Every month here at Eason Book Club, we put together a selection of novels that we believe book clubs around the country will both enjoy and find interesting enough to promote a great discussion. This month’s choices include three superb debuts. We hope you enjoy them.
It’s 1984. Ireland is a divided country, the Parish Priest remains a figure of immense authority and Jim Finnegan is thirteen years old. His world consists of enduring his five sisters, taking break-neck bike-rides with his best friend, and coveting the local girls from afar. After a drunken rendition of ‘The Fields of Athenry’ at a party, Jim captures both the attention of the beautiful Saidhbh Donohue and the unwanted desires of the devious Father Luke O’Culigeen. Between dealing with his growing love for Saidhbh and the abuse he receives at the hands of O’Culigeen, Jim’s life starts to unravel. He and Saidhbh take a ferry trip to London, with dark and difficult repercussions, forcing Jim to look for the solution to all his problems in some very unusual places. The Fields is an unforgettable story of an extraordinary character, and an outstanding debut from Dublin author Kevin Maher.
Staying in the Eighties and this time it’s the spring of 1987 in the small town of Riverside, Nova Scotia. With only three months of high school to go, Stephen Shulevitz has just realised he’s fallen in love – with exactly the wrong person. Welcome to the end of the world. As Stephen struggles to deal with his overly dependent mother, his distant, pot-smoking father, and his dysfunctional best friends, he must decide between love and childhood friendship; between the person he is and the person he can be. Janet E. Cameron’s debut novel is a bittersweet story of growing up and of one young man finding happiness on his own terms.
Three years after her brilliant, Costa Award-winning novel, The Hand That First Held Mine, Maggie O’Farrell is back with the story of an Irish family in crisis during the legendary heat wave of London, 1976. Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he’s going round the corner to buy a newspaper but he never comes back. The search for her husband brings Gretta’s children – two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce – back home, each with different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share. This is another highly accomplished novel from O’Farrell, who knows exactly how to write a complex family drama.
In his beloved town of Holt, Colorado, Dad Lewis is dying. As old friends pass in and out of his front door to say goodbye, Dad’s wife and daughter try to make his final days as comfortable as possible, tainted though they are by the heart-break of an absent son. Next door, a little girl moves in with her grandmother, her innocence and youth providing promise and hope to all those around her. Down town, another new arrival, the Reverend Rob Lyle, attempts to mend strained relationships of his own, as he faces up to his latest congregation. Set in a landscape as vivid and powerful as those of Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx, Benediction is a devastating yet affirming read that explores the pain, the compassion and above all the humanity of ordinary people. A stunning novel by Kent Haruf.
The Panama hotel in Seattle has been boarded up for years but when the new owner makes a startling discovery in the basement, an intrigued crowd gathers outside to view the personal belongings, which were stored away by Japanese families sent to internment camps during WWII. In the crowd is Henry Lee who, upon seeing one of the items, is flooded by memories of his childhood. He wonders if, in amongst the boxes of dusty treasures, there lies a link to the Okabe family and the girl he lost his young heart to so many years ago. This captivating debut by Jamie Ford comes highly recommended by Eason Book Club.
Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was chosen as an Eason Book Club recommended read for January. Joyce’s enchanting tale of a man on an unusual mission has got book clubs around the world talking, often dividing them in two. It’s certainly a Marmite kind of a book! We asked one of our many in-house book lovers, Ruth, to tell us what it’s all about…
A letter arrives into the clinical and organised home, which the recently retired Harold Fry shares with his wife Maureen, bearing news that will change everything in their world. Queenie, an old colleague, writes to say goodbye and advises that she is dying of cancer. Harold pens a stilted, polite and unemotional response and heads out of his front door to post it. He bids Maureen “cheerio” and sets off to the post box.
His mind wanders as he walks and Harold thinks of ‘all the things in life he’d let go’ and how he has ‘lived out his ordinary life’. He thinks of Queenie, marvelling that she remembered him after such a long time.
A chance encounter with a girl in a garage leads her to share that her aunt has cancer and how important it is to stay positive; how this belief gave her aunt hope when everything else had gone.
Without any conscious deliberation or reasoning, Harold makes the decision to walk to Queenie, from Kingsbridge to Berwick.
Harold quite simply believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. It is at that point, with no great fanfare or ceremony, his personal odyssey begins.
