TBR Thursday 112 – The Begorrathon Poll!

Reading Ireland Month – March 2017

ireland-month-17The lovely Cathy over at 746 Books  is again co-hosting Reading Ireland Month 2017 with the, I’m sure, equally lovely Niall at Raging Fluff . This is one of my favourite blogging events in the calendar, even if it does throw my already shaky schedule into major disarray each year.

I told Cathy I didn’t have many Irish books on my TBR this year because I’d read them all last year. But when I actually began to look, lo and behold! Somehow zillions seem to have crept back on over the last few months. This may be down to the fact that I tend to love Irish writing – partly because it’s often such high quality, of course, but also partly because Irish culture and the culture of my own West of Scotland are so linked and intermingled that I feel at home when reading about Ireland – the characters are familiar to me and the society is wholly recognisable.

So I have one novel by an Irish author already scheduled for March, and a couple of short story collections that I’ll at least dip into…

The Begorrathon Poll!

But that still leaves several books by Irish authors on my TBR and sadly there’s no way I can fit them all into March, though I will read them all eventually. So I thought I’d ask for your help in picking just one of these for a Begorrathon read. Some of them are review copies and haven’t been published yet. I’ve shortlisted down to five…

days-without-endDays Without End by Sebastian Barry

The Blurb says: Thomas McNulty, aged barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine in Ireland, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas goes on to fight in the Indian Wars—against the Sioux and the Yurok—and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in. Moving from the plains of Wyoming to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona, Days Without End is a fresh and haunting portrait of the most fateful years in American history and is a novel never to be forgotten.

* * * * *

the-hearts-invisible-furiesThe Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Blurb says: Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he? In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

* * * * *

house-of-namesHouse of Names by Colm Toibin

The Blurb says: “I have been acquainted with the smell of death.” So begins Clytemnestra’s tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city from which her husband King Agamemnon left when he set sail with his army for Troy. Clytemnestra rules Mycenae now, along with her new lover Aegisthus, and together they plot the bloody murder of Agamemnon on the day of his return after nine years at war.

In House of Names, Colm Tóibín brings a modern sensibility and language to an ancient classic, and gives this extraordinary character new life, so that we not only believe Clytemnestra’s thirst for revenge, but applaud it. He brilliantly inhabits the mind of one of Greek myth’s most powerful villains to reveal the love, lust, and pain she feels. Told in fours parts, this is a fiercely dramatic portrait of a murderess, who will herself be murdered by her own son, Orestes. It is Orestes’ story, too: his capture by the forces of his mother’s lover Aegisthus, his escape and his exile. And it is the story of the vengeful Electra, who watches over her mother and Aegisthus with cold anger and slow calculation, until, on the return of her brother, she has the fates of both of them in her hands.  

* * * * *

the-city-of-shadowsThe City of Shadows by Michael Russell

The Blurb says: Dublin 1934: Detective Stefan Gillespie arrests a German doctor and encounters Hannah Rosen desperate to find her friend Susan, a Jewish woman who had become involved with a priest, and has now disappeared. When the bodies of a man and woman are found buried in the Dublin mountains, it becomes clear that this case is about more than a missing person. Stefan and Hannah traces the evidence all the way across Europe to Danzig. In a strange city where the Nazi Party is gaining power, Stefan and Hannah are inching closer to the truth and soon find themselves in grave danger…

* * * * *

sirenSiren by Annemarie Neary

The Blurb says: Róisín Burns has spent the past twenty years becoming someone else; her life in New York is built on lies. A figure from her Belfast childhood flashes up on the news: Brian Lonergan has also reinvented himself. He is now a rising politician in a sharp suit. But scandal is brewing in Ireland and Róisín knows the truth.

