Openish thread on summer reading

With summer hols upon us or soon to be, feel free to recommend some reading to your fellow slugger readers for the long journeys or periods of relaxation.

  • joeCanuck

    Just finished this, reckoned to be one of Gore Vidal’s best.

    A sweeping novel of politics, war, philosophy, and adventure–in a restored edition, featuring never-before-published material from Gore Vidal’s original manuscript–Creation offers a captivating grand tour of the ancient world.
    Cyrus Spitama, grandson of the prophet Zoroaster and lifelong friend of Xerxes, spent most of his life as Persian ambassador for the great king Darius. He traveled to India, where he discussed nirvana with Buddha, and to the warring states of Cathay, where he learned of Tao from Master Li and fished on the riverbank with Confucius. Now blind and aged in Athens–the Athens of Pericles, Sophocles, Thucydides, Herodotus, and Socrates–Cyrus recounts his days as he strives to resolve the fundamental questions that have guided his life’s journeys: how the universe was created, and why evil was created with good. In revisiting the fifth century b.c.–one of the most spectacular periods in history–Gore Vidal illuminates the ideas that have shaped civilizations for millennia.

  • slug

    “The Bottom Billion” – Paul Collier

    A real expert explains in an accessible way why 1 bn people in Africa are being left behind in the current global rise in prosperity. The biggest human and moral issue of our time.

  • FraserValley

    I’m just finishing ATQ Stewart’s “The Shape of Irish History.” it’s an excellent read, showing Stewart’s unique take on the subject.

  • Watch my back

    The Sunday Times,
    There has been a change in editorial staff, Sue has been made redundant.

  • Dewi

    Pretty old now but Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel” a real eye opener on the History of Civilizations no less. Lighter stuff, Tony Hillerman writes about a Navajo detective in New Mexico – can’t beat however John Billot’s “History of Welsh International Rugby”…sorry..Peter Hart’s Mick – the real Michael Collins gives interesting perspectives.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Mein Kamf

    fascinating to see how Adolf selects the facts to fit his ideology whilst trying to show he is objective.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    re. Welsh rugby history – do you see any similarity between the decline ( blip of grand slam excepted ) of Welsh rugby and the decline in Scottish football over the same period – the last 20 years?

  • Dewi

    It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Yes and I blame genetics – I once wrote to the then Home Secretary (Could have been Jack Straw) asking him to allow unrestricted immigration to Wales…as long as migrants were from Polynesia !!! Need a bit more Tongan blood…

    Scotland doing a bit better now though…

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi, you touched on one my pet hates – NZ stealing players form Polynesia. Lets hope they get take one hell of a beating. Another one of my pet hates is white boys doing the haka.

    I’m going for SA at 6/1 for world cup – good odds even with their quota system – if you are black enough you are good enough. I am all in favour of that type type of reverse discrimination for the PSNI but not when my money is at stake on SA.

  • Dewi

    Can’t see anyone but the Blacks despite recent reverses – got the squad necessary – Carter on form is sublime. Got £3.50 on Wales to come third !!!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    re. the Blacks. Dont forget they got those 2 funny coaches as a double act – and look how they got on with your boyz many of whom thought that Henry was a complete tuzzer.

  • Donnacha

    It was Sammy McNally What Done It:

    Want to name a few players they stole from Polynesia? I can think of two in the current squad, the rest all born and/or raised here. It’s hardly the NZRU’s fault that Auckland has the biggest Polynesian population in the world.
    As regards books, since it’s winter down ehre, I’ll stick to Ian Rankin’s Rebus series to reflect the damp, surly weatehr outside.

  • Dewi

    Donnacha – Rankin excellent also – any equivalent Irish detectives worth reading anyone ?

  • Justin

    I’ve been reading Silver Lining: Travels around Northern Ireland by Martin Fletcher. Very good light hearted book and perfectly suited for a summer read.

  • Best football book ever, The Damned Utd by David Pearce- You almost feel sorry for Cloughie in the end having to take on Bremner, Giles and Co

    Also I’d recommend two very funny books by Tibor Fischer; The Thought Gang and The Collector Collector.

  • Rory

    For crime that transcends the genre and adds philosophy and political insight to literature in a most compelling manner anything by George Pelicanos, James Crumley or the master, Elmore Leonard.

    For the most beautiful US novel since The Great Gatsby – Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses.

    And of course, a rereading of Gatsby to remind ourselves that we did not imagine such sublime perfection from the rose-tinted memory of youth. It really, really is that good.

  • Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    the following were not born in NZ – the player drain should be the other way. Example form football – Englezes let Pads have shed loads based on parentage. If rugby wants to be global sport it should try to develop the smaller countries e.g NZ should never have been given the next world cup either it should have gone to Japan.

    Rodney So’oialo, Isaia Toeava, Josevata Rokocoko, Jerry Collins, Malili Muliaina.

    How many Mauris are in the team?

  • Dewi

    Rory – all good except McCarthy – always drives me to despair about the human race.

  • Donnacha

    And how many of them grew up in the Islands apart from Joe Rockocoko? There are currently nine Maori in the squad. Can’t argue with you on Japan and the WC. Frankly, after the Lions tour here in ’05, I’d be happy never to see another whingeing Northern Hemisphere fan in NZ’s green and pleasant paddocks 🙂

  • Dewi

    I was there Donnacha (with my schizophrenic brother and dad with Alzheimer’s but that’s another story!) – Loved the place and people – so much room in the country – trying to find a book I got on the Moari Wars v Britaim 1840ish – hell they could fight…

  • Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    what a difference they would make to Samoa?

    Are you inferring that the outrage at Umaga and Mealamu trying to break O’Driscoll’s neck – and their disgraceful attempt to pretend it was part of the game as ‘whingeing’. Umaga (another foreign import) didnt even have the balls to apologise till the press got on his back.

  • Dewi

    Umaga born in NZ Sammy – but agree with your point – appalling incident.

  • Donnacha


    No I wasn’t actually. I was referring to the supporters here (especially the Welsh, I must say) who spent their entire time banging on about how the beer back home was better and the women back home were better-looking and the skies back home were a better shade of grey….that’s all. I was sickened by the O’Driscoll tackle, personally, and use it as a stick with which to beat Kiwis who get overly chauvinistic about the ABs (not being a Kiwi myself).
    As for the effect those players would have had in Samoa, a lot less than in NZ, mostly due to poor infrastructure within the game.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    dont get all reasonable on me – just when I was spoiling for a fight. What about the funny white boyz doing the Haka – can we not disaggree about that at least?

    Welsh whingeing never heard of such a thing in my life?


    re. Umaga – his brother played for Samaoa – so I presumed he was a Samoan – perhaps his parents are Samoan? What do you think about the alleged whingeing taffs – in my experience their whingeing is resevered for referees.

  • Two terrific paperback history/documentaries:

    Giles Tremlett: Ghosts of Spain, Travels through a Country’s Past. Why do the Spanish clam up whenever 1936 and Franco comes up? What about the Basques, and why are they so revolting? What is it between Barca and Real? etc. etc. Perfect beach reading.

    Derek Lundy: Men that God Made Mad: A Journey through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland. Three of Lundy’s ancestors (yep: that’s the name) used as markers for the course of Ulster’s rise and fall and rise and …

    For anyone who hasn’t discovered them:

    three UK thriller/detective writers with very different twists:

    Jasper fforde’s Nursery Crime and Thursday Next series. The best thing to come out of Swindon since the Kings and Collett’s Hall class (oh, work it out for youself!). And there’s one more due this month, but start at the beginning! And, yes, you do remember his dad’s name on that fiver.

    Malcolm Pryce’s Louie Knight mysteries, putting Aberystwyth into a parallel universe.

    Andrew Martin’s Jim Stringer, Railway Detective series. The fourth in the series now published.

    Three great thrillers:

    C.J.Sansom’s Winter in Madrid. Spot the parallels with the story of Frank Ryan.

    Alan Furst’s The Foreign Correspondent, the latest in his speciality of noir wartime spy novels. Hardback going cheap through Amazon.

    The whole Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch sequence. The latest, The Overlook, however, is little more than a novella: you’ll finish it before you land in Marbella.

    Enough to be going on with? Remember the baggage allowance!

  • Dewi

    Donnacha – I didn’t whine at all – loved it !…it’s true about the women though !
    Best experience though was being outside the Museum in Wellington when a busload of schoolgirls turned up and started interrogating us about the merits of Shane Williams and Dwayne Peel – like 13 year old girls with encylopedic Rugby knowledge,,,wonderful ! Nos Da !!!

  • Dewi

    Oh and met the coach of the Wellington University underwater hockey club – who still writes !

  • Dewi

    Redfellow – u have good taste – Harry Bosch brilliant – Pryce funny – Sansom OK – only never read fforde cos he starts his name with small letters – will overcome that !

