How the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards shape my reading @BGEIBAS #BGEIBA

ttishtydistresssignalslyinginwaitthegirlfromocdthismustbethemakingitupthebookoffatchancehistoropediagoodnightallweshallnothingthewonderholdingsolarbonesa-memory-of-violets

So if you’d seen me on twitter last year, you’d have seen me gushing about The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, which puts everything I love together in one room for one night only and, my word do I get excited when I even think about it. So normally, this is what I do: I wait and wait and wait for the shortlist to come out. I listen even more intently to Ryan Tubridy’s show in the morning to see if he’s announced his show’s nominations and pop into Eason to see where they’re at on the whole matter. When all is announced I begin to trawl through the nominees see if there are many authors and books I know, search out the ones I don’t and begin to read. I do this so that I can make an informed decision and vote fully legally (yes I do realise how I sound), and generally I get all forms of review requests in the meantime and panic as I realise to get through them all may not be so realistic! So I’ll be honest, this years awards is full of books whose names I’ve written on pieces of paper, or who are on my Kindle. I have not read that many of them (sob). The three I have reviewed are The Things I Should Have Told You by Carmel Harrington (read my review here) , Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard (I wrote about it here), and Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent (read the review here) .

Sitting on my Kindle, just ABOUT to be read is The Girl from The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor (I reviewed A Memory Of Violets and it was my number one book for 2015, read that review here) and the next book that jumps out at me, but which I shall have to go hunting for in paperback is  Dictatorship: My Teenage War With OCD – Rebecca Ryan (On Stream Publications Ltd)- I heard the interview with this author, who’s is quite young, (or at least much younger than me!) on Ryan Tubridy and she BLEW ME AWAY. These are followed closely by The Book of Shadows by ERMurray, Lyrebird by Cecilia Ahern, The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan and I generally read Marian Keyes at Christmas for my ‘I’ll sit here and read for as long as I want to, dammit!’ time;). After that I know I’ve to get going on Graham Norton‘s book, Holding because, not only have people been raving about it, but also it’s a tale set in a little Irish village, and I have to read all such books in a quest to see if mine is way off the rest of the author population’s! As well as that it’s a sin not to have read the Maggie O’Farrell book , and I really want to read ‘Fat Chance’ by Louise MacSharry. Then I’m a bad reviewer because I haven’t read Solar Bones by Mike McCormack, which sounds AMAZING and I’ve The Wonder by Emma Donoghue to read as a result of a book group I’m in. Now, moving along, since I’ve seen Claire Hennessy speak and can’t wait to read Nothing Tastes As Good , well that’s in there too, plus to be Irish and not to have read Donal Ryan’s All We Shall Know beggars belief (plus I heard him speaking on the radio when he got his first book deal and I’ve meant to read his books since then!) so, um, yes. In the kiddies section I’m definitely going to get ‘Goodnight Everyone’ by  Chris Haughton and Historopedia by Fatti and John Burke, which I was looking at today in Eason and is perfection for the kiddies! I adore all cookbooks so, yes, need to get looking into them too! So, there you go. This is what happens every year, and to be honest, the books I have listed are only the ones that I previously said I really had to get going on, I have to wade through the rest too!

Anyhoo, this post is gone a bit nuts, the reason I was posting was actually to let you know that, thanks to the amazing people at Evoke.ie , I’ll be there!!!! At the awards! Yes, this is a huge, huge, huge thing for me. I will be  sitting in the green room alongside my best friend and fellow writer and blogger Deirdre Reidy from https://countingtheminutestilbedtime.com/ and I’ll tell you now, I can’t wait! Will fill you in on social media where I can, and will blog about it after, but for now, here’s the shortlist, taken from the Irish Bord Gais Energy Ireland Book Award website. I hope you enjoy going through the titles as much as I have, and find something you didn’t know existed:)

Eason Novel of the Year

All We Shall Know – Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)

Days Without End – Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)

Solar Bones – Mike McCormack (Tramp Press)

The Lesser Bohemians – Eimear McBride (Faber & Faber)

The Wonder – Emma Donoghue (Pan Macmillan/Picador)

This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press)

The Journal.ie Best Irish published Book of the Year

All Through the Night – Edited by Marie Heaney (Poetry Ireland)

Dublin since 1922 – Tim Carey (Hachette Books Ireland)

Looking Back: The Changing Faces of Ireland – Eric Luke (The O’Brien Press)

Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks – Edited by Fintan O’Toole (Royal Irish Academy)

The Invisible Art: A Century of Music in Ireland 1916-2016 – Michael Dervan (New Island Books)

The Glass Shore – Sinéad Gleeson (New Island Books)