Harold’s walk gives him the time and distance to reflect on his broken relationships with both his wife and son, of mistakes made and opportunities missed. He mourns the lack of communication between himself and Maureen. He remembers, with sorrow, refusing to hold his son when he was a baby, not because he didn’t want to, but purely because he was too afraid.
Harold’s emotions are laid bare to the reader and he makes no attempt at apologising, or rationalising the current state of affairs. He touches on memories of his past with his parents and draws parallels and identifies points that differ in his own relationship with both his wife and son.
The novel journeys with Harold as he reaches each town and interacts with people that he meets. The various characters are cleverly portrayed: the people who help him and the people who join him on his pilgrimage.
What really came across throughout the novel is that Harold is an ordinary man with flaws in his character. He is unassuming, quiet and humble. That is what makes him likeable. And that’s what has the reader turning the pages and urging Harold on, every step of the way on his unlikely pilgrimage.
This book is a gentle exposé of human frailties: of the secrets that even the most ordinary people have and the connections that can be strengthened – or broken – by the smallest interaction. It is a book about hope and, quite simply, about the bravery that it sometimes takes to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Well, love it or hate it? If you think you might love it, the good news is we have 10 copies to give away! To be in with a chance to win, complete the competition form below by February 8th.
Terms and Conditions
I receive a lot of letters and emails from young fans who want to be writers, but a while ago I was sent the following by a somewhat older budding author:
I want to become a writer, but turning 31 in 21 days is freaking me out. I feel like I’m too old. Any advice for someone who’s starting off late in this game?
That email made me smile. I turned 40 this year, yet I’m still one of the younger authors on the circuit of book festivals. It reminded me how we view time differently depending on our age. As a teenager, days often dragged, and it felt like life was interminable. In my thirties I became very aware of time speeding up, and now it seems like I’m hurtling through life far too quickly, days disappearing behind me every time I blink.
In a fast-moving world, our dreams often out-pace us. At 31, if you have not played football in the Premiership, or been in a chart-topping band, your chance has almost surely passed you by. Want a stab at breaking the record for the 100 metre sprint? Too late. Want to become a brain surgeon? Sorry, you should have started 10 years ago.
Writing, thankfully, is a dream you can set out in pursuit of at almost any point in your life. It’s actually a pursuit better suited to the more mature, since it requires a lot of thought, patience and isolation. Writing involves stepping back from life and recording your observations about it, but when you’re young you should be too busy living to take a break from it. In your 20s you should be dashing around the place, having all sorts of wonderful or dreadful experiences, sampling the endless delights that the world has to offer. When you start to slow down in your 30s or 40s (or 50s or 60s or…) you’ll have plenty of time to settle back, put your feet up and ponder.
I’m one of those rare writers who did it the other way. I threw myself into writing at a very young age, and made the breakthrough in my mid-20s. But that’s because I was a shy, lonely young man, who found it easier to write than to live. If I could go back and do things differently, I’d tell my younger self to take a decade off, have fun, travel around the world, be brave and bite into the pie of life, taking the sour along with the sweet. Even if you’re not producing anything, you’re storing up material that will stand you in good stead further down the line.
I think every true writer knows when the time is right to write, because you feel irresistibly drawn to it. You get to a point where it’s not enough to dream idly of being a writer — you feel compelled to actually write. It’s not that it suddenly becomes easy, that you wake up one day eagerly rubbing your hands together and looking forward to cutting yourself off from the world for long stretches and dealing with all the self-doubt that is a writer’s lot. But you accept that writing involves sacrifice, and you reach a stage where you are prepared to make that sacrifice in order to realise your dream.
At 31, you’re not late starting in the game. In fact my advice would be to have a good long think about it, and wonder if you might not rather start at 41, or 61, or 81. Because life can be more fun if you have something to look forward to, and with writing, you can go on looking forward to it indefinitely. When the legs have packed up, and you can only croak when you try to sing, you can still cling to the dream of telling stories, because age is no barrier in the realm of the imagination. If you want to be a writer, you’re never too old to dream.