  • Donnacha


    Ooh, all right then. I don’t see much problem with “white” fellas doing the haka, since New Zealand has little enough in the way of culture and must therefore rely on Maori culture to fill the heritage gaps. Which, of course gives rise to the wonderful situation where blokes representing the majority ethnicity in NZ — the one that spends so much time whining mercilessly about “bloody Maoris” — are participating in an expression of Maori culture. It’s all too delicious for me, however you might very well have a different view. For an insight into the schizophrenic nature of New Zealanders (and to get vaguely back within an ass’s roar of the topic) might I suggest the fine book The Passionless People by Gordon McLauchlan (Cassell, 1979). It was written as satire, but after living here for 12 years, I find invaluable as a set text….

  • Donnacha

    Dewi — Keep your filthy hands/eyes/insert body part here off our women! This is exactly the situation I wished to avoid in 2011: a bunch of drunks coming ovewr here, discovering how gorgeous the place is and deciding to stay!

  • Ataturk by Andrew Mango, it is a masterpiece.

    Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Victor Serge

    And finally as Sammy is down in the south seas

    The Bounty by Caroline Alexander.

  • ciaran

    I prefer the harry potter series myself although I am starting to get a bit scared about what is in the last one.Although if you want something to keep you up at night try ” And its good night from him” about the two ronnies.What those two got up to together is unbelievable.

  • snakebrain

    I’ve just spend a considerable portion of a two month break from work reading “The memoirs of Jacques Casanova”.

    It’s not what you think.

    For a start, it’s very, very long. 3500 pages, so make sure you book at least three weeks off.

    Casanova was a man of letters, an Epicurian of Herculean proportions, a socialite and an acute observer of humanity who made it his business to encounter everybody who mattered in 18th century Europe, from Catherine the Great to Rousseau. He tells his story interspersed with anecdotes, philosophical observations, and a pathos that belies his often arrogant exterior.

    His story of his escape from under the Leads, the notorious prison undee the roof of the palace of the Inquisition in Venice is worth reading the memoirs for in itself. He was the only prisoner ever to escape this notorious prison, and it puts the hi-jinks that went on in the h-blocks into perspective.

    He did get up to a certain amount of frolicking with the opposite sex; gallantry is his preferred term, but it was part of a character with huge appetites and a incredible mind that assessed, analysed and created a unique picture of the 18th century that is still used as an important source by historians.

    Otherwise, Will Self’s “Dorian”, a modern retelling of the Oscar Wilde tale is ascerbic, rivetting and utterly worthwhile.

    Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita” is a magnificently surreal satire on the Stalinist system, and has a sub-plot that retells the Jesus story from the perspective of Pontius Pilate that is one of the finest things ever written in any language.

    Anything by P.G. Wodehouse is always excellent, and there’s a lovely new series published by Everyman. “The Thin Man” by Dashiell Hammett, pulp detective fiction at its finest, is also on my summer rereading list.

    I’m also working my way through “Celebrated Crimes” by Alexandre Dumas, which starts with the Borgia’s and tells the story of some of the really big crimes that don’t usually get termed as such.

    And I’m tentatively eyeing up Ulysses by James Joyce for another attempt, which reminds me of a rather amusing anecdote I read today:

    Snooty interviewer: “So what did you do during the war, Mr Joyce?”

    Joyce: “I wrote Ulysses, what did you do?”

  • For all you football fans – The Damned Utd. A great read and about to be made into a movie (Brian Clough and Leeds United)

  • spock

    I just read lord of the rings in the original klingon.( alright I lied it was on audiobook, the captains log)

  • Token Dissent

    Great thread folks.

    Recently I read Philip Roth’s ‘Everyman’. Superb wee novel about regret, family, love, death and all that stuff.

    I’ve only just read Arthur Koestler’s ‘Darkness at Noon’. It is a truly phenomenal book, one that leaves your head spinning with ideas. The tragedy of the Bolshevik revolution, philosophy, the morality of political action…Jesus it tackles ust about everything! Can anybody recommend any of his other stuff?

    On more Slugger related territory Rogelio Alonso’s book about the IRA is excellent. Interviews with piles of old Provos and superb analysis.

  • merrie

    Just got started with T Jefferson Parker’s novels a few weeks ago when the librarian accidentally marked one (“Cold Pursuit”) out to me.

