Readers' Recommendations

Our Books

Bea Kelleher Headshot

Bea Kelleher

Dublin born and bred

Where in Dublin do you live?
Leeson Street
Where are you from?

What are you reading right now?

Independent People by Halldór Laxness.

Tell us a bit about it:

Wonderfully restrained writing looking at the tough life of an Icelandic farmer through changes in his circumstances and his struggle to remain independent and proud throughout the changing political landscape of Iceland in his lifetime. Sounds terrible, but is a really engrossing read and the main character is unusual in that you know he would be offended if he thought for a second that someone was writing about him.

What is your favourite book of all time?

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Tell us a bit about it:

Unrestrained sentimentality and obsession. The passion pulses through everything and drives the two main monstrous characters in the book - it is confusing but attractive and usually destructive to everyone else who comes close to them. I love the sheer drama in this book and it is my guilty pleasure over Christmas to sit with it, in deep deep peace, with an endless supply of tea and read it from cover to cover. Every year.

What book do you remember most from your childhood?

The Silver Curlew by Eleanor Farjeon.

Tell us a bit about it:

The first book I read for myself. A reworking of rumplestilskin set in Norfolk with capricious kings, dumplings, fair simple maidens and clever little sisters.

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

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein.

Tell us a bit about it:

It took me a month to read this book the first time. And I then needed to start again to make sure that I got it all the first time. An adventure which barrels along with little people, elves, orks, wizards, fairy folk, spectres, magic rings and so on and so on. Lots of stuff happens all the time in this book. ALL THE TIME. I dip in and out of it all the time when I am between books or exhausted of the book I'm meant to be reading. It is like gossiping with friends.

What is your favourite book by an international writer?

The First Man by Albert Camus.

Tell us a bit about it:

This is his last, unfinished novel and was a work in progress - which is really clear from the free flow text [which is] unusual in his other writing. He writes of what it is like to be a boy, from childhood to early adulthood, what it feels like, how blissful days in the sun and sand can be, the excitement and fears of the everyday when you are that young. It is a much more immediate book than his other writing, but just as satisfying a read.

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

Amongst Women by John McGahern.

Tell us about it:

It examines the later years of a powerful but bitter man who is, as the title suggests, surrounded by women - his wife, daughters - who love but fear him. This novel explored the last convulsion of the unquestioned bullying patriarchy and the growing realisation of their power diminishing. Difficult read.

Was there a book that really changed your mind about something?

The Nothing that Is: A Natural History of Zero by Robert Kaplan.

Tell us about it:

This is the story of how the symbol which represents nothing evolved and how this not just changed maths and how we calculate/articulate/project quantities, it also represented a sea change in how we think of nothing: zero is a symbol for what is not there, an emptiness that increases any number it's added to, an inexhaustible and indispensable paradox.


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 …

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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

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