- Darren Shan
Here at Eason, we love giving you more books for your buck, which is why we’ve extended our 3 for 2 promotion to January 20th. It’s the perfect starting point for treating yourself with those vouchers you got for Christmas. To give you an idea of what’s on offer, I’ve compiled a list of my top 20 choices from this year’s selection:
Whatever you think of him personally, you can’t deny that Russell Brand is an extremely eloquent and knowledgeable character, which makes his first autobiography, My Booky Wook, a very interesting read. Brand speaks frankly about growing up in Essex, battling bulimia and addiction, and his constant battle with the law. Often poignant and at times harrowing, Brand nevertheless manages to inject a healthy dose of comedy throughout. One of my favourite celeb autobiographies of all time.
Dave Grohl? I love him, my mother loves him, he’s a cross-generational rock god! He also happens to be a very nice chap. Former Kerrang! editor Paul Brannigan draws on old interviews and his own friendship with the man himself to produce the most in-depth look at the amazing life of Grohl to date. Buy This is a Call together with Anthony Kiedis’ Scar Tissue and Slash by Slash, for a triple dose of rock goodness!
Mitch Albom’s 1997 classic, Tuesdays With Morrie, is enjoying a bit of a revival here in Ireland thanks to a nationwide theatre tour this year. With the stage version returning to The Gaiety in January, now is the perfect time to read this touching story of Albom’s time with his old tutor, Morrie, in his dying days. It’s a sad read but very rewarding.
Staying with biographies, journalist Caitlin Moran’s account of life as a woman is outrageously entertaining. You will laugh, you will cry, you will cry with laughter! Attention men: How to be a Woman is not just for women!
Something else that’s definitely not just for women is the new baking craze. Get involved! Learn to bake with the Great British Bake Off’s very own Paul Hollywood in How to Bake, the new title from the ‘Silver Fox’ himself. I don’t know about you but I’ll be picturing the ‘death stare’ hovering over me any time I make a mistake with these bakes!
And why stop there? Why not throw together a whole meal with Paul’s co-star Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook. This definitive full-colour guide has clearly divided sections on topics such as poultry, vegetarian and yeast, with recipes for everything from Boeuf Bourguignon to Jerk Chicken, Nasi Goreng to Pad Thai, Quiche Lorraine to Zabaglione… Yum! Of course, when you’re finished devouring all of those delights, you might be glad you picked up The Dukan Diet… You might also be in need of some physical exercise and if you’re feeling unmotivated, I suggest reading Born to Run. It’s the story of the Tarahumara tribe, the world’s greatest long distance runners, and it’s awe-inspiring to say the least! If it’s more spiritual guidance you’re after, we have Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling The Secret, along with The Power and The Magic all available in our 3 for 2.
There’s plenty of novels to curl up with, including some great new releases like the lovely Amy Huberman’s I Wished for You, Monica McInerney’s latest heartbreaker, The House of Memories, and hilarious short stories from Roddy Doyle in Two Pints. We also have plenty of old favourites in the mix, including the devastatingly romantic Time Traveler’s Wife and the best book ever to be narrated by Death, The Book Thief. If you haven’t yet sunk your teeth into The Sookie Stackhouse series from Charlaine Harris, now is your chance, with the first ten titles all now in our 3 for 2 promotion! Ideal for both fans of the TV show and those just looking for something a bit meatier than Twilight, start with Dead Until Dark.
And finally, why not embrace all things Mammy with Isn’t It Well For Ye by Colm O’Regan, in which the comedian and creator of the Twitter sensation @irishmammies explores the phenomenon of The Irish Mammy. Go’way! Sure isn’t that grand? Just don’t be telling all and sundry about it…
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
Imagine browsing the shelves of your local Eason and coming upon a notebook with these very words written in it, wedged between The Catcher in the Rye and Franny & Zooey. This is exactly what happens to Dash (well, except for the Eason part!). He takes Lily up on her dare and what ensues is a treasure hunt of epic proportions. As the notebook makes its way around the city, the pair send snarky notes back and forth to each other and, inevitably, begin to fall in love – but how does real life compare to the relationship they’ve developed on paper?
