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Pick out a page-turner from our bumper crop

Tana French's The Likeness (Hachette Books Ireland) makes a riveting holiday read. A new light in Irish crime writing, Tana writes tensely plotted psychological thrillers that are hugely satisfying. In this one, a former undercover agent is spooked to discover that her identity has been stolen by a girl who is her double ... and who is now dead. Julia Kelly's With My Lazy Eye (Quercus) -- a coming-of-age story set in Dublin in the Seventies and Eighties -- is fresh, funny, vivid, and very moving. Julia is a promising new literary talent and this is one of my books of the year. And finally, this summer I have embraced my inner teenage girl and raced through Stephenie Meyer's brilliant Twilight series (ATOM). There's nothing like a teen vampire love triangle to distract one from the stresses of a busy day ... With the concluding book, Breaking Dawn, to launch on August 4 and a movie to come, she's a name to look out for.

Maria Dickenson is Head of Book Purchasing at Eason.


The recently published Casanova by Ian Kelly (Hodder) proves that the 18th-century Venetian polymath deserves to be remembered for much more than his member, having written 42 books, plays, philosophical and mathematical treatises and opera libretti. No less talented, but marching to a different drummer, is old war-horse Gore Vidal, whose invaluable Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (Clairview Books) soon cleanses one of all the right-wing guff one hears about the so-called "war on terror". A world away, but both funny and insightful is The Book of Poor Ould Fellas by Declan Lynch and Arthur Mathews (Hachette Books Ireland), outlining how Modern Ireland has made life intolerable for ould fellas, whose principal means of transport are black bikes and small tractors. On the quirky side, Emily Cockayne's Hubbub -- Filth, Noise and Stench in England (Yale University Press) will satisfy those of you who ever wondered what 17th-century daily life was like. And finally, A Pirate of Exquisite Mind by Diana & Michael Preston (Corgi) tells the story of the incomparable English adventurer and ne'er-do-well William Dampier. In his portrait by Joshua Reynolds, he's the spit of Dickie Rock.

Gerry Anderson is a broadcaster and author of the forthcoming 'Heads' (Gill & Macmillan, September), a memoir of his time on the road with a showband during the Seventies.


Summer on holiday in Wexford means each family member brings a pile of books which get read, swapped and talked about. Sebastian Barry's beautifully-written The Secret Scripture (Faber) will definitely lead to much discussion. Initially chosen for its title, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (Bloomsbury) in two days -- a touching, absorbing story set during the German occupation of the island that I know others will enjoy. Author of Bel Canto, Ann Patchett's Run (Bloomsbury), about the unexpected consequences of an accident, is a good read and I'm looking forward to Barry McCrea's The First Verse (Brandon), an imaginative first novel in which books feature strongly. Set in contemporary Dublin, it will be a contrast to Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, (Sceptre) the fictionalised story of the scandalous romance between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and a married woman, who deserted her family to be with him -- the ending takes your breath away!

Jane Alger is Divisional Librarian, Dublin City Libraries.


Irish writer Hugo Hamilton is on my list with his new novel, Disguise (Fourth Estate) The mother of a three-year-old boy killed during the bombing of Berlin is given an apparently orphaned refugee child as a replacement son, and she gives him the same name as the boy who died. He grows up unaware of his true identity, until an accidental slip reveals the possibility that he is a Jewish survivor. I'll also be packing psychiatrist Ivor Browne's Music and Madness (Atrium) to find out more about his fascinating and controversial career and about the tensions that have shaped our understanding of mental health. Finally, historian and Dominican nun Margaret MacCurtain, who taught me in UCD and has remained a wise and generous friend, has published her collected essays under the title Ariadne's Thread (Arlen House), tracing 30 years' in the writing of Irish women's history.

Diarmaid Ferriter is an historian and broadcaster. His book, 'Judging Dev', was Argosy Non-Fiction book of the year at the Irish Book Awards, 2008.


I've just finished The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller (Canongate), a quirky page-turner that I enjoyed. Pippa Lee, a devoted wife and mother, appears to have the perfect life, but underneath her pristine exterior lies a complex woman with a colourful past. During the summer I also tend to read thrillers, and this summer my sister has given me Lee Child's The Hard Way (Bantam). The hero is your typical gruff, ex-military tough guy, but the story captures your attention from the first page. Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale (HarperPerennial) is one of the few books that all the members of my book club liked. It's the story of an artist, Rachel Kelly, who dies suddenly, leaving her family to discover who she really was. Gale handles the link between Rachael's bipolarity and her creativity with great insight. Having loved The Curious Incident of the dog in the Night-Time, I was keen to Mark Haddon's A Spot of Bother (Vintage). I wasn't disappointed. Haddon has a real gift of weaving humour into dark situations.

