turns. This will be my scary Christmas read.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Set in Jazz Age Paris of the 1920s, this is a fictional retelling of the ill-fated marriage between Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson. It sounds like it has it all: love, ambition and betrayal.
A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle.
The new children’s book by one of my favourite authors, the story of four generations of one Irish family. I know it will make me laugh and cry.
Results Not Typical by Catherine Ryan Howard.
Cork-based writer Catherine had great success with Mousetrapped: A Year and a Bit in Orlando, Florida, her self-published account of her brief career in Disneyland. This is her first novel, a corporate satire set in the weight-watching-world.
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal.
Winner of the 2010 Costa Biography Award, described as part-treasure hunt, part family saga, as the author traces a collection of heirlooms through generations of his family around the world over the course of a century.
The Tenderloin by John Butler
Set in 1994, a novel about a young Dublin man’s move to San Francisco and rite-of-passage against a backdrop of joblessness, homelessness, relationship woes and something called the Internet.
Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa.
Again, this has been recommended to me many times, with a friend describing it as one of the most powerful and moving books she’s read in years. It’s a story of friendship, adolescence, love and ordinary life, beginning during tumultuous events in Palestine in 1948, and moving across time and countries to modern-day Israel and the USA.
The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore.
I love reading stories about complicated families as much as I love writing them, and this one looks like a cracker. Set in Burlington, Vermont, it’s the tale of the Owen family, and what happens when, one by one, the three adult children give up their grown-up lives and head home to live with their parents again.
(c) Monica McInerney, December 2011.
Monica McInerney is a bestselling Australian-born author and has been published internationally. Her articles and short stories have appeared in various newspapers, magazines and anthologies. Those Faraday Girls, won the General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2008 Australian Book Industry Awards. All Together Now was shortlisted in the same category in the 2009 Australian Book Industry Awards. In 2006, Monica was the main ambassador for the Australian Government’s Books Alive national reading campaign, for which she wrote a limited edition novella called Odd One Out. She worked as a book publicist for ten years, promoting authors such as Roald Dahl, Tim Winton, Edna O’Brien and Max Fatchen. For the past nineteen years she and her Irish husband have been moving back and forth between Australia and Ireland. They currently reside in Dublin.
Monica McInerney is the author of A Taste For It (2000), Upside Down Inside Out (2002), Spin the Bottle (2003),The Alphabet Sisters (2004), Family Baggage (2005), These Faraday Girls (2008), At Home with the Templetons (2010) and the short story collection, All Together Now (2009)