Friday, December 28, 2007

Poetry by Deirdre Brennan from Arlen House

The poet Deirdre Brennan’s latest work is a twin-volume containing two distinct works, a book of poetry in English entitled Swimming with Pelicans and a book of poetry in Irish entitled Ag Eitilt fara Condair. The book was launched in Galway City Library on Thursday November 22nd.

One of the poems in the collection is entitled An Hibiscus, the Hibiscus being that tropical flower of such great and universally admired beauty. Deirdre Brennan’s poem discusses the invisibility of older people, especially older women.
We liked the poem very much and in preparation for the launch Petrina Mee, a member of library staff at Library Headquarters, translated the poem into English. We reproduce below a section of the translation, and we hope that it will encourage you to enjoy the full poem in it’s original form and that you will also seek out more of Deirdre Brennan’s fine poetry.

Deirdre Brennan’s book is published by Arlen House. It is full of poems of the kind of power and life and colour to be found in the lines below:

The change to city life was hard on her,
she who had lived all her life in a rural setting
the young starlings would have learned how to fly by now;
the hawk-moths sucking August sweetness from the petunias
and the owls calling in the night in her old garden

She felt herself taking on the form of a hibiscus, potted up in a hothouse,
her blooms as red as wild corn-poppies
in the morning, the trumpet of her petals opening,
falling to the windowsill by day’s end
some day they’d see her own petals closing one after the other
folding over on her stamen so compactly
that they would not be able to separate them from each other without tearing them

Friday, December 21, 2007

Most popular books in 2007

According to our computerised records the most popular book issues in Galway Public Libraries for 2007 were as follows:

Adult Fiction

  • Hosseini, Khaled: A thousand splendid suns
  • Binchy, Maeve: Whitethorn Woods
  • Keyes, Marian: Anybody out there?
  • Edwards, Kim: The memory keeper's daughter
  • Patterson, James: Judge and jury
  • Ahern, Cecelia: Where rainbows end
  • Ahern, Cecelia: If you could see me now
  • Picoult, Jodi: My sister's keeper
  • O'Flanagan, Sheila: Anyone but him
  • Connelly, Michael: Echo Park

Adult Non-Fiction

  • Bird, Charlie: This is Charlie Bird
  • McGrath, Paul: Paul McGrath :the autobiography
  • Robinson, Tim: Connemara :listening to the wind
  • Purcell, Deirdre: Diamonds and holes in my shoes
  • McGahern, John: Memoir
  • Grisham, John:The innocent man
  • Shields, Stan: Stan's Galway
  • Henry, William: Galway and the Great War
  • Bryson, Bill: The life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid :a memoir
  • D'Arcy, Brian: A different journey

Juvenile Fiction

  • Wilson, Jacqueline: Best friends
  • Sharratt, Nick: Best friends
  • Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the half-blood prince
  • Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the deathly hallows
  • Simon, Francesca: Horrid Henry's underpants
  • Black, Holly:The field guide: Book 1 :Spiderwick chronicles
  • Snicket, Lemony: The wide window :book the third
  • Child, Lauren: Clarice Bean spells trouble
  • Sharratt, Nick:The bed and breakfast star

Juvenile Non-Fiction

  • Deary, Terry: Ireland
  • Frank, Anne: The diary of a young girl
  • Simon, Francesca: Horrid Henry's joke book:
  • Deary, Terry: The awesome Egyptians
  • Daynes, Katie: Titanic
  • Deary, Terry:The frightful First World War
  • Gibson, Ray: The Usborne book of art ideas

  • Deary, Terry: Dark knights and dingy castles
  • Deary, Terry: The cut-throat Celts

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Adventures in Reading

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:

Tomás Rivera: The Complete Works; Arte Publico Press
Tomas Rivera presents us with the lives migratory farm workers in Texas during the decade of 1950 with all its joys and sorrows. Searching is a constant theme in his work: searching for work, searching for identity, and the quest for community. "How long, how long have we been searchers...from within came the passion to create a new life, a new dream every day. In the dump we discovered beautiful flowers among the cans and broken bottles. The sky was blue blue and even the birds looked at it and didn't disturb its beauty, a sacred blue pushing toward the earth."