Sinead Moriarty's latest novel, 'Whose Life Is It Anyway?', is out now (Penguin Ireland).


The View has been off for a few weeks now so, with no homework to do, I'm already well into the holiday books. The Tobias Wolff collection -- Our Story Begins (Bloomsbury) is a real treasure with 10 new stories and 25 old ones. I'm almost through Patrick McGrath's Trauma (Bloomsbury) and it's shaping up for a very nasty twist. My annual classic is under way too -- this year it's the Sisson translation of The Divine Comedy -- one canto a day. Also in the mix is Bard of Erin -- The Life of Thomas Moore by Ronan Kelly (Penguin Ireland). He was perhaps our first real pop star, and the blurb on the back is from his pal and fellow superstar Lord Byron. I'm looking forward to reading Gerard Donovan's Country of the Grand (Faber) and I'll probably lash into the Dylan again -- Chronicles (Simon and Schuster). Like going to the well.

John Kelly is a writer and broadcaster.


I have just finished reading The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller, an engaging contemporary novel which spoke directly to my heart and I found myself gripped by her story. Those Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney (Pan) is a page-turning story about sibling rivalry, which is accessible and deep and a perfect summer read. I have always adored Isabel Allende's novels and I am looking forward to getting stuck into The Sum of Our Days (Fourth Estate), her new memoir about her colourful and eccentric family, written in the form of a letter to her dead daughter, Paula. I find Allende's spirit and writing eternally inspiring. Another writer I am fascinated by is Irene Nemirovsky, author of Suite Française, who was sent to Auschwitz, never to return. David Golder is her stunning second novel, re-published by Vintage, in which she shows that she had a wonderful ability to get you to empathise with the most unlikeable characters.

Noelle Harrison's new novel 'I Remember', will be published in September by Macmillan.


FOR 20 years now, Simon Gray has been recording his life in and around the theatre in a series of diaries that read like painfully comic novels. The latest, The Last Cigarette (Granta), is funny and moving, and as beautifully written as ever. The publication in 2006 of The Broken Shore, by master Australian crime writer Peter Temple (Quercus), was a revelation: here was a novel to rank with the classics of the genre. His Jack Irish Private Investigator series is worth catching up with also: start with Bad Debts (Quercus). Finally, Kingsley Amis' three books on drink, an area in which he could claim a certain hard-won expertise, have been published in one volume by Bloomsbury. Entitled Everyday Drinking, and with an introduction by noted imbiber Christopher Hitchens, it is vintage Kingers: cranky, perceptive, funny and faintly mad. You could enjoy it sensibly, I suppose, but what would be the point?

Declan Hughes is a playwright and crime writer. His latest novel is 'The Dying Breed' (John Murray).


AS A literary agent, most of my working year is spent reading scripts from the authors I represent and writers seeking representation, so holiday reading for me is published books from favourite authors and "buzz" books of the last few months. Kicking off my summer reading is a trio of thrillers -- John Connolly's The Reapers (Hodder); The Broken Window, a new Lincoln Rhyme novel by Jeffery Deaver (Hodder), and an exciting debut, Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith, set in Stalinist Russia (Simon & Schuster). Then there is the new Marian Keyes, This Charming Man (Penguin), a new blockbuster from Fiona O'Brien, None Of My Affair (Hodder) and Orange Prize Winner Rose Tremain's The Road Home (Vintage). Sebastian Barry's wonderful reading at the Dublin Writers' Festival makes The Secret Scripture a must for the bag and having wept copiously reading Kim Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter last year, I have packed Before I Die by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books) -- and the tissues.

Sheila Crowley is an Irish literary agent working in London and Dublin.


AN advance copy of Dennis Lehane's mammoth new novel The Given Day (Doubleday, published in January 2009), is winging its way to me, and I suspect that's going to take up a week of reading time at the very least. He's always been very uncomfortable being bracketed as a crime novelist, and I'm interested to see how he handles what appears to be a very long piece of literary fiction. One of the great things about being a writer is that you get the opportunity to read books by writers that you like some months before they hit the bookshelves, and I also have the manuscript of Alan Glynn's new novel, Winterland (Time Warner), to read: I was an admirer of his previous novel, The Dark Fields. Finally, Hellraisers by Robert Sellers tells of the lives and careers of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed. It's sad to think that O'Toole is the last of that great, colourful quartet. They really don't make them like that any more...