Armed with the evidence that could ruin Lonergan, she travels back across the Atlantic to the remote Lamb Island to hunt him down. But Lonergan is one step ahead; when Róisín arrives on the island, someone else is waiting for her…

* * * * *


Please vote for the novel you would most like to read a review of as part of Reading Ireland Month, or vote for more than one if you like. The book with most votes overall will win a coveted place in my March reading schedule, and if a miracle happens I might fit in number 2 as well.

Be sure and pick good ones, now!
The winner will be announced on my next TBR Thursday post.

* * * * * * *

And then why not pop on over to Cathy’s or Niall’s (links at top of post) to find out more about Reading Ireland Month 2017… it’s a lovely relaxed event and there’s always tons of variety in the various posts.

Ah, go on, now!
You must have at least one Irish book tucked away on your TBR…

* * * * * * *

54 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 112 – The Begorrathon Poll!

  1. These are all new authors for me. I don’t remember if I’ve read any novels by Irish writers though I have generally read books set in Ireland. But then, I have this annoying habit of reading books without finding out where the authors are from.

    • Ha! I don’t usually check where authors are from either – in fact I had to google a lot of authors to find out which ones on my TBR were Irish! But after joining in with Reading Ireland Month for the last couple of years, I’m much more aware of a lot of the authors that have come from there, and some are really great.

  2. Funny, isn’t it, how books just appear on the TBR without our even knowing it! I call that highly suspicious *eyes narrowing at Tommy and Tuppence.* I voted for one, but I think all of your choices look interesting, FictionFan. I’ll be interested in knowing what you think of them.

  3. I voted for the one that sounded best to me, although I was torn between two of them. And I can’t wait for the new Maeve Kerrigan book. I’ve preordered it. March 9th needs to come quickly. LOL

    • I’m looking forward to them all, but I’m hugely excited about the Toibin – sounds fantastic! Strictly speaking it’s not due for another month or two, but it’ll be no hardship if I have to bring it forward… 😀

  4. Okay, I voted, but I felt lonely in doing so because I’m less about the thrillers and more about the human stories, hence The Heart’s Invisible Furies, which sounds very interesting, especially since it doesn’t involve the Great Famine! Forgive me… Frank O’Connor’s Collected Stories sounds interesting, too.

    • I’m surprised the thrillers leapt into the lead but it all seems to be evening itself out now. I like the sound of them all, but The Heart’s Invisible Furies would be my introduction to Boyne and I’ve heard good things about him, so I’d be quite happy if it won. I read one Frank O’Connor story ages ago and loved it, so looking forward to dipping into that collection! D

  5. Once again, sight unseen, I’ve picked the one everybody else did — how does that happen?? Anyway, I think you saved the best for last, and I just might have to add Siren to my TBR, too. No, No, I can’t add anything else … not until I make room for it by subtracting something. Sigh. So many books, so little time!

  6. That was a hard decision – the first 3 especially are all ones I would like to hear more about (and then read myself)!
    As for the blurb of Boyne’s book… who would adopt a child and then tell him/her that they are not really part of the family! Grrr… (That’s the one I voted for, because I now need to know more about those Averys.)

    • I love the sound of all three of those too – hope they live up to the blurbs! I know – it sounds kinda harsh doesn’t it? But I guess some people were horrible to adopted kids back then – look at poor Anne before she got to Green Gables! I’ve heard good things about Boyne, so I have high hopes for it and will be quite happy if it wins… 😀

  7. House of Names sounds incredible! I have The Master on my list and now I kinda want to swap it for this one… My TBR is out of control, but this one really tempts me. What to do?? 🙂

      • Hrm. Very tempting. I’m not currently on NetGalley, but I’ve thought about using it. I’ve been hesitant because I don’t want to feel pressured to leave a positive review for a book I didn’t enjoy.

        • I NEVER leave a positive review for a book I didn’t enjoy! Half the books I blast – more – are from NetGalley, and it doesn’t seem to stop the publishers from giving me other ones – I guess they go on the basis that win some, lose some. I’d never take a book for review except on the understanding that my review will be 100% honest – good or bad. That’s why I don’t do these awful “blog tours” that have infested the blogosphere recently – too much pressure for glowing reviews on them.