The Charterhouse of Parma, by Stendhal; Modern Library
The narrative takes the reader by storm with its fervid pace, the pace at which Stendhal wrote it. This translation by the distinguished poet, Richard Howard, preserves the brio, gusto, élan, verve, and panache of the original. The novel's hero is always measuring his life against the poems and novels he has read. He keeps checking up on himself, as if trying to conform to some hidden master plan for being, or for loving -- a plan that, as the novel tragically demonstrates, he is never quite able to follow.

Three Stories and a Reflection, by Patrick Suskind; Bloomsbury Publishing
The topics are all plucked from the life - sometimes melancholy, sometimes mysterious or dark, and never monumental but they tie one from the first sentence. The protagonists are underdogs or losers, and come mostly from humble backgrounds. The art lies not in the content of the stories, it is in their words. In the opening story, about a young painter who after harmless criticism plunges into despair, Suskind writes about the frightening power of superficial criticism.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Database of Irish women's writing, 1800-2005

The University of Warwick and University College Dublin has constructed a bibliographical database of Irish women writers, who wrote in both Irish and English, between 1800 and 2005. The database includes a whole range of publications, such as novels, articles, poems, memoirs, travel writing, essays, cookery writing, plays, films, etc.

The database also provides biographical details, where available, such as birth dates, date of death, place of birth and death, places associated with a particular author, together with all known pseudonyms. Every known edition of a book, play, or film is listed, along with details of printers and publishers for each work. The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The database is now freely available here

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Enhancements to News Resources

NewsBank, inc. has been one of the world’s premier information providers for more than 35 years. They will soon release an enhanced interface that significantly improves search results across their unrivaled local, national and international newspaper content. These enhancements to our news products, including —Australia's Newspapers, Access UK and Ireland Newspapers, Access World News—will go live on January 7, 2008.
Researchers using news databases are frequently overwhelmed by excessive or unrelated search returns. The solution: intuitive tools that narrow or refine the focus of a search to quickly produce specific, useful results. These new features, developed with an advisory board of librarians from around the world, enable users to:
  • more quickly and efficiently navigate through millions of articles
    tailor searches by specific source, one or multiple geographic locations, source types and more
  • further refine search returns by title, date, source type or location with a single click
  • explore timelines on specific topics or events to understand at a glance how coverage has changed over time
  • compare different viewpoints and uncover differences in news coverage across locations and time periods

This service is available to Galway Public Library members through our website here. You will need to login using the barcode on your library membership card

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Literature in Libraries

Since its foundation in 1995, 'Markings' has evolved into one of Scotland’s most popular literary magazines. Its content addresses poetry, fiction, contemporary art, criticism and reviews, including both commissioned and unsolicited material. Editorial policy is to feature writers and artists from southern Scotland, alongside their counterparts from around the world. A significant portion of each issue is dedicated to one writer and artist, enabling them to present a representative body of work.

Markings has teamed up with Bibliographic Data Services Ltd (BDS) to create the BDS Literature in Libraries scheme which involves searching for new talent in poetry and short story writing from writers who are in any way associated with libraries. Further information can be had by contacting the magazine here.

The current edition (Issue 25 October 2007), is available in Galway City Library. It includes contributions from performances made at this years Kiltimagh Literary Festival: Insight of Rafteri featuring Over the Edge poets Kevin Higgins and Susan Miller Du Mars.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Adventures in Reading

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:
Tonguecat, by Peter Verhelst-Farrar, Straus and Giroux
These days, the pursuit of perfection is all around us, a pursuit that is based on the notion that we can alter the world to suit us. But, according to recent theories, this view is untenable and perfect order always ultimately degenerates into chaos. In Tongue Cat, Peter Verhelst uses the various stories to describe how a city falls apart and comes to grief in chaos and violence. In the masterly final chapter, Verhelst lets the story, together with the city, burst apart at the seams. Tonguecat is a visionary novel about our society.

