Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day: Books from and about Ireland

It's St. Patrick's Day, so here's a list of books about Ireland or by Irish writers (or both!)


Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd. In 1981, Fergus's brother is in prison and on hunger strike. Fergus is being blackmailed into being an IRA runner. When he finds body of a murdered child on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, he thinks about not mentioning it, not wanting to set off retaliation killings, but it turns out the body isn't recent-- it's 2000 years old.

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. Eve and Benny have been friends forever in tiny Knockglen. When they go to university in Dublin in the 1950s, everything changes. There are new friends, and boys, and hidden secrets at school and at home. Published for adults, this was a huge favorite with my friends when we were teens.

When Irish Guys Are Smiling by Suzanne Supplee. Delk applies to study abroad in an Irish castle to avoid being a debutante at home in Nashville. After her mother's death and her father's new wife (who's only 10 years older than Delk!) she can't handle it. So she's off to Ireland and finding love and healing in the form of the hot Irish boy down the road. After The Sound of Munich, this one is my favorite of the Students Across the Seven Seas series.


The New Policeman by Kate Thompson. All JJ's mother wants for her birthday is more time. JJ thinks about how he can find it and discovers Tír na n'Óg, the magical land of eternal youth, which explains a lot about JJ's family and village. The first in a series full of Irish mythology and folk lore, follow it with The Last of the High Kings.

Scepter of the Ancients by Derek Landy. Thanks to Stephanie's dead uncle, she now owns a house that holds a magical artifact that some serious bad guys want. Luckily, Skullduggery Pleasant, a walking, talking, sharply dressed skeleton is around to protect and train her. The first in a seriously fun and exciting series, you'll want to have Playing with Fire on hand.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. Artemis Fowl is a multi-millionaire criminal mastermind. He has the moves and tech to make James Bond jealous, and he'll need them, for his latest scheme involves kidnapping a fairy and holding her for ransom. He may get more than he bargained for. The first in a long running and beloved series, follow it with The Arctic Incident.


The Commitments by Roddy Doyle. In 1960s Dublin, some working class kids get together to form a band, to bring soul music (and also, an actual soul) to the town. Published for adults, older teens will still love this hilarious novel of angry kids playing music.

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. Two brothers are hunted by evil magicians and slay demons. But there's more to it with family secrets about what's really happening, and why. The first in an popular trilogy, follow it with The Demon's Covenant. Demon's Lexicon takes place in London, but Brennan is Irish.

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. Nicholas Flamel was born in 1330. 700 years later, he owns a bookstore in San Francisco. But dark forces are after his secret and will stop at nothing to get it. Luckily, his new employee Josh, and his twin sister may just be the ones that have been prophesiesed. The first in the long running series, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, follow it with The Magician.

Who are your favorite Irish writers? What are your favorite books set in Ireland?

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