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November On Line Book Club
Notes To Self by Emile Pine
Following on from Normal People, our choice for the November On-Line Book Club is Emily Pine’s Notes To Self.
Notes To Self is a series of deeply personal, interlocking essays written by Emily Pine. The book recently won the Butler Literary Prize and has also been shortlisted for the An Post, Irish Book of the Year (Non Fiction).
Emily is Associate Professor in Modern Drama at UCD and Notes To Self is her first book.
As with our first Book Club Choice, we’re offering a 25% discount on Note To Self. Just mention the Book Club when buying the book. We’ll post our review at the end of the month and may post a few book related post on “Notes” in the interim. Feel free to post comments on the web page or Facebook if you’ve read the book.
On Line Book Club
To conclude our first on line Book Club we’re delighted to have Ellie Rowsell join us with her review of Normal People. Ellie is lead singer and guitarist of Wolf Alice and was kind enough to agree to be a guest reviewer for us here at Roe River Books.
Every year my New Years resolution is to read more. The more I read the happier I am. During a good book I actively feel my world expanding, my emotional intelligence developing, I have lived a thousand lives from the comfort of my own bed. It is reassuring that there is an escape route from every day life that demands only you lift a finger to turn a page. Sure, I can escape down youtube wormholes and god only knows I do sometimes, but reading allows me to getaway and relax without switching off. As someone who spends a lot of time trapped in transit, or confined to the four walls of small, dark and dank dressing rooms reading is a welcomed pleasure.
It serves as a catalyst for inspiration. Whether I am inspired by the story itself or the words in which it was told I am a better writer and no doubt a better person if I have stuck to my New Years resolution.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
After reading Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends, I felt as though I had broken up with my lover, been extradited from my friendship group and forced out of my hometown all at once. I missed Dublin, I missed Nicki, I really missed Bobbi. My grief however was subdued a little by the promise of a new book in August called ‘Normal People’. When the day came I actually saw the world pre-midday to go and get it from my local bookshop. The man behind the counter gave me a smirk ‘You’ve been waiting for this day’ he stated to me. Was I salivating or something? Anyway, what I’m trying to say is this book had a lot to live up to for me, I had placed an unfair amount of expectation on it and oh my god did it deliver.
Rarely does a love story press all the buttons, in fact, I had somewhat succumbed to the idea that love is beyond language, too difficult and perhaps even impossible to do it justice with words. And yet here Sally Rooney has presented us with a perfect modern love story; painful in its realism and still outrageously enviable in its romance. Rooney uses her protagonist’s experiences at both school and university to bring up issues of power that I imagine will have many other past and present students reflecting on their own experience’s.
So be warned, ‘Normal People’ might entice some painful self-reflection but perhaps that is testament to the strength of Sally’s writing. Once again I am mourning the loss of another life, I had found myself so totally absorbed in, but in no doubt, it was worth it. Bring on number three Sally.
‘…he felt the beat of pressure inside his body, like watching a perfect goal, like the rustling of the light through leaves, a phrase of music from the window of a passing car. Life offers up these moments of joy despite everything.’
On Line Book Club – Review
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People is the story of Marianne and Connell. We first meet them in their final year at school. Both by their own admission are damaged people. We never quite find out why they are damaged (is damaged the new Normal?). Marianne’s mother Denise is a solicitor, emotionally cold and indifferent to Marianne. She’s unpopular at school, though thought of as odd rather than actively disliked. Connell’s mother Lorraine works as a cleaner for Marianne’s mother. He’s popular at school, but shy, and they strike up an initially awkward friendship and quickly become lovers. They finish school and both end up at Trinity College in Dublin, where over the course of the next few years, their, on- again off-again relationship continues, as they both make the adjustment to big city life.
Normal People is very much about Marianne and Connell. We meet family members and friends. They both have other relationships and while these other characters play their part, they are too sketchily drawn to make a real impression. We’re never really sure why Marianne’s mother is so indifferent to her or why her brother is so cruel to her. We never get any real sense of dysfunction from Connell’s family despite the fact that his absent father is a shady criminal type. The format of the book, which jumps about in a staggered timeline also ensures that the spotlight stays firmly on the couple. And that’s just fine. We like these people. We want life to work out for them. We hope they finally end up together.
