Readers' Recommendations

Our Books

Amy Mc Grath

Amy McGrath

Dublin born and bred

Where in Dublin do you live?
Coolock
Where are you from?
Coolock

What are you reading right now?

Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast by Oscar Wilde.

Tell us a bit about it ...

Wilde is an antidote for sincerity, I think. The book is a collection of quotes that you can dip into every now and then. It feels like eavesdropping on a pub conversation, so it's fitting for having so much time isolated during the pandemic.


What is your favourite book of all time?

A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor by John Berger.

Tell us a bit about it ...

This book helped me to see through class assumptions and made me see that working-class knowledge is just that – knowledge. I read it in college and come back to it, again and again.

John Berger follows a middle-class doctor as he navigates a working-class village in rural England. He takes pride in his work, while simultaneously benefiting from his class privilege. The local people seek his advice on not just medical concerns, but housing, funding, education, to name a few.

He holds a position of power that isn't owed to him. It helped me to see through authority by basis of class, and how working-class people deserve to have their own authentic voice to speak on behalf of their experiences.


What book do you remember most from childhood?

Wolf Brother by Michelle Pavel.

Tell us a bit about it ...

It's a wonderfully written adventure book set in the Stone Age. I loved it for showing kids how fun and interesting history can be. I would draw scenes from the book – it's probably a factor into how I ended up as an illustrator.


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

Design as Art by Bruno Munari.

Tell us a bit about it ...

This book helped me to make the transition from design to illustration. It's a great book by a prolific creative who was a master in both. It's very direct and helpful for when I'm making compositions – you can tell that Munari used it a lot as a reference, himself. I like honest notes in reference books – there's no airs and graces about them. They're simply sharing what they know.


What is your favourite book by an international author?

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

Tell us a bit about it ...

It was the first book I ever read that was so clear in its portrayal of a gay relationship. I was in the closet at the time – at age 16 – so it meant a lot to me to see two men so in love and not afraid to express it to each other. It's beautifully written and I recommend it to anyone who loves history and romance.


What book do you feel depicts your own or another culture most vividly?

The Plough and the Stars by Sean O'Casey.

Tell us a bit about it ...

It's a marvel of a play that helped me to identify with my working-class roots when I started attending college.


Is there a book that changed your mind/perspective about something?

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Tell us a bit about it ...

Dr. Frankl was a psychologist and a Holocaust survivor from Poland. He founded a type of therapy called logotherapy, which later influenced modern mindfulness techniques. In the book, he shares how he mentally survived Auschwitz, despite losing everything.

It's really good – it shows how we can all aspire to meaning and purpose even in dark times, and how we can apply mindfulness techniques to help us get the most positive meaning out of our daily lives.


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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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