This is the latest collaboration from Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, the duo behind 2006’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, a fine novel and now also a film starring Michael Cera and one of the Two Broke Girls, Kat Dennings. Stateside, both authors are firmly established YA gods but neither have quite managed to grab the attention of the vampire fanatics and dystopian dreamers on this side of the water just yet. But just as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars catapulted him up the bestseller lists here, so too could Levithan’s star be on the rise, with another fantastic novel due for release next year. Both have that skill for creating unusual characters, witty and affable, with just the right amount of ‘individuality’ for teens to want to identify with. The absence of supernatural themes in their novels can’t hurt either. These are ‘real’ lives, albeit lives set in the trendy suburbs of New York, where kids drink double espressos and stay out all night. If this all sounds a bit daunting to you then Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is definitely a good starting point. It’s an easy, enjoyable read and thanks to its snowy Christmas setting, it comes with a nice festive feel too! The perfect present for those who’ve read ‘everything’.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is currently available in the Eason Books of the Year 3 for 2 offer.
It’s December now so we are officially allowed to spread some Christmas cheer! There’s nothing quite like a nice Christmas book to get you in the festive mood and what is Christmas without Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman? There’s a Snowman for every age group, even the buggy-bound. And best of all? There’s even a SOUND book with a built-in jingle bell! Sing it together now: we’re waaalking in the aaaiiirrr……
If that’s all a bit much for you, there’s always the more sedate Michael Morpurgo, with his Christmas Collection. It’s been a great year for Michael, with War Horse and Private Peaceful still selling like hot mince pies (see what I did there?) and you can always rely on him to tell a great story. This book brings together three of his previous Christmas tales (‘The Best Christmas Present in the World’, ‘On Angel Wings’ and ‘The Best of Times’), along with a brand new one, ‘The Goose is Getting Fat’, all lovingly illustrated by Quentin Blake.
If your little ones are just learning to read, try Horrid Henry’s Christmas Presents by Francesca Simon. It has simple text for early readers and everyone loves Henry. Why? Because he’s so horrid!
For those old enough to read alone, give them Rover Saves Christmas by Roddy Doyle. This is kid-comedy at its finest, complete with Doyle’s trademark wit. My 8 year old cousin couldn’t get enough of Rover the Dog and his adventures.
If you’re looking for something more traditional, try this magical pop-up edition from Walker Books of Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas I also highly recommend The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jane Ray, an absolutely beautiful book based on the classic rhyme. The illustrations are mesmerising and the cover even comes with a bit of sparkle!
And from the sublime to the downright ridiculous, we have Santa’s Christmas Munch, a board book complete with hand-puppet Santa. Stick your fingers in his beard and make him munch through everything the boys and girls leave out for him to eat on Christmas Eve! And after that, as is inevitable, it’s time for Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allan! I always did wonder what Santa did when he needed to go…
If it’s an unusual gift book you’re looking for, I can’t recommend The Jolly Christmas Postman highly enough. For decades, Janet and Allan Ahlberg have been creating incredibly intricate books with the most minute details, like mini letters to pull out and read, and all sorts of tiny items to examine. There’s always something new to find every time you open one of their books and this Christmas edition is no exception.
If you need to keep them busy while you’re doing the annual pre-Christmas clearout, you can rely on the Usborne Big Book of Christmas Things to Make and Do, which is packed full of ideas and simple step-by-step instructions for decorations, cards and wrapping, as well as recipes and lots of stickers!
We started with Raymond Briggs, so we’ll finish with him, and my personal favourite, Father Christmas. So jump up on that sleigh and we’re all on our way, to another bloomin’ Christmas!
Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) directs LIFE OF PI, based upon Yann Martel’s beloved book, which went on to become one of the biggest publishing events of the past decade. An epic adventure of magical realism, LIFE OF PI follows the story of a young man’s incredible survival at sea against almost impossible odds. A remarkable breakthrough in the use of 3D technology, PI will take audiences on an emotionally captivating journey that will inspire, touch and transport them to a place of discovery they will be unable to forget.
Easons are proud to announce, in association with 20th Century Fox, a preview screening of ‘Life of Pi’ in a Dublin city centre cinema on Monday, 17th December.
Check out the trailer and enter our competition below for tickets to this exclusive screening…
Competition closes at 5pm on Wednesday, 12th December. Good luck!
Please note: This competition has now ended. Congratulations to our lucky winners!
Terms and Conditions
Day 11 of the Eason Book Club Twelve Days of Christmas Competition:
Please note: This competition has now ended. Congratulations to our lucky winners!
