Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dear Great Book Guru, I am making plans for the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day weekend.  Top on my list will be a traditional Irish dinner at the Metropolitan Bistro while listening to my favorite band of Irish troubadours - The Winfield Irregulars - featuring Sea Cliff’s own Joe Hughes.  During the week I would like to read some Irish history. Anything new you would recommend? 
Fan of All Things Irish

Dear Fan of All Things Irish, I have just finished a remarkable book - my #1 favorite this year- SAY NOTHING by Patrick Radden Keefe.  A mystery, a true crime tale, a study of Irish-Anglo history, a biography of three unforgettable characters, this is ultimately a depiction of the horrors, banality, and futility of war. Keefe opens in 1972 with the kidnaping and murder of a young widowed mother of ten: Jean McConville. Quickly the story turns to three young Irish rebel s- Dolours Price, Bernard Hughes, and Gerry Adams = who are all shown to have played a role in her disappearance and death. Price is a beautiful, charismatic woman who later marries the actor Stephen Rea after years of her imprisonment and torture in British prisons. Hughes is a thoughtful, skillful tactician who also spent many years in jail for his activism. Gerry Adams - the only one of the three still alive - is portrayed as a cunning master of politics who eventually is instrumental in bringing the ”troubles” to a close. This is an unforgettable story of lives destroyed and lives redeemed played out in the ultimate patriot game. Highly, highly recommended!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Dear Great Book Guru, We just came back from a night of amazing Irish music performed by a local band: The Winfield Irregulars.   While we were all enjoying ourselves, one of the musicians mentioned a new comic novel about life in New York City that had many hilarious twists and turns.  Have you heard of it?  Lover of All Things Irish

Dear Lover of All Things Irish, I recently read Elinor Lipman’s GOOD RIDDANCE and it was indeed delightfully funny.  A recently divorced Daphne Marich moves into a new, very tiny Manhattan apartment (a result of a despicable ex-husband and a very bad pre-nup agreement). She quickly realizes she must do some major decluttering ala Marie Kondo and the first thing to go is an old, heavily annotated high school yearbook left to her by recently deceased mother. Before the day is over, a very strange woman appears at her door with the book - retrieved from the recycling bin. The woman insists that she is going to write a novel based on the stories she imagines are behind the notes Daphne’s mother had written.  Before long we are back at a fifty-year high school reunion where a series of revelations cause Daphne to rethink her entire life.  It soon becomes apparent that her school teacher mother and high school principal father had many secrets that Daphne discovers in a wildly funny set of escapades.  A light read but well done!