Featured Readers

Each month we sit down for a chat with a ‘Featured Reader’, to find out about their favourite books of all time, their literary preferences, recommendations, revered authors, & the likes...

This Month

Jennie Djing

Jennie Moran

Photo: Brian Cregan

Libraries fill me with divilment. The level of concentration in them brings out an awful bold streak in me.

Jennie Moran

Jennie, you are an artist, a café owner and a DJ - how do you combine them all?

By doing them all at the same time!

Luncheonette is a big long art project, growing all the time. It's about changing how places feel, using food as a way of gathering people together. DJing is just another way of playing around with atmospheres.

Music, like food, is a beautiful way of holding people together, stretching out the chance for human connection, bypassing conversation with dancing, feeling connected in a clump of collective emotions while everything that is going on in our lives waits outside.

Tell us a bit about yourself - where were you born? What memories do you have of your neighbourhood growing up?

I grew up in Sandymount in Dublin which was quite tame. We used to stand at the dart station guessing commuters’ names after school for fun. I'm an only child which made me the architect of many complex and absurd made up worlds.

What is your earliest memory of reading? Do you have a favourite book or author from childhood?

Was there ever a birthday party spread that lived up to the one My Naughty Little Sister sabotaged? I remember trying to recreate it in my Granny's house in Limerick. Something about the old fashioned larder that made it seem feasible. But I'm thinking back on the books I read towards the end of primary school, apart from Judy Blume, procured by my older cousin, full of Americans heavy petting, there was such high emotion, tragedy, fraught situations, morals. Summer of my German Soldier, Goodnight Mr. Tom, Under the Hawthorn Tree etc.

Did you use your local library as a child ? Do you have a favourite library now or from your past?

Libraries fill me with divilment. The level of concentration in them brings out an awful bold streak in me. I remember processing this fizzy energy by running in and turning all the lights off in the one in school. Sometimes when I'm feeling grown up enough, I very much enjoy working in the National Library, which also has a fabulous loo.

Which of your books is battered and worn from using over and over again?

I love getting rid of books, passing them on but I do have a beautiful orange hardback Roget's Thesaurus which I treasure very much. I love the categories of language he has made - 'meaning clusters' of words that have the same colour of meaning, quite philosophical, some of it based on Aristotle.

What are you reading right now?

I am travelling around Kerry and Cork with my lovely man sleeping in his van reading Just Kids by Patti Smith, set in 70's New York. Just like that, life feels so different.

Is there a book you think every child should have on their shelf?

Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr Seuss. Adults too.

Is there a book that opened up another culture to you?

I remember leaving home to study crafts in Thomastown and my housemate (who is to become the kind of solid gold friend that makes you feel like the luckiest person alive) lent me Like Water for Chocolate. Well! There I was huddled up, (pregnant) in our freezing cold cottage on an island in the middle of the river Nore, unlearning all my Catholic repression with this celebration of the body as ecosystem; full of pleasure and longing, with the thoughts linked to the emotions linked to the food linked to the gut linked to the sex linked to the dreams.

Is there an event or gathering you held in Luncheonette that stands in your mind? Tell us about the people and the food.

Yes. In April of 2016 two NCAD students, Maia Nunes and Leonie Quinn hosted a dinner in Luncheonette for people they had met who were living in Direct Provision, many of whom had no access to cooking facilities or ingredients, with meals supplied by multinational catering companies. There was a loose invitation for those who were interested to come early and help prepare the food. Everyone came early! Our kitchen was filled with emotional, joyous chaos. Wagner, our chef was his usual monk/magician. I was just crying and washing dishes. Then things got quiet, by some miracle everything was ready and we all sat down.

shelves

The Books

We have been finding out about the books that matter to you, to grow this virtual bookshelf that represents the lives, families and culture of the people that call Dublin home. Here are a selection of some of the books that you have been telling us …

Share Your Favourites?

We want to hear about the books that matter to you. Tell us about your most cherished books, what you’re reading right now, your favourite book from your childhood, and the books that make up the story of your life. Share your recommended reads and take part here

Take Part

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