20 books for all tastes to add to your reading list this summer
Michael Lewis is one of the great non-fiction writers. He has a knack for turning complex, arid subjects (like how bond markets work) into thrillers that turn pages, usually through the lens of the infantry of life. In his latest book, he turns his gaze on the US government’s clumsy handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Irish psychiatrist Veronica O’Keane’s investigation into psychosis is based on case studies of her patients. It’s peppered with literary references (the title of the book, of course, is borrowed from a line from a poem by WB Yeats) and is full of insight into the mysteries of the brain and in particular how memories are formed.
Always provocative, always readable, Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book is based on a frightening question: what is the best way to kill hundreds of thousands of people? Using the theater of air warfare during WWII, it offers interesting answers as well as insight into psychopaths (and those who follow orders) who have been drawn into a grisly enterprise.
Sinéad O’Connor’s memoir is already in the running for Irish Book of the Year. He delves into his difficult childhood (his mother seems to have been an extraordinary specimen), his bizarre encounters with Prince and other celebrities as well as his brilliance as a rock ‘n’ roll rebel.
The Hitmen is an extraordinary story. The Wilson family’s business was an assassination, as two brothers, a cousin and a nephew committed murders for Irish gangs including those in Dublin and Cork. They never asked about their goals, only the fees involved.
Hailed on Ryan Tubridy’s morning radio show, Julian Sancton’s story of a Belgian-led expedition to Antarctica in 1897 is a crisp tale, full of hawkers and adventurers, mutinies, deaths that never stop. to accumulate, as well as natural beauty.
In the middle of a century of life, actor Matthew McConaughey takes a look at his life, using his diaries from the past 35 years as his background material. The image that emerges is of a fascinating man who grew up in a strange and violent house (his parents were married three times) and who always walked to the beat of his own drum.
Gill Books reprinted in paperback former RTÉ producer Julian Vignoles’ biography of Rory Gallagher, one of the world’s greatest blues guitarists and, by all accounts, one of the greatest performers. live. Based on in-depth interviews, he unveils revealing details about an unpretentious and at times eccentric man.
Comedian Dermot Whelan – who is perhaps best known as half of Dermot & Dave radio on Today FM – has written a comedic memoir and self-help book about his meditation experiences. A fun way to better understand the pursuit of mindfulness.
Manchán Magan is one of Ireland’s great intellectuals, as well as a travel writer and animator. In his latest book, he dwells on the origins and meaning of the words of our strange and wonderful Irish language, words that have been around for 3,000 years and are in danger of disappearing.
As Carol Ann Duffy puts it, “Mayflies is one of those novels to put in the hands of friends. Set in two periods, 1986 and 2017, it is the story of the friendship of two Scots on the dawn of adulthood, drunk with music and dreams, and later dejected by the heartbreaking realities of life. A masterpiece and above all poignant because it is autobiographical fiction.
Billy O’Callaghan is one of the most exciting literary talents of the past decade. His second novel is a family saga that spans three generations. It follows a 16-year-old Great Famine survivor from Cape Clear Island, as she carves out a life in Cork City, to the life of her granddaughter in an estate of the council house in the 1980s.
A new post from master storyteller Haruki Murakami is still noteworthy. His 22nd book is a collection of short stories: eight stories told by an elderly writer on themes familiar to Murakami: music, nostalgia, baseball and the love of youth.
Conor O’Callaghan writes in short sentences, the words carefully cut out like the poet he is. His second novel – a dark and ironic tale about a middle-aged man’s road trip from England to France and reflections on his crazy personal and family life – is another acclaimed work.
Set largely in a Catalan seaside resort, Kathleen MacMahon’s third novel is based on a fascinating premise: What do you really know about your partner? After his wife’s death, David uncovers secrets that call into question a seemingly perfect 20-year marriage.
Louise Nealon’s debut novel was trumpeted by Roddy Doyle and Marian Keyes. It tells the story of how an 18-year-old Debbie – who grew up on a dairy farm with her eccentric mother and struggling alcoholic uncle, Billy – navigates her quirky home life and college.
The Rules of Revelation is the latest installment in Lisa McInerney’s firecracker trilogy about the misadventures of Irish-Italian Ryan Cusack, as he floats through a decrepit world of gangsters and sex workers and the redemptive power of the rock ‘n’ roll.
Kevin Power’s debut novel Bad Day in Blackrock – which was adapted for film by Lenny Abrahamson – is one of the great Irish novels of modern times. Power’s follow-up on the inept son of a disgraced Dublin banker on a shady business adventure in the Balkans is a satirical meditation on empty souls and the decay of wealth.
Eimear Ryan’s debut novel is a heady mix: a young protagonist embarking on college life, working in the shadow of a thwarted competitive swimming career; the ghost of his eminent grandfather, a poet who committed suicide; and her own hot affair with a married man.
Matt Haig’s latest intriguing global bestseller deals with moments from life’s “sliding door” as he lays a magical bookcase on the pages of his novel, a bookshelf filled with book shelves offering the reader the chance to live a different life and set aside regrets.