Terms and Conditions
- The competition is open to all residents of the Island of Ireland aged 18 or over (proof of age may be required) except employees of the Promoter, their families and/or anyone professionally involved or associated with this Competition.
- No purchase is necessary.
- The Competition will close at 08:59 GMT on Friday, December 21st, 2012.
- To enter, you must answer the question and enter the required information into the above form.
- Only one entry per person. Persons submitting multiple entries will be automatically disqualified.
- The Promoter will select one winner at random, providing they have adhered to the criteria outlined in the Terms and Conditions and the Promoter’s decision in relation to this selection and all other matters is final.
- The winners will receive one prize as outlined on the Eason Book Club Facebook page.
- The prize is non-transferable. No cash alternative will be offered.
- The Promoter reserves the right to withdraw or amend this competition for any reason whatsoever.
- The Promoter and their agents accept no responsibility for difficulties experienced in submitting an entry to this competition nor for any direct or indirect loss suffered by any individual arising from this competition or any involvement therewith.
- This competition and these terms and conditions are governed by Irish law and subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Irish Courts.
- An entrant’s personal data will only be held for the purposes of selecting and contacting the winners and will not be held for any other purposes whatsoever without their prior permission.
- Entrants are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions by participating in this competition.
- The Promoter is Eason & Son Limited.
I love Amy Huberman. She is my favourite Irish personality du-jour for many reasons, not least because she went on The Late Late Show wearing shoes from Penneys. She also tweeted a photo of those cute M&S baby bananas the other night… What’s not to love!
Since their marriage in 2010, Amy and her rugby legend husband have firmly held onto the title of The Nation’s Favourite Couple but don’t be fooled, Amy is certainly more than your average WAG! Since filming wrapped on the second season of her Comedy Central sitcom, Threesome, Amy has kept herself busy: cultivating her status as Twitter comedienne extraordinaire, making a baby (!) and, of course, writing her second novel.
Her 2010 debut, Hello Heartbreak, was a huge bestseller here in Ireland, helped of course by her public profile in both The Clinic and her relationship with Brian O’Driscoll. Now though, with a UK sitcom under her belt, not to mention her attendance at a certain Royal Wedding, her new novel, I Wished for You,is likely to catapult Amy up the charts both at home and across the water. I really hope it does because for this effort, she really deserves it.
While The Sunday Indo compared her first attempt to “Jane Austen on ecstasy”, her second novel is definitely the product of a more mature, experienced writer. It’s still got that refreshing, slightly quirky tone to it and her trademark wit really shines through, but unlike the vacuous personalities often present in the ‘chick lit’ genre, her characters have real emotional depth and what you see is not always what you get. I loved the character of Verity, the mysterious old lady in the vintage shop with the heavily-guarded backstory and more Hollywood anecdotes than you can shake a 1930s silk flapper dress at. I also enjoyed the fact that Grace and Robbie’s story it wasn’t a typical boy-meets-girl scenario, but a relationship taking a less-than-traditional path. All in all, I Wished for You is a surprisingly accomplished novel and one I thoroughly recommend.
Congratulations to Barbara Leahy – winner of the first ever Easons.com Tiny Tall Tales competition! Barbara’s bittersweet (but mostly sweet) 100-word story about a young girl hoping for snow on Christmas Day was selected by our judging panel of in-house experts.
“We loved this story because Barbara managed to pack so much emotion into one Tiny Tall Tale: hope, joy, disappointment and a lovely bittersweet ending,” says Maria Dickenson, Eason’s Head of Book Purchasing. “This combined with vivid, imaginative descriptions made The Vision stand out as a winner from among some very strong competition!”
For her troubles, Barbara has won a new Sony WiFi PRS-T2 eReader. More importantly, her Tiny Tall Tale will appear on 10,000 Easons.com bookmarks!
To read the winning entry, place an order on Easons.com while stocks of the bookmark last. We’ll include a bookmark with Barbara’s story on one side and a code for 10% off your next purchase on the other. (Note: these bookmarks are not available in-store.)
While there can only be one overall winner, we decided to pick the top five runners-up and send them a prize. Each one will receive a copy of Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt and Easy Money by Jens Lapidus.
