Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Believe in Santa Claus (really)

If you go to -- the website and facebook page for Hay House USA -- you'll find a little feature article by me entitled "Is Santa Real?" I was delighted when I was asked to write a piece for the site and I'm now listed amongst the many illustrious contributors including H.H. the Dalai Lama! I'm also counting this as me officially getting into the Christmas spirit along with eating my first mince pies yesterday and heading into the Big Smoke (Dublin) today to do some serious shopping. It has begun.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Doris Lessing (1919-2013)

Two of my heroes died recently - one a brilliant writer and the other a brilliant statesman. Since this is my Book Blog, I'll talk about Doris Lessing here while I will speak of Nelson Mandela on my personal blog. I've reviewed my favourite of Lessing's books in earlier posts below, i.e. the Canopus in Argos: Archives series which I am compelled to re-read from time to time. Works of genius, each one of them, so different in style and theme. The two other great favourites are Briefing for a Descent into Hell and Memoirs of a Survivor. All these works she termed "inner space fiction" which dopey critics changed to "space fiction" entirely missing her point (which I quote in my new book)"For there is never anywhere to go but in." Though I loved her very first book, I was never a big fan of what I call her bourgeois women's literature. I can't help my class-based tastes, the same judgement applies to most of Margaret Atwood's work and the two Amis's and so many other middle-class writers. I just can't get excited about middle-class lives, middle-class characters, middle-class mores etc. They are just so ... dull. (Loved Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale, of course.) As with Mandela, the tragedy of Lessing's loss is mitigated by the grand age she reached: 94. Her reaction to being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature at the age of 88 was hilarious: "Oh Christ, now I'll have to write a speech."

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Book Launch

Not sure if this will work. It's a little video of my book launch last Friday in Charlie Byrne's Bookshop in Galway. Thank you to many including Charlie Byrne, owner, Vinny Browne, manager, Prof Dáibhí O'Cróinín, my speaker, and last but not least, my friend Maura Walsh, playing the harp. I will be posting about her early music festival in the new year around the time it's happening. Meanwhile good news about PEOPLE OF THE GREAT JOURNEY: it is listed in the Eason's Christmas catalogue under "Books of the Year" (wa-hoo) and my publishers are already talking about the need for a reprint. Not bad when it's only out a few weeks. (Video: Brian Blennerhasset, Butler Sims Ltd for Hay House UK.)