Thursday 23 November 2017

The books flying off the shelves this Christmas

Susan Walsh of Dubray Books with some titles for sale at Christmas. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Susan Walsh of Dubray Books with some titles for sale at Christmas. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Jane O'Faherty

Heroes, humour and whodunnits are the big winners this Christmas, as bookshops keep up with the intense demand for good reads.

Susan Walsh, of Dubray Books, said autobiographies were the most coveted releases this year, with Paul O'Connell and Bruce Springsteen leading the way.

Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Rugby legend O'Connell's offering 'The Battle' is topping the charts in Dubray's stores. But Ms Walsh said that 'Born To Run' from The Boss wasn't too far behind.

She added that the men "are two characters that are so loved and respected in Ireland".

"They go beyond the remit of music fans or sports fans. Everybody wants to read their story."

Ms Walsh said it was also a busy season for Irish fiction, from seasoned storytellers to first-time authors.

Paul O'Connell Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Paul O'Connell Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

"Graham Norton's 'Holding' is going to be a bestseller, I'd say. There are dark elements to it - a dead body is found, but the characters are fantastic. It's almost like Agatha Christie or Maeve Binchy.

"Sebastian Barry's new book was a huge event for us, and Liz Nugent sold so well all year," she said.

Biting satire is also proving popular for Christmas, with Waterford Whispers News and Ross O'Carroll-Kelly doing well.

But recent re-imaginings of the adventures of 'The Famous Five' is also proving popular, as Enid Blyton's characters tackle modern-day issues.

"'Five on Brexit Island' is one that keeps coming out on top for us," said Ms Walsh.

In terms of children's books, 'Historopedia' is also second-best seller at Dubray. Meanwhile, 'Pigín of Howth' is also doing well.

And while clean-eating cookbooks have done well over the past 12 months, Jamie Oliver's 'Christmas Cookbook' is streets ahead.

"People still love getting their Christmas cookbook, and it's surprising Jamie Oliver only released his now," she said. "We have always done well with Delia's and Nigella's books in the past."

But Irish chefs Neven Maguire and Indy Power are also proving popular.

"The Irish chefs have a strong hold on this market. 'The World of the Happy Pear' is still selling well too, and that was released back in June.

Catherine Kavanagh, of The Book Centre in Waterford, said regional authors were doing good business.

"We have local books like Ken McGrath's 'Hand on Heart' - that's flying out for us," she said.

"There is also Brian Kennedy's 'Characters and Closures', which looks at the closures of local factories and the people who worked there.

"The Irish authors always get a boost at Christmas, and people will seek out new Irish titles."

There was extra cause for celebration in Galway City, after local author Mike McCormack scooped the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book of the Year Award.

Vinny Browne, of Charlie Byrne's Bookstore, said the shop was struggling to keep copies of McCormack's 'Solar Bones' in stock.

"It's been flying off the shelf. It's reprinting at the moment and we'll have more in time for Christmas."

While the pressure is on to keep up with demand, he said the lead-up to Christmas was always "a wonderful time in any bookshop".

"The shop is a social centre for people who meet each other, and it's part of being in town at this time of year."

Irish Independent

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