In no particular order, the runners-up are:
A White Christmas…well, almost! by John Kennedy
She hauled the washing out of the machine in growing disgust. ‘Not again’ she muttered. Her pristine white tablecloth, pink; her new white sheets, pink; her favourite white blouse, also pink. ‘That man, how many times have I told him?’
She stood up and set off to give him a piece of her mind; this carry-on would have to stop. She found him out the back and waved her discoloured washing under his nose.
‘I’m sorry, I’ll not let it happen again’ he said with genuine regret.
Contented, she headed inside, leaving him to feed his reindeers in peace.
Rescued by Elizabeth Rose Murray
The first hand to appear is a child’s. Podgy fingers search through the debris. Another Force Niner, three years since the last, when you lost your wife and son. You used to introduce yourself as Mike, Firefighter; watch people’s eyes light up with admiration. For a long time now, you’re just Mike.
“Child found, East Corner.”
As you report in, you’re already digging. Grasping at the tiny determined wrist, you wrench him out, muttering words of comfort you can’t hear. Freed, he cries like a newborn, gulping in air. As you scoop him up, he smiles.
“Mike, firefighter,” you say.
The Friend Spell by Deirdre Harrigan
Marian winked at Oscar as she laid Cecelia’s beautifully wrapped gift under the tree. He was looking a bit wild-eyed having met Jonathan for a few swift ones last night in the James Joyce to celebrate the travellers’ return. Rough seas and other commitments had prevented John & Roddy from joining them. Artemis also fell foul of the weather but the close knit circle of friends had all promised to make it to Maeve’s for tonight’s Christmas Carols. “Stoke up that fire Bram”, shouted Maeve on her way to answer the door, “that’ll be the Faraday Girls from Apartment 3B”.
True friends by Nevan Redmond
Yet again it was snowing in the North Pole thought the Elf as he lit a fire to keep himself warm. After a while he began to feel lonely, where was his best friend the Snowman?
Elf saw Snowman outside and invited him in. Elf was confused when Snowman refused. Were they not good friends? Snowman explained that good friends respect each other’s needs. Elf wanted the fire for warmth, but it would melt poor Snowman. Elf smiled, put the fire out, put a coat on and went outside to play with his friend.
Are you listening? by Ana Reynolds
The nursing home did not feel very merry, despite the staff’s best efforts. Tinsel looped around handrails and a tree stood in the corner of the day room. Paper hats sagged; serviettes lay strewn on the floor. Some families visited, while others brought their loved ones out for a few hours. Santa made an appearance, handed out presents and promptly disappeared. I sat at the piano and started with Winter Wonderland. Staff bustled around with medication trolleys and such. Some residents sang loudly, some murmured along, others simply stayed silent. Everyone listened though, I think.
Today is a great day for new titles, with some of what will be the top Christmas presents of 2012 hitting our shelves as we speak! Maeve Binchy’s ‘A Week in Winter’ and Katie Taylor’s ‘My Olympic Dream’ are definitely our most eagerly anticipated books of the year but the one I’ve most been looking forward to reading is ‘Bruce’ by Peter Ames Carlin. It’s the first in-depth biography of Bruce Springsteen to be written – with the co-operation of The Boss himself – in 25 years! I’m a big Brucey fan so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
From his tumultuous upbringing in New Jersey, messy relationships and family tragedy, to his passion and drive for fame and influence, Carlin’s book really covers all aspects of the man who redefined music.
Not only is it a history of Bruce’s life but also of the E-Street Band as a whole, including their break-up in 1989 and their almost-wasn’t reunion 10 years later. What’s more, it’s completely up to date, with a chapter on the Wrecking Ball tour and how the deaths of Danny Federici and Clarence Clements have affected both Bruce and the entire band.
This really is a must-read for all Bruce fans and guess what? We have two copies to give away! If you’d like to be in with a chance to win a copy of this great book, just tell us what makes you the biggest Bruce fan!
Please note: This competition has now ended. Congratulations to our lucky winners!
Terms and Conditions
This month sees the last round of Eason Book Club titles until after Christmas so we thought we’d better make them good ones! This week’s title is The Absolutist by John Boyne. Though also set in wartime, don’t be fooled – this novel is a serious departure from John’s most celebrated work, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. The Absolutist tells the story of 20 year old Tristan who, upon returning home from The Great War, must deliver an important stash of letters to the sister of his fallen comrade, Will. A simple enough task in itself but the truth is that Will and Tristan were lovers, a fact that both struggled with throughout the war. Furthermore, Will has brought shame and dishonour on his family by laying down arms and declaring himself a conscientious objector on the battlefield. This is a moving account of the futility of war and the desperation of two young men doing battle both inside and out.