    Parker has written around 15 novels. I have read six now, hard to put them down. Possibly the best is “Silent Joe” which I finished on Sunday. It won the Edgar and a few other awards.

    They are well-written books with style, unlike the Pattersons, Deevers and the Cusslers – and as well they are thrilling crime novels.

  • Donnacha

    I have to say that I’m a sucker for john Connolly’s Charlie Parker novels as well. Anyone who hasn’t read them should have a lash, great reading from great writing.

  • Kevster

    “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis.

    Old book (1935) about the fascist takeover of the USA. It is a reread this summer, but Bush made me think of the story several times the last few years and I wanted to make sure I was recalling it correctly.

    I may not have the strength to finish it, though. Considering the current state of affairs here (USA), it gets to be rather depressing.

  • Sunningdale

    For a good entertaining thriller – Tourist Season by Carl Hiaisen -wickedly funny and a satirical look at Florida;

    For bite sized morsels of intelligent prose – Joanne Harris’ Jigs and Reels, a collection of short stories that is at times sumptuous at others viciously barbed;

    For an interesting insight into what goes on behind the closed doors in Stormont – Room 21 by Martina Purdy is well written and provided some interesting insights into the otherwise familiar personalities;

    For slightly younger readers (and their dads/uncles) Artemis Foul by Eoin Colfer is a witty fantasy that never fails to entertain; and

    Finally my best read (and best written and illustrated book of the lot) has to be Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, a great story written with panache and a driving rhythm that my 4 year old and his Grandfather love – and which I can now recite verbatim with the appropriate animal voices

  • merrie


    I’d second that on any Carl Hiaisen book – he is brilliant!

  • Dinger

    I’d recommend that fellow-sluggers check out Paul Auster’s ‘True Tales of American Life’. It’s a collection of brief true-life tales written by ordinary Americans. Auster launched a radio programme in which citizens from all walks of life were encouraged to send in tales on any subject, so long as they were true. He was immediately swamped by the response, and used the best letters to make this book. The raw honesty and piognancy of ordinary lives shines through and it just reads like a cracking wee collection of short stories.

    Re. ‘Sammy McNally wot done it’…is this a James Young reference?? ie. “It was Sammy McNally wot done it, he always was swinging the lead, and one bloody day as he done it, he hit me a blow in the head”…Norn Irish poetry at its finest!!

  • If you want a good read then I’d recommend The Observations by Jane Harris – an historical novel set in Scotland in mid 1800s. A very funny page turner with a young Irish heroine with a distinctive voice and a great selection of dialect words.

  • I was on a roll with My War Gone By, I Miss It so, by Anthony Loyd, which is a personal and visceral account of the Bosnian and Chechen conflicts, as well as heroin addiction (although deeply partial and contradictory in terms of analysis of the wars). Then just as I completed Barbed Wire and Babushkas, Paul Grogan’s account of a source to sea kayak journey down Siberia’s Amur River, the wind has been taken out of my sails by my girlfriend buying me The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver). Don’t get me wrong, it seems to be an interesting novel set in Congo during its struggle for independence, but big sexist that I am, 600 odd pages written from the perspective of 5 daughters and a wife is going to be a heavy slog. Nabakov maintained that he was strictly monosexual when it came to reading (which seems strange as he also lectured in Jane Austen), whilst not as stringent as that (I love The Secret History and Anna Reid’s travel histories)I can see where he was coming from.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    you got it.

  • Turgon


    How about suggesting a good learn Welsh book. I would not mind trying although my most frequent reading matter seems to be Thomas the Tank Engine and the Usborne touchy feely books for the 20th time over every night.

  • Sunningdale @ 07:21 AM and merrie @ 08:13 AM:

    Agreed, the whole of Hiaasen’s output should be essential reading: behind the slick story-telling he is the best propagandist for environmentalism and against crooked government. My only objection is that I find him a “one-sitting” read (see below): which I why I went for his non-fiction stuff. Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World is an antidote to theme parkery. Selections of his journalism are available in book form (a perfect toilet book, if y’know what I mean: see above) as Kick Ass and Paradise Screwed. And, of course, his column is on-line at

    The nearest local equivalent (and don’t the blurbsters love to slap references to Hiaasen on any likely publication) is Christopher Brookmyre’s first two Jack Parlabane stories (after which Brookmyre and Parlabane, sadly, seem to grow up). Anyone with a touch of the ribalds should try (no! will have tried) the opening pages of Quite Ugly One Morning, and been hooked. Can we have a campaign to restore Parlabane to his Quake-playing, St Mirren following, punk-rock glory?