The Center of Everything, by Laura Moriarty - Hyperion Books
Evelyn is 10 when the novel opens, an observer of the silent struggle between Tina, her wayward young mother, and Eileen, her quiet, religious grandmother. Though Evelyn appears to be a mere observer of the tumultuous lives of her friends and family, it is she who will achieve her dreams with quiet determination. Evelyn is an intriguing, thoughtful narrator, and this novel is a truly exceptional coming-of-age story, perfect for readers of all ages. Moriarty deftly treads the line between adolescence and adulthood, and insecurity and self-assurance, offering a moving portrait of life.

My Christina, by Mercé Rodoreda - Graywolf Press
DEAR DOCTOR: Don't be surprised that I describe my condition in writing. Don't be surprised that the name I sign isn't mine. In a way I'm very shy and people frighten me. Maybe if you think about it calmly, you'll figure out who I am, but as for me, if there's no cure for my disease, I'd rather you didn't think about it and didn't figure it out. What’s been happening to me is so pent up inside: I'm turning into such a madwoman that I have to try and explain myself in writing. (Opening lines)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Doris Lessing...the war and the memory never finish

Doris Lessing is angry. In October of 2007 she won the Nobel Prize for Literature, on the following day she had her 88th birthday but she is still feeling angry. She has just finished a book about the war and her parents. Through her writing her memory has been envoked and now she feels full of rage and courage. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper "El país" she explains why.
We had the extraordinary opportunity to drink a cup of tea with Doris Lessing, the night before her birthday. She had a cold, she was worried about the bad mood of her cat and she explained to us that she had already finished a book about the war and her parents, "a book of rage and courage". Her house is an isolated area of peace; we are surrounded by books and now she reads a lot about the Spanish Civil War, an episode which filled her generation with anger an interest.

How are you feeling after all the bustle of the Nobel?
Are you asking me seriously?
Well… I cough all the time, I have a light diarrhea and cystitis.
Aside from all this I am feeling very well, thank you.
All my symptoms are because of stress, the stress of the Nobel.
The doorbell is ringing all day long, everyone wants to see me, the phone does not stop ringing, it is like this all day, everyday. And the cat is annoyed, don’t you see it?

Lessing lives this sudden interest with the indifference of someone observing their fame; she knows that this popularity is volatile.

You have always cautioned people about the perversions of the mass media: journalism, television and all that surrounds us everyday…
Yes, and I am still cautioning. Anyway the mass media and the journalist are two different topics. Furthermore, now we have the internet which has introduced a new type of culture, one which we accept without truly understanding.
And the television, just look at the television. Television has changed the way of thinking of everybody although we do not really know why.
I have seen the television come into a house where once all there was, was the radio, where the people used to sit together every night to talk, to eat, be together, etc…In those days our lifestyles were more simple, more healthy, more natural… and then came the television and interrupted all this culture and way of life.
That was the end of the conversation, of the joviality and of the coexistence…

And in which culture do we live now?
Family life has changed. As you know most of our women work and when they come home although they are exhausted, they still have their work at home to do… preparing meals, cleaning the house etc. .
We do not read to our children anymore because we are too tired … all this is new…

And how do you see England now?
People have now a lot of money … if you go to Leicester Square you will see that it is completely full. At midnight or even early in the morning there are still young people wanting to have fun. That is new in this country. I do not believe that this is going to last… Hmmmm, we will see.

How do you feel inside when you write about the war?
I am angry and somehow I can not take this anger out of me.

Is literature not helping?
The anger is still there and I do not know why. I feel the same as my father felt, rage, rage that something like that could happen. We had to fight the Second World War but the First was completely unnecessary…

When you were a child you ate oranges while you were reading. You were also a dreamer.
And I still am a dreamer but now I do not eat oranges anymore. I am too old to eat oranges now. That happens when we get old: I do not eat this, I do not eat that…. But I still read a lot and dream.

Do you remember your dreams?
Of course and as a writer it is normal that I use them.
Now you have a lot to celebrate, but about what are you especially happy?
I have a situation in my life about which I do not even speak. I have an invalid son of whom I have to take care. So my life
is not really what I expected. I can not talk about it. My life is not my life anymore.

What are you going to do for your birthday?
Nothing. I will think about this kind of thing when I get to 90.
Oh my God! The telephone is ringing again!

El Pais, 21st October 2007. Interview by Juan Guz

Translated and compiled by Vanessa Lafarga Kärnä
Galway Public Libraries