          • I love your negative reviews! I didn’t realize so many were for NetGalley books. I’ll take a look and see if they’ll let me join. I’ve been frequenting used bookstores and getting great deals, but you can’t beat free! And new! 🙂

            Thanks for the feedback. It’s good to know there isn’t pressure to round up a book’s score.

            • Ok. I signed up! 😀 Thanks for the encouragement!

              Also, I just noticed that you’re reading Rebecca!!? That’s one of my favorites. My grandmother gave me a copy when I was 13 and I was blown away. I read it every five years or so—enough time that it feels “new” again—and I find new appreciation for it every time. (My Cousin Rachel is also amazing.)

            • Oh, good – I hope you enjoy it. Just don’t make the usual mistake of requesting too many all at once… 😉

              Just finished Rebecca – a fantastic book! It’s years since I last read it and I’d forgotten how great she is at using nature to heighten the atmosphere. And I think it’s even longer since I last read My Cousin Rachel – I don’t remember much about it, to be honest. A re-read is in order, one of these days…

    • Ah, it may have been you who tempted me into getting it then! Haha! But I won’t get through them all – not even if I give up sleep for the month – no forward planning, that’s my problem… 😉

  8. I’ve got the Sebastian Barry and am going to read it soon. I love The Master but have never been able to read Henry James, ANY Henry James, without falling into a profound coma. It’s the lack of paragraphing that does for me! And I have tried: The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Dove … I’m asleep already….

    • I love the sound of the Barry – hope it lives up to the blurb! Haha! I think I once read The Ambassadors but I can’t remember a thing about it, so perhaps I dozed all the way through. However he’s on my Great American Novel list, so I’ll have to read him one day… Toibin, on the other hand, I always love, and this one sounds particularly fab… 😀

    • It’s one of the closest votes I’ve ever had, especially for the second place slot. I’m not totally surprised, because I think they all sound great. So I’m going to be happy whichever one wins, which is a nice feeling… 🙂

  9. City of Shadows is magnificent, and I have the Barry reading and waiting. Not to mention getting a little impatient as I keep getting distracted by newer shinier Galley requests – but, hey, there is a Toibin, probably most seductive of all.

    • City of Shadows is on my TBR as a result of your recommendation! I haven’t read any Barry before, but the blurb of this one really appealed and I believe it won some prize or other (but then haven’t they all??) I can’t wait to get stuck into the Toibin! In fact, I really want to read all five of these, but so many others have priority… it’s all quite exhausting! 😉

      • I have City Of Shadows, which I took out as a result of Lady Fancifull’s splendid review – I’ve just not squeezed it in yet! Hence my vote for it. I did read a few pages, to make sure I should keep it out, and it’s a definite thumbs up. There’s a follow-up too – City Of Strangers? – which I have too. I’ll be digging out some Irish authors whenever I’ve space. Incidentally, are you going to any Aye Write! events? We’ll be in the city for the first weekend of it, Thursday to Tuesday – even if you just want to have a coffee or “do lunch” at some point!

        • City of Shadows does look good – but then so do they all! I hope you manage to squeeze in a book for the Begorrathon. There are so many great Irish writers out there, in most genres, so something for everyone really. Oh, I hadn’t even realised Aye Write was coming up – I’m afraid I won’t be going this year. Apart from anything else, I did my back in pretty badly a few weeks ago and am still at that stage of being super careful and not doing anything that involves driving or public transport if I can avoid it. A pity – I quite fancy the Ian Rankin talk, and it would be nice to meet up – maybe next year! Or maybe I’ll finally go to Bloody Scotland this year… though I say that every year, don’t I? 😉 Hope you have a great time at Aye Write though, and thanks for the invite… 😀

    • It’s been a very close poll, this one! I like the sound of Days Without End too – it’ll be the first of his books I’ve read, and I’m intrigued by the time period…

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