John Connolly's new Charlie Parker novel 'The Reapers', is published by Hodder.


NOELLE Harrison is an Irish writer I greatly admire. Her new novel, I Remember (Macmillan, September) is beside my bed, and if it possesses the same lush, sensuous and engaging prose of her first two books, I am in for a treat. I have enjoyed John Boyne's compelling piece of storytelling, Mutiny on the Bounty. An adventure and account of a boy's coming of age, it becomes a meditation on what constitutes paradise, what freedom is, and on how much suffering the human spirit can endure and still be driven forward by hope. I love seeing classic books re-issued and I am delighted to have the beautiful new edition of Billy Roche's Tumbling Down (Tassel Publications). Eamonn Wall is another Wexford writer I admire: I am enjoying his superb new poetry collection, A Tour of Your Country (Salmon), a joy of expansion and control, free-flowing yet tightly knit. But the poetry book to really excite me is Eileen Casey's debut, Drinking the Colour Blue (New Island), which bursts off the page with assurance and poise.

Dermot Bolger is a novelist, playwright and critic and author of 'The Journey Home' and 'The Woman's Daughter'.


I'M reading an advance copy of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book ( Bloomsbury, in October), and getting thoroughly depressed by how good he is. Gaiman's imagination never ceases to astound me, and tends to make me feel like a kid in a world of grown-ups. I'm also re-reading Mucho Mojo, by my favourite writer, Joe R Lansdale (Mysterious Press). This man writes crime fiction, horror, sci-fi and westerns with an amazing wit and an enviable insight into the minds of his tough-guy protagonists. It's a sin that he isn't as widely known as he should be. And finally, I'm looking forward to the girliest of girly books, Louise Rennison's Stop In The Name Of Pants. Simply hysterical. Some day I want to be as good as these writers.

Derek Landy is the author of the bestselling children's books featuring skeleton detective 'Skulduggery Pleasant'


I HAVE just begun work on my second novel which will be partly set in California, so I am curious to read James Frey's debut novel, Bright Shiny Morning (Harper) based on characters living in LA. I'm a member of two book clubs, which makes keeping up with reading difficult, but I'm just finishing Memoir by John McGahern (Faber) which I found very moving and beautifully-told. David Sedaris reminds me not to take life too seriously and I have loved all his books, so I'm keen to read When You Are Engulfed in Flames (Little Brown), although it's apparently more melancholy than his previous stories. Finally, having read Andrew Motion's memoir, In the Blood (Faber), and loved the way it was written, I'm hoping to read his Philip Larkin -- A Writer's Life (Faber) on holiday in Italy.

Julia Kelly's debut novel, 'With My Lazy Eye' won Best Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.


BEAR In Mind These Dead by Susan McKay (Faber), is a moving and timely work, which captures the lasting pain and grief of those who lost loved ones during the Troubles. I've also just finished an engaging book called The Legend of Colton H. Bryant by Alexandra Fuller (Simon & Schuster). It's a restrained, powerful and really well-told story about a simple oil rigger from Wyoming, about a life too soon cut short through the negligence of the oil industry. I am currently reading Breath by Tim Winton (Picador) and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury). The first is an intense and beautifully- written coming-of-age novel, which grabs you from the first page. The second is simply a wonderful book and a really impressive collection of absorbing short stories by a master of the form.

Eoin McHugh is publisher at Transworld Ireland.


MY first book is a cheat, as I read it the minute it came out -- This Charming Man (Penguin), by Marian Keyes. I did something I've never done before; finished it, then went straight back to page one to begin all over again. It's the gold standard and she's single-handedly raised the bar for women's commercial fiction writers for years to come. No one can tell the extraordinary story of Pam, Debo, Nancy, Diana, Jessica and Unity Mitford better than the sisters themselves. The Mitfords; Letters Between Six Sisters, edited by Charlotte Mosely (HarperPerennial) takes in all of the last century and most of the key players in it; they were connected to everyone from Hitler to JFK to Winston Churchill to Princess Diana. Finally, With My Lazy Eye by Julia Kelly is a poignant coming-of-age story, a must-read and a stunning debut.

Claudia Carroll's novel, 'I Never Fancied Him Anyway', is out now in paperback (Transworld Ireland).

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