Category Archives: Books

Grammar: Between You and Me

Between you and I: Confessions of a Comma Queen

One of the  most enjoyable things I have done of late was to go to a talk, given by Mary Norris, at Dublin’s Italian Institute of Culture.

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Writing: Guardian Masterclass

DSC00776

In the multi chandeliered ballroom of intentions and resolutions the lights only burn with gem like brilliance when intentions and resolutions are actually realised. Thus my chandelier glows with the merest ghostly glimmer because I have crossed off ridiculously few items from the list of things, I drew up a few years ago, that I wished to do in the coming decade.

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Dublin: UNESCO City of Literature and a New Stamp

unesco city of literature stamp

When I walk Dublin’s grey-flecked flagstone pavements I am only dimly aware of the ghostly echo of the literary giants who once trod those selfsame routes. The roll call of the great and good of Irish writers of yore who have connections with Dublin is lengthy: Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce …

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Reading and Writing (no Arithmetic)

henry jame's portrait of a lady

I have recently finished reading Henry James’s ‘The Portrait of a Lady’; it’s the very first Henry James novel I’ve tackled *hangs head in literary shame*. It’s the current choice of my book club and as we meet only every other month there’s lots of notice about forthcoming books so they shouldn’t be time-pressured reads.

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American Grown by Michelle Obama



When I heard there was a new, well newish, book out called American Grown by Michelle Obama I was always going to buy it.  Michelle Obama is one of my style icons and I much admire the work that she does through her Let’s Move campaign to combat childhood obesity in the USA.

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Irish Craft: Hands On by Sylvia Thompson



We live in a highly mechanized and technologically driven age where the degree of separation between us and those who make most of the things that we use on a daily basis seems as vast as the count of numbers to infinity. Distant industrialized manufacturing is a relatively new fangled thing: craft in contrast is almost as old as the oceans and is deeply embedded into the community where a craftsperson works.

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Saved by Cake

Saved by Cake

I was never going to buy another cookery book. Never ever. For a start the bookshelves in my kitchen, of which incidentally I am inordinately proud of having assembled from an IKEA flat pack, are stuffed to capacity. I was especially not going to buy another cookery book with instructions for making cakes because I must already have a zillion recipes for sweet confections. And as for buying a cookery book with a saturated pink cover which has a photograph featuring a cheesecake with a lurid lime-green topping made from jelly – now that would be totally out of the question.

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Romantic Writer: Abby Green



I met Daisy Cummins when I went to stay at Cloona Health Retreat Centre in the west of Ireland in January. I seem to remember that I was too preoccupied during the first few days of my stay coming to terms with the restrictive but inordinately healthy diet I was eating to wonder too much about my fellow guests. Continue reading

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Almost French

Almost French

In a hierarchy of compliments that I would like to receive, being told I looked French would be close to the top. Naturally I am not picky; I am truly grateful for any compliment I get. Unsurprisingly I am seldom never told that I look French. I could cling to the deluded belief that this is due to my pale Celtic colouring but in truth it has more do with the fact that I lack the myriad of attributes that looking French implies; I am not super slim, über chic or drenched in enigmatic mystique.

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♥ Afternoon Tea with a Writer

The Istanbul Puzzle by Lawrence O'Bryan

Irish writer Laurence O’Bryan is the author of the Istanbul Puzzle. It’s his debut novel and the official publication date is the 19th January 2012. Harper Collins (Avon imprint) the publisher of The Istanbul Puzzle have signed Laurence for a three-book deal. The book will be available, at launch, in eight countries they are: Ireland, Australia, Canada, Greece, Italy, New Zealand,Turkey and the UK. (Greece, Italy and Turkey in translation obviously). Harper Collins describe the book as ‘an electrifying conspiracy thriller which will entice fans of Scott Mariani, Sam Bourne and Dan Brown.’

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