Continuing on the war theme with The Wine of Solitude by Irene Nemirovsky, we meet Helene Karol, a young girl who, neglected by her self-absorbed mother and distant father, longs for love and freedom. Growing up against the backdrop of The Great War and then The Russian Revolution, Helene is an angry young woman intent on destruction. Considering Nemirovsky not only grew up in this period, fleeing the Russian Empire with her family in 1917, but also wrote prolifically on the volatile and unhappy relationship she had with her mother, we can assume that this particular posthumous novel is largely autobiographical. A must-read for fans of Suite Francaise.
In a very different time and place, Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison takes us on an eye-opening journey into Mumbai’s seedy underworld and the nightmare of two orphaned girls swept into the international sex trade. On the other side of the world, Washington lawyer Thomas Clarke is struggling to cope after the death of his baby daughter and the collapse of his marriage. He takes a sabbatical from his high-pressure job and accepts a position with the Bombay branch of an international anti-trafficking group, only to embark on a desperate path to try and save not only himself and his marriage, but also the lives of the two sisters.
A.M. Homes’ new novel, May We Be Forgiven, has just been released so what better time than this to highlight her previous novel, This Book Will Save Your Life, which never quite got the recognition it deserved on this side of the water. Richard Novak is a modern-day Everyman, a middle-aged divorcé trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one – except his trainer, nutritionist, and housekeeper. He is functionally dead and doesn’t even notice until two incidents – an attack of intense pain that lands him in the emergency room, and the discovery of an expanding sinkhole outside his house – conspire to hurl him back into the world. A vivid, revealing novel about compassion, transformation, and what can happen if you are willing to lose yourself and open up to the world around you.
And finally, we have Seducing Ingrid Bergman by Chris Greenhalgh, a novel based on the sweeping and passionate love affair between Ingrid Bergman and Robert Capa, one they kept secret from both Hollywood and Ingrid’s controlling husband. Desperate to be together, Ingrid vows to abandon her marriage, but their happiness is brought to a crashing halt with a turn of events neither of them could ever have predicted. Greenhalgh was the screenwriter behind the beautiful French film, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009), which should give you some idea of the romance, passion and glamour in store for the reader in this intriguing work of historical fiction.
Let us know what you think of this month’s selections on Eason Book Club and be sure to let us know what you’re reading over Christmas!
John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars caused a stir across the world when it was published earlier this year. Never before had a young adult novel about teenagers dying of cancer grabbed the attention of so many, so quickly and so emphatically. It’s both hilariously funny and devastatingly sad, a combination few writers manage to successfully pull off. British author Jenny Downham did achieve something very similar when she released her debut novel, Before I Die, back in 2007 but unfortunately, for whatever reason (the lack of a Twittersphere? The global economy? Twilight?), very few people read it. It’s always disappointing when a really great story misses out on the attention it deserves. Luckily, this one gets a second chance…
Five years after its publication, Before I Die gets a new lease of life in the form of this immensely enjoyable and unexpectedly cool film adaptation starring Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine. Fanning has grown into a serious star, proving that she’s cooler than the pixie-cut-and-Cons combo she rocks for the duration of her turn as Tessa, a 17 year old leukaemia sufferer who decides to give up chemotherapy in favour of living life to the full in her dying months, completing a list of daring and often illegal tasks while she still can.
Joining her along the way is the outrageously pretty Irvine (of War Horse fame) who manages to convince us that he has just stepped out of the pages of Downham’s book as Adam, Tessa’s boyfriend and granter of several of her final wishes.
Don’t be fooled by the storyline, though, this is as far from a weepy sick-flick as you can get. The dialogue packs a punch, the cast – also featuring seasoned great Paddy Considine and Skins beauty Kaya Scodelario – oozes with talent and there’s an uber-hip soundtrack to boot, with M83, Ellie Goulding and Metric all making appearances. It will make you smile, it will make you laugh and yes, it will make you cry. But you will enjoy every minute of it.