Your Summer Staycation Reading List
There’s no denying it; this summer really is like no other. We’ve gone through huge transitions as a society, and are now hopefully coming out the other side. As lockdown measures ease, we may not be able to travel for that sunny holiday abroad, but there’s plenty to see and do in this gorgeous country of ours! So, as you pack your bag for the lush green surrounds of Wicklow, the rugged peninsulas of Kerry or the wild surf of Clare, be sure to include a few of these great books. As proud sponsors of the Irish Book Awards, here at An Post, we can't recommend these five homegrown titles enough...
1. Naoise Dolan: Exciting Times
Sharp as a tack and wildly entertaining, the debut novel by 27-year-old Dolan is well worth a read. Set in Hong Kong – where the author spent time a few years back teaching English – Exciting Times
is the story of Ava, a twentysomething who leaves Ireland for the same reason. Upon arrival in the Far East, she meets and is attracted to two very different characters, English banker Julian, and Hong Kong lawyer Edith. Ava's cynical outlook as she navigates this exciting situation allows Dolan to explore and dissect pre-conceived ideas around love and commitment, in her signature dry and witty style.
2. Daniella Moyles: Jump
If poignant, affecting memoirs are more your thing, be sure to pick up a copy of Jump
by Daniella Moyles. A few years back, the successful radio presenter and model had something of a ‘moment’ while stuck in traffic on the M50. Overwhelmed by panic and a sense she no longer knew who she was, Moyles decided to quit her job and backpack around the world for two years – as you do! Jump
is the story of those travels and how they’ve shaped her life journey since returning to Ireland. Hint: She's currently studying to be psychotherapist and has founded a successful holistic and wellness business.
3. Cauvery Madhavan: The Tainted
Sometimes, a heady, historical romance is just what the holiday doctor ordered, and The Tainted
by Cauvery Madhavan certainly doesn’t disappoint. Predominantly set in 1920s India, the book is inspired by the real-life mutiny of the Connaught Rangers, who got word of the violence being carried out at home by the infamous Black & Tans. Against this political backdrop, Madhavan (who was born in India and lives in Ireland) sets a love story, between Michael Nolan – a member of the Royal Irish Kildare Rangers – and Anglo-Indian maid, Rose. Enthralling and informative, you won’t want to put The Tainted
4. Hilary Fannin: The Weight of Love
Though this is Fannin’s debut novel, she’s been writing plays and contributing columns for years. A decision later in life to return to college (M.Phil in Creative Writing at Trinity) finally spawned The Weight of Love
, a critically-acclaimed exploration of relationships and the pursuit of happiness. Set over the course of 23 years, the novel follows the lives of Ruth and Robin, a married couple for whom sparks didn’t initially fly. In fact, Ruth and Robin’s friend Joseph had a relationship back in 1995, a fact that still haunts the couple’s present-day relationship. Exquisitely written, beautiful and at times heart-breaking, The Weight of Love
is the perfect lazy-days read.
5. Emily Hourican: The Outsider
Finally, for those who prefer their summers a little darker, a tense psychological thriller! The Outsider
is Belfast-born, Dublin-based Emily Hourican’s fourth novel, and follows the intertwined relationship between two Irish families who meet on holiday in Portugal. Rife with tension, this dark family drama switches viewpoints regularly, offering a rich portrayal of two very different couples swept up in the trappings of the Celtic Tiger.
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