The writing is fluid and Rooney has a wonderful ear for dialogue. Yes, the book has flaws, but much like the flaws in our protagonists we can live with them. The real strength of Normal People is in the detail, the acute observations about people and how they relate to each other. The difficulties we have communicating with each other despite the digital age we live in and the myriad methods of communication at our disposal. In many ways it seems that the story is often as much about our relationships with ourselves, as with others.
I finished the book caring about Connell and Marianne and wanting to know what happened to them next. Theirs is a friendship and a love story, and I got the real impression that even if their affair didn’t last that the friendship would.
And that folks, is our first review for the Roe River Books, On Line Book Club. Do feel free to post a comment here or on the Facebook page. Do try to keep it clean though (unless it’s funny).Our Book Club choice for November is Emma Pine’s Notes to Self (more about this book in a later post).
AND………AS IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH……………
ROCK STAR REVIEWS AT ROE RIVER
We did promise you when we launched the On Line Book Club that we hoped to have a special guest reviewer join us at the end of the month. As a huge fan of Sally Rooney’ s debut novel Conversations With Friends we thought we’d ask Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice for her considered opinion.
Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen (Grapes of Wrath), Motorcycle Emptiness by Manic Street Preachers (Rumble Fish), Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones ( Master and the Margarita), Atrocity Exhibition (Atrocity Exhibition) by Joy Division : there’s a long history of rock musicians being inspired by books.
More recently Mercury Award winners Wolf Alice have taken inspiration from the world of literature. Emma Cline’s The Girls and The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter are just two of the books to have informed their musical progress. So, we’re delighted that guitarist and lead singer Ellie Rowsell has agreed to be a regular book reviewer for us here at Roe River Books. We’ll be posting Ellie’s review of our Book of the Month, in the next day or so.
As well as being incredibly nice people Wolf Alice also make great music. If you haven’t listened to them yet, you should. My Love is Cool is a great debut album and the follow up Visions of a Life deservedly picked up this years Mercury Prize. Go and buy them both now.
An Evening With John Connolly
Thursday 15 November @ 7.00 pm
Now that Halloween has passed, if you’re settling into a state of mortal dread at the though of the first Christmas carol assaulting your ears, then fear not. We may have just the thing to settle your nerves, or set them on edge depending on your disposition. Regular customers will know that we’ve been operating from our spanking new premises here in Park Street for a few months now. It was all a bit frantic getting opened and finding our feet in time for the busy school season and while we couldn’t really have hoped for it to have gone more smoothly than it did, we were sorry that we didn’t get a chance to have an official launch of the store. So while not exactly an official launch, we will be properly announcing the new shop on Nov 15th when we’re delighted to say John Connolly will be joining us.
Anyone familiar with John’s Charlie Parker series will know that he writes just about the finest thrillers in print. If you’re not familiar with John’s work (and if not, shame on you), then now is the time to start. If you like dark, brilliantly written thrillers, you’ll be hooked.
John is an incredibly busy man, with the latest Parker novel, The Woman in the Woods and the paperback of he currently gracing bookshelves and best seller lists across the globe. He’s recently returned from a tour of South America and has just launched a Monograph commissioned by PS Publishing, giving his personal take the classic British chiller the Horror Express. Rumours that John is currently working on an updated version of the film, set on the Eurostar, to coincide with Brexit are yet to be confirmed.
And most exciting of all we believe he has just submitted the final draft of the forthcoming A Book of Bones (No 17 in the Parker series) to his publisher. The bad news is they won’t be publishing it till April 2019. So before John hibernates for the winter we’re really delighted that he has kindly taken the time to pop up and wish us well on the unofficial launch of our new venture. John is a terrific ambassador for independent bookshops so if you can make it down for the evening, (and we hope you do) be nice to him.
To help celebrate the “launch” and John’s visit, we’ll be offering discounts and special offers, including all of John’s novels. John is happy to sign any books bought on the day (or as part of our promotion that week). Keep an eye out for more details on the event over the coming day, and hopefully see you all soon.
This coming Saturday 27th October at 6.30 pm we’re delighted to host the launch of The Rapturous Moon by Tara Tine. A follow up to last years Flight of Fire, the second instalment sees us return to the enchanted village of Carlin for…. well, why don’t I let Tara tell you herself ……
‘Flight of Fire’ was the first instalment of the Minorie Raine: Trials & Tribulations Series, Ireland’s most recent and most concentrated offering to the Magic Realist genre. It explores themes of nature, belonging, resistance and feminine power. Set in the autumn-clad village of Carlinn, ‘Flight of Fire’ explores both our heroine’s adolescent needs for romance and devilment, and her more mature longings for roots and security as she searches for a place to settle and find friendship.