    And on that theme, going back to square one, we must welcome back the return of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther for his belated fourth outing in The One From the Other.

    That’s it! the perfect beach-book reading list: the omnibus editions of Hiaasen, plus Kerr’s Berlin Noir. Sorted.

  • pith

    One of the best sports books I have read in a long time is “Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genious of Dutch Football”. Fascinating exploration of football in relation to national character especially the Dutch genius for spatial awareness. It may be theoretical but it’s very plausible theory.

    Rory, you are spot on with The Great Gatsby. What better way to enjoy a summer’s day than reading that masterpiece? Silk.

    A different type of American author – John Steinbeck is someone I used to enjoy reading during the summer. I am sometimes surprised that those unionists who make much of the supposed Ulster origins of Davy Crockett, Rock n Roll and all the presidents don’t seem to have any regard for Steinbeck’s part “orange” roots. Maybe he was too progressive.

    William Trevor can be a great read in the summertime as well, especially Fools of Fortune and The Silence in the Garden. Big house evocation can be very good in the right hands.

    Apologies for wittering.

  • I have high plans for the Summer: I just took delivery of my season’s reading yesterday:

    The first two Martin Beck novels.

    Paddy Ashdown’s Swords and Ploughshares. I don’t expect to agree with him, but I do expect him to be interesting.

    Gordon Brown’s Courage. Same as above though perhaps for different reasons.

    Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain, which ought to be fascinating.

    Then there’s the burgeoning unread pile, at the top of which is Beever’s Battle for Spain, if I can wrestle it off my fellow blogger.

    And finally, there’s several hundred books that I’m paid to read. I’m just hoping the teetering in-tray collapses onto the out-tray like a Saddam Hussein statue. But without anyone noticing…

  • overhere

    One of the best books I read this year was “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. If you get a hold of it read it. Read it about a month ago and it is still in my mind.

    Another old one I always enjoy is Weaveworld by Clive Barker set in Liverpool and a great read.

    Crossing the Rubicon is another book worth reading corncerning Caesar and his rise to power

  • Frustrated Democrat

    On a less serious and intellectual note try Richard Littlejohn’s latest offering about how the thought police have now taken over Britain under Labour.

    Some of it is very funny some of it is just plain ridiculous.

  • Ziznivy

    I notice football books seem to feature on a lot of people’s summer schedules. I recently read THE Football Business by David Conn, which is excellent on big business’s expropriation of football. I’d also recommend Dynamo by Andy Dougan and Football Against The Enemy by SImon Kupar which I believe is in a new print run. The latter in particular is essential for anyone interested in the sport and politics.

  • Dewi

    Kite Runner was stunnung and the author got another out now – was it Hosseini or something ?
    Turgon – let me do some research.

  • Garibaldy

    I’ll be reading Marie O’Connor’s The Emergency on the state of the Republic’s health services.

    Also Maurizio Viroli’s For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism which explores the possibility for a civic patriotism that can replace the darker sides of nationalism. Seems relevant to NI.

    Colin Jones’ Paris as well.

  • I was on a roll with My War Gone By, I Miss It so, by Anthony Loyd, which is a personal and visceral account of the Bosnian and Chechen conflicts, as well as heroin addiction (although deeply partial and contradictory in terms of analysis of the wars).

    If you haven’t already read it, I’d highly recommend Rebecca West’s “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon”. It’s a trip through Thirties Yugoslavia and gives a lot of historical background to why ethnic conflict has been a way of life in that part of the world for so long. Unusual (even for that time) in that she’s pretty pro-Serbian in her its sentiments, Ms West is also one stroppy traveller who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

  • Oops, my 11.40am suggestion was aimed at Ziznivy.

  • BoggerBlogger

    As mentioned everywhere:

    The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins

  • pith

    pith, you are right about ‘Brilliant Orange’ – it is excellent. Using the chaos of the sublime 1970s Dutch team’s meltdown as a metaphor for the contradictions between social democracy and indivdualistic liberalism…wacky, slightly insane, but still somehow convincing!

  • Token Dissent

    Eh? Comment 8 is by me, not ‘pith’. Apologises for the confusion. I must have an identity crisis.

