Reading lists

4 Irish books we can’t wait to read this Spring

From John Boyne to Jan Carson, here are four books the Penguin Ireland team can’t wait to start reading this Spring. 

The Fire Starters by Jan Carson

Fire Starters

‘I’ve just got my copy and I can’t wait to get reading it. Jan is a born storyteller and her work is captivating. I have been particularly interested in writing that has been coming from Ireland and Northern Ireland recently, and I’m itching to dive into Jan’s original tale about the legacy of violence in Belfast.'
- Aislin, Publicity

Dr Jonathan Murray fears his new-born daughter might not be as harmless as she seems. Sammy Agnew is wrestling with his dark past, and fears the violence in his blood lurks in his son, too.

Belfast is in flames and the authorities are losing control. Two ordinary fathers must do whatever they can to protect their children from the violence. But what if it’s the city that needs protecting? As the city falls into frenzy, and as the lines between fantasy and truth, right and wrong begin to blur, who will these fathers choose to protect?

The Fire Starters is a gritty, thrilling novel about the lesser known stories of ordinary people from east Belfast. 

My Brother's Name Is Jessica by John Boyne

My Brother's name is Jessica

‘John’s ability to create believable and sympathetic characters is second to none and his ability to discuss complex situations through them is extraordinary. I know his new book is going to take readers on an amazing journey of learning and understanding and I can’t wait to pick it up!’ 
- Lorraine, Sales

Sam Waver has always idolised his big brother, Jason. Unlike Sam, Jason seems to have life sorted - he's kind, popular, amazing at football and girls are falling over themselves to date him.

But then one evening Jason calls his family together to tell them that he's been struggling with a secret for a long time, a secret which quickly threatens to tear them all apart. His parents don't want to know and Sam simply doesn't understand.

Because what do you do when your brother says he's not your brother at all? That he's actually . . . your sister? Full of wit, warmth and emotion, My Brother’s Name is Jessica is an urgent call to arms for better empathy and understanding about the complexity of gender identity.

Her Kind by Niamh Boyce

her kind

‘It’s been a long wait for Niamh Boyce’s latest novel, following her stunning debut The Herbalist. I’m excited to read the story of witch trials in Ireland and the resurrection of a previously silenced voice. The story of Petronelle and Alice Kytler, set against the backdrop of medieval Ireland is too good to miss.’  
- Liz, Publicity

1324, Kilkennie. A woman seeks refuge for herself and her daughter in the household of a childhood friend. The friend, Alice Kytler, gives her former companion a new name, Petronelle, a job as a servant, and warns her to hide their old connection.

Petronelle learns that in the city pride, greed and envy are as dangerous as the wolves that prowl the savage countryside. And she realizes that Alice's household is no place of safety. Once again, Petronelle decides to flee with her daughter. But this time she confronts forces greater than she could ever have imagined and she finds herself fighting for more than her freedom ...

Reimagining the events of the actual Kilkenny Witch Trial, Her Kind recovers the voices of the real women involved and gives us insights into their compelling stories. 

Just One More Question by Niall Tubridy

just one more question

‘Niall Tubridy’s Just One More Question is the book I’ve most been looking forward to reading this spring. As a Professor of Neurology in Dublin he’s at the frontline of talking to patients about their brains and nervous systems. There have been quite a few medical memoirs from British and American doctors and nurses, but not many from Irish doctors about what it’s like to be on the front line of medical care in the HSE. It’s bound to be a riveting read.’
- Michael, Managing Director

As a medical student Niall Tubridy fell in love with neurology. Figuring out how the brain and nervous system signal problems was a form of high stakes detective work and answers could be life-changing. Just One More Question is the story of his career in neurology. He also shares the stories of encounters that are, by turn, poignant, dramatic and funny, such as; The painter who believes her left hand is her guardian angel,    The eager young lover whose head ‘explodes’ every time he orgasms, and The old man who sees Santa Claus in a helicopter in his bedroom.

Tubridy explains well-known conditions, like Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and motor neuron disease, and brings us into the examining room as he accompanies patients with these diagnoses on their challenging path.

Just One More Question is revealing, enthralling and touching. It will make you think in a new way about the brain – and what it's like to be a doctor.

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