Tell us a little about your Book Club and the kind of things that you do
We are all members of the Irish branch of the Society of Young Publishers. The SYP is formed of people in their first ten years of their career in publishing. Books brought us all into publishing and this group allows us to focus on what we love about them - sentences; themes; topics; the cover. We discuss the marketing, why it was or wasn’t well received by critics, if it would work beyond Ireland and where they would be shelved in bookstores and libraries.
Our book club began this year so we have no ‘before’ story to share! In fact, the virtual space has made our group less exclusive and our members come from all four corners of Ireland to participate. Most likely our group will remain online, but not to say we couldn’t meet for a particular bookish pilgrimage... MoLI anyone?
Do you have a preferred theme or genre?
Our aim is to read books published or written or that share an experience or have a connection with Ireland, some which were game changers or even banned. Many of us studied English or publishing and work everyday with books so when we read our book club books we read with a different eye and intention.
Is there a title that stands out above all the others?
The first book we chose was A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa. Published in 2020 by the small but mighty Tramp Press, this is a unique text by a poet and essayist. Part memoir, part auto-fiction, part historical investigation, the group agreed they’d never read anything quite like it.
A book that changed your mind about something?
A Ghost in the Throat opened declaring ’This is a female text’. Some of our members celebrated that this was written by a woman about a woman. Other members argued they didn’t need to be told it was a ‘female text’, the images, scenes and themes described made this clear. This is a female text and yet it spoke so much of motherhood that some of us felt excluded.
What was your most divisive / challenging title?
In September, our Irish SYP Bookclub branch joins with the London SYP Bookclub to share our thoughts on the forthcoming Sally Rooney novel. We are curious to see how readers in both cities find it and if we can separate this text from Normal People the series and the book.
What are you reading right now?
For our April meeting we will read Mary Lavelle by Kate O’Brien. None of us have read it so we come with clean eyes to read a text that was banned in both Ireland and Spain upon publication in 1936.
Your recommended read?
Each of our members has chosen a title to share:
Elizabeth chose: John Mc Gahern Amongst Women stating ‘once read, never forgotten’
Aisling recommends Emilie Pine Notes to Self as they are ‘such amazing stories’
Neasa suggests Kevin Barry’s short stories as ‘he really captures the voice of Irish people well. Fjord of Killary is a good example’
Jess picked Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends as ‘essential background reading for our September book club choice of Sally’s much awaited third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You’
Maggie has selected Anna Burns Milkman as ‘the author evokes a time and place in unexpected ways’
Talitha recommends Molly Keane's Good Behaviour as 'it's a great classic to return to.'
Find out more about the Society of Young Publishers Ireland here.