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

Himself – Jess Kidd (Canongate Books)

Red Dirt – EM Reapy (Head of Zeus)

The Last Days of Summer – Vanessa Ronan (Penguin Ireland)

The Maker of Swans – Paraic O’Donnell (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

The Things I Should Have Told You – Carmel Harrington (HarperCollins)

This Living and Immortal Thing – Austin Duffy (Granta Books)

National Book Tokens Nonfiction Book of the Year

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy – Paul Howard (Picador)

Ireland The Autobiography – John Bowman (Penguin Ireland)

The Hurley Maker’s Son – Patrick Deeley (Doubleday Ireland)

The Supreme Court – Ruadhán Mac Cormaic (Penguin Ireland)

Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir – John Banville & Paul Joyce (Hachette Books Ireland)

When Ideas Matter – Michael D Higgins (Head of Zeus)

RTE Radio One Ryan Tubridy Show Listener’s Choice

Lying In Wait – Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)

Conclave – Robert Harris (Hutchinson)

Dictatorship: My Teenage War With OCD – Rebecca Ryan (On Stream Publications Ltd)

All Through the Night – Edited by Marie Heaney (Poetry Ireland)

All We Shall Know – Donal Ryan (Transworld Ireland)

Victim Without A Face – Stefan Ahnhem (Head of Zeus)

Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year

In Glasnevin – Jane Clarke (From: The Irish Times)

Patagonia – Emma McKervey (From: The Compass Magazine)

Suppose I Lost – Andrew Soye (From: Abridged Magazine)

Love / Hotel / Love – Michael Naghtan Shanks (From: Poetry Ireland Review)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)

A Child of Books – Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers (Walker Books)

Goodnight Everyone – Chris Haughton (Walker Books)

Historopedia – Fatti and John Burke (Gill Books)

Pigín of Howth – Kathleen Watkins (Gill Books)

Rabbit and Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits – Julian Gough & Jim Field (Hachette Children’s Group)

Rover and the Big Fat Baby – Roddy Doyle (Pan Macmillan)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)

Knights of the Borrowed Dark – Dave Rudden (Puffin)

The Book of Shadows – E.R. Murray (Mercier Press)

The Making of Mollie – Anna Carey (The O’Brien Press)

Needlework – Deirdre Sullivan (Little Island Books)

Nothing Tastes As Good – Claire Hennessy (Hot Key Books)

Flawed – Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Avonmore Cookbook of the Year

Recipes For A Nervous Breakdown – Sophie White (Gill Books)

The World of The Happy Pear – Stephen and David Flynn (Penguin Ireland)

Natural Born Feeder – Roz Purcell (Gill Books)

The Little Green Spoon – Indy Power (Ebury Press)

Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook – Neven Maguire (Gill Books)

The Brother Hubbard – Garrett Fitzgerald (Gill Books)

Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year

Game of Throw-Ins – Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (Penguin Ireland)

Lyrebird – Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins)

Rebel Sisters – Marita Conlon-McKenna (Transworld Ireland)

The Girl From The Savoy – Hazel Gaynor (HarperCollins)

The Privileged – Emily Hourican (Hachette Books Ireland)

Holding – Graham Norton (Hodder & Stoughton)

Ireland AM Popular Nonfiction Book of the Year

Adventures of a Wonky-Eyed Boy – Jason Byrne (Gill Books)

Fat Chance – Louise McSharry (Penguin Ireland)

Making It Up As I Go Along – Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph)

Pippa – Pippa O’Connor (Penguin Ireland)

Talking to Strangers – Michael Harding (Hachette Books Ireland)

Mr. Pussy: Before I Forget to Remember – Alan Amsby/David Kenny (New Island Books)

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year

Blood, Sweat & McAteer – Jason McAteer (Hachette Books Ireland)

Coolmore Stud, Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Success Story – Alan Conway (Mercier Press)

My Life in Rugby – Donal Lenihan (Transworld Ireland)

Out of Control – Cathal Mc Carron (Simon & Schuster)

The Battle – Paul O’Connell (Penguin Ireland)

Win or Learn – John Kavanagh (Penguin Ireland)

Writing.ie Short Story of the Year

Here We Are – Lucy Caldwell (Faber&Faber)

K-K-K – Lauren Foley (Ol Society – Australia)

The Visit – Orla McAlinden (Sowilo Press)

Green Amber Red – Jane Casey (New Island)

The Birds of June – John Connell (Granta Magazine)

What a River Remembers of its Course – Gerard Beirne (Numero Cinq Magazine)

Crime Fiction Award

Distress Signals – Catherine Ryan Howard (Atlantic Books (Corvus)

Little Bones – Sam Blake (Bonnier Zaffre)

Lying In Wait – Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)

The Constant Soldier – William Ryan (Mantle)

The Drowning Child – Alex Barclay (HarperCollins)

The Trespasser – Tana French (Hachette Ireland)

My March Bookish Wrap Up!