    Token Dissent

  • valley dweller

    A couple of books i read last year on my hols in Donegal.”How to murder a man” by carlo gebler a thriller set in 1854 Monaghan involving a land agent,ribbonmen etc Also “Death and Nightingales” by Eugene McCabe this is set in Co. Fermanagh in the 1880’s and if those aren’t enough and you want a real gloomfest read McCabe’s short stories “Heaven lies about us” Just reminded myself of the late Benedict Kiely his short stories are well worth reading.

  • Dewi

    And all of Trow’s stuff of course.

  • Turgon


    At the risk of restarting complete idiocy should I write a book on my plan for world domination from Devenish?

  • merrie

    With the Tour de France starting on the weekend from Greenwich a good read is “The Hour” by Michael Hutchinson which is a humorous book about his attempt to break the one hour record (how far can you cycle in an hour).

    Actually, I am still reading this, up to p43, and so far I am impressed.

    Michael comes from Belfast and he thinks cycling in some parts of London is much worse than his experience of cycling in Belfast during the Troubles. Here is a description of his first terrifying ride with his girlfriend’s father who was a racing cyclist while Michael had not ridden very much at all (pp18-19):

    “I’d just about begun to feel not actively terrified when we got to the five-lanes-wide circus of Wandsworth roundabout, at rush-hour, in the days then it didn’t have any traffic lights…. I stood with one foot on the ground, looking at the whirl of cars and lorries. I couldn’t even get off and walk; I was stranded in the middle of the road. There was impatient honking behind me.
    Nothing in life had prepared me for this. There’d been nothing like it in Durham, or Cambridge, or even Belfast, a city of which the troubles had flattened so much that there was no real need for extravagant traffic management. In Belfast, you could just drive where you wanted. I’d never even negotiated anything like this in a car. After a bit more honking, I decided that I’d just try riding into the maelstrom and hope that at least everyone else had the reaction times to save me. I wasn’t going to be beaten by certain death.”

    Wandsworth roundabout now has a cycle lane around it, and traffic lights, though it is still unbelievably busy daytimes, and the cycle lane does not have adequate signage. I have ridden around it twice trying to find my exit!

  • Dewi


    “From Devenish to Ulan Bator – 100 Days that Shocked the World” ?

  • snakebrain

    And an update:

    I’ll also be reading Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso since:

    1) I’ve had my eye on it for a while, and

    2) I’ve just discovered it was written in the very building I’m staying in…

  • Metacom

    Someone mentioned Eugene McCabe above. Tales from the Poor House is one of my all time favorites. I ordered up multiple copies years ago and give them to nieces, nephews and family friends for graduations etc.

  • Donnacha

    Clancy’s Bulba, by Michael Gorman. Set in immediate post-Independence Ireland and concering the activities of three bogmen in the cockfighting game, including the beautifully named Paganini O’Leary, whose description of his sufferings with piles is sick-makingly funny.

  • The Third Policeman

    Just back from interrailing in Europe where I passed those long train journeys with Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (very apprpriate I know), Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451.

    Currently rereading Flann O’Brien’s Best of Myles. Hilarious. Clippings from his his Cruiskeen Lawn article in the Irish Times.

  • Dewi


    Paganini O’Leary ??? – That’s wonderful.

  • Donnacha

    It’s a brilliant book, a gem. Paganini starts one rant against the medical profession with the phrase “There’s c*nts and there’s f*ckers and muderers with hearts as black as night (clearly foreshadowing the NI Assembly) but they’re as as pure as the driven snow compared to doctors…”
    and it all goes downhill from there. A great book.

  • Dewi

    Off to Amazon to order…c u in 2011 !

  • Donnacha

    Aye, fair enough. First pint’s on me.

  • Cruimh

    Just started The Best of Myles as well TTP – wonderful.

    ” The majority of members of the Irish parliament are professional politicians, in the sense that otherwise they would not be given jobs minding mice at crossroads”

  • IQHQ

    I’ve read more than you could imagine this summer (thsu far). Aided, of course, by the fact that theres’ barely been a ray of sunshine in weeks! Some notable reads include:

    The Origin of Wealth – Eric Beinhocker

    The wealth of Networks – Yochai Benkler

    The Elegant Universe – Brian Greene

    Quantum Reality – Nick Herbert

    The Road to Serfdom – F.A Hayek (re-read)

    The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoevsky (re-read; my favourite book ever)

    God is Not Great – Christopher Hitchens

    The Fabric of Reality – David Deutsch

    Einstein: His Life and Universe – Walter Isaacson

    . . . Alastair Campbell’s diaries are arriving in the morning. Cannot wait!