In the Rapturous Moon, Minorie Raine returns for the second instalment of the Trials Tribulations Series. After spending the winter living with her friend, Blaise, and Na-nan, the swamp witch, an invitation to live and work at the decadent Darby House draws Minorie once again into the unknown.
She finds out that living with Lady Anna Marmaduke and her housemates does indeed bring pleasure; but as it nurtures and feeds her soul, so too does it attract even darker and more powerful shadows to her, like moths to her flame. Her crush on the swarthy but married Pierre opens up unwelcome channels to her energies, channels which are being used and abused by Carlinn’s darkest wizard, Nicholas Crowther, and his arsenal of servile demons.
To add insult to injury, Minorie finds out that her estranged friend Omelia has been complicit in assisting Crowther’s bidding in return for garnering dark knowledge of her own, and worse, she has been responsible for the deaths of two of Carlinn’s residents.
Will the wedge between Minorie and her friends grow too deep to fix? Can Omelia be able to redeem herself and reshape her own destiny? Can Minorie overcome her growing isolation to defeat Crowther, and the demons which threaten her sanity….?”
Only one way to find out folks. Make your way down to Roe River Books this Bank Holiday Weekend and meet Tara herself. As well as a chance to meet Tara you’ll be entertained by the fabulous Ines Khai, who be providing us with some soulful creole sounds
As part of our new regime here at Roe River Books we’re launching an on-line Book Club.
The idea is we pick a book, usually a new release, although we’re not adverse to selecting a classic or two once we get up an running. We’ll be reading the book ourselves and providing a bit of background on the book and the author. The selected title will be on special offer in the the shop and at the end of the month we’ll post our review. We’ll also be happy to receive reviews from any of our customers and readers which we’ll also post to the website. It needn’t be a full review or incredibly in depth. Just let us know if you like it or not and why.
Our first choice for Roe River Book of the Month is Sally Rooney’s, Normal People. It was longlisted for the Man Booker, though sadly didn’t make the final shortlist. It follows the, on again, off again relationship between Connell and Marianne, two young lovers from Carricklea in the west of Ireland and follows their relationship through the turbulent highs and painful lows as they finish school and relocate to Dublin. It follows on from Rooney’s highly successful debut Conversations With Friend and was hugely anticipated on it’s release in August this year.
If you’ve read it already, let us know what you thought of it? If you haven’t got around to it yet pick it up at Roe River Books. Mention the on-line book club when buying it and get 25% off. Offer is open till 31st October.
We’re also delighted to say that we’ll have a special guest reviewer giving us their opinion on the book at the end of the month, in the first of what we hope to be a regular feature.
Eagle eyed customers may have noticed that since we’ve opened the doors on our new premises at 66 Park Street, the shop has been sporting a snazzy new Coffee machine. We’re delighted to announce that from Monday of this week we’ll be opening the shop at the earlier time of 8.00 am. Why not pop in if you’re passing on the way to work, and say hi, and get the day off to a great start with a coffee to go?
In an age of Fake News, Fakebook (sorry Facebook) and wholesale media manipulation, books are more important than ever. Note the outrage of a certain American politician whenever a book is published by one of his former staff members or political commentators. We need books now more than ever. And more than ever we need for those books to be read, not banned. The fact that books get banned tells us all we need to know about how important they are, and how powerful words and books can be. Look to the classics section of any bookshop or library and its shelves will be filled with “banned books”.
Banned Books Week 2018, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, is being held September 23 – 29. The 2018 theme, “Banning Books Silences Stories,” is a reminder that everyone needs to speak out against the tide of censorship.
To mark the occasion we’re delighted to welcome German born, Dundalk resident and author Marcel Krueger to give his Teutonic take on the classic All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
After almost 10 years at No. 77 Park Street, Roe River Books is moving to a bright shiny new premises at No. 66/67 Park Street (next door to Mackin’s Leathergoods). It would be emotional if it weren’t so hectic. We will unfortunately have to close for a week or so, to facilitate the move. We will be closed for business from from Tuesday 15th May until we re-open on Wednesday 23rd May.
We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused and if anyone is in urgent need of our service you can contact us by e-mail ([email protected]) or Facebook, and we’ll do our best to facilitate you. Thanks to everyone for the terrific support and loyalty over the last 10 years it was greatly appreciated. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates on our new venture and here’s hoping we’ll see you all in the new premises!