Please note: if you don’t have the time to read through the post, the pics link to the reviews! Enjoy:)

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Another good month in books! It all began with me giving my book of the year so far seal of approval to The Canal Boat Cafe book number 1: All aboard by Cressida McLoughlin, chick lit at its beautiful, descriptive, gripping best! I was torn on Sleepless in Manhatten by Sarah Morgan, which grabbed me with  its building a business form nothing storyline, kept me happy with its comedy, and yet didn’t quite hit the mark Christmas Ever After had done.

I was thrilled to be part of the Holding Out For A Hero by Victoria Van Tiem’s book tour with Hello Chick Lit, where 80’s was the era of the day, definitely one for any eighties fan! Tapestry by Elle Turner mesmerized me with its beautiful mixture of slightly dark stories, and, speaking of dark, I finally reviewed and raved about Room by Emma Donoghue.The Runaway Bridesmaid by Daisy James was a bit too flowery for me, I’m afraid, but I acknowledged that it could be a very popular book, as I did with Kitty’s Countryside Dream by Christie Barlow, which didn’t go the way I expected.

Natalie’s Getting Married gave me chick lit heaven, The Treachery of Trains gave me a lovely, slightly dark, european rom com, and Dear Dad by Giselle Green gave me a gorgeous rom com about three characters on a journey to find their place.

I had a lovely interview with Rosa Temple, and did my first, and only ‘Stacking the Shelves‘ Post (Unfortunately I’m trying to cut down on books at the moment, my volume books on Netgalley are weighing me down!). I also posted on the books I use for writing, which is starting to take off again, I’m currently 10,000 words into book 2, not much, but an achievement for me (I was 20,000 words into a different book 2 and it wasn’t working, so I put it aside and was feeling quite despondent but now I’m all excited again:)). I’m still trying to get it together in terms of a solid blogging presence, and figure out my timetable, but hopefully I’ll get there.

Hope you all had a great month too, let me know in the comments!

Bernadette:)

 

 

 

Room by Emma Donaghue

By the

 

room

Amazon US

Amazon UK

What They Say: NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE — nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

The Review: I read this some time ago but due to all the buzz and craziness (probably warranted) I thought I’d post a review. It’s now a bit overdue but anyhoo …

I adored this book. When I read it there was a lot of talk about it (pre film, though a lot of people were hoping for one), but I had no real idea what it was about and I’ll admit, hadn’t even read the blurb. The narrator  of the book is the gorgeous five year old Jack, obviously intriguing and ingenious in itself,a s he goes through everyday life in ‘Room, ‘with ‘bed’ and ‘wardrobe’ practically characters in his mind. We are given insights into his mother’s frame of mind and yet her strength as she struggles to give Jack a ‘normal’ life, playing with him, telling him of stars and things ‘out there’ that he doesn’t believe exist. This may just be a mother’s view, but I think one of the big themes of this book was that even faced with huge amount of adversity in life, if a child has some form of stability in forms of a parent or guardian, they can still be well adjusted and educated.

It’s funny how such a simple story can bring you along with it, for most of it is simple, you remember that they’re trapped there, you have a slight feeling of unease  and yet you’re just listening to a mother and son converse, a mother explaining things to her son without trying to upset him and yet, as would be expected, it’s not always that easy, nobody could be expected to hold it together all the time, and there are times she falls and you feel the horror again, how can anyone exist like this and what will happen to make things change?

Her captor makes appearances every so often and he’s everything you expect him to be, a monster who thinks of people as property, with no thought for what he’s doing. Even though he is this, and even though the subject matter is oh so dark, I didn’t really empathise with the reviews that found it so disturbing, and I think that that’s where Ms. Donoghue’s simple and effective writing, as well as the child’s narrative comes in. We’re so deeply involved in the story, in listening in, in thinking about their next move, as in the next five minutes, not whether this can continue long term, that we just read on, we have the slight uneasy feeling the whole time, but there’s not the graphicness and horror that other writers may have added to shock. I have not seen the films, but was a bit shocked by the unnecessary spoiler contained in the trailer, in the same way I’m pretty sure the paperback had a hint as to what might happen in the book and it annoyed me. Let me tell you, you don’t need to know. A must, must, must read (in my humble opinion!) Oh and make sure to let me know, have you read? Have you seen the film? Maybe you plan to do both together or are you just not bothered?I’d love to know!

Rating: 5/5