‘Holding’, Graham Norton

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I picked this up on a recent trip to West Cork because I was only dying to read about the village in the book I thought would be only too familiar – and I was right.

This book has been flying off the shelves and I’m yet to meet someone who didn’t enjoy it. It’s all the more enjoyable still for anyone who has been to West Cork and will recognise the surroundings and inhabitants.

Most of us will probably agree that reading about somewhere you know is twice the fun!

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It’s been flying off the shelves in every corner of Ireland and this week won The Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards – so what’s so great about Graham Norton’s debut fiction novel?

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For anyone trying to get back in touch with reading

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When I got a mobile phone for Christmas when I was 11, the first thing I used it for was as a flashlight to read under the covers long after I was supposed to be asleep.
That’s probably a good indication of how much I loved reading as a child. I always had a book in my hand – in fact, one of my most vivid memories of school was reading under my desk, which I did for most of that year without being spotted.

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‘Milk and Honey’ and the rise of the Instapoet

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Instagram may have started out as a photo and video-sharing social network but for poets, the #instapoet and #instapoetry hashtags are drawing in a whole new audience.

I ordered a copy of ‘Milk and Honey’ by Rupi Kaur, who prefers to write in lower-case letters, after seeing a photo of her book shared on Instagram. Having read the book of poetry one morning while lying in bed, I instantly loved Rupi and her collection of poetry about ‘survival, womanhood, abuse, love, and loss’.

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‘My Name is Lucy Barton’, Elizabeth Strout

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I bought this book for my Kindle after reading a short synopsis on The Guardian after the book was longlisted for the Man Booker, and quickly decided it was a book I would love.

Love it I did, and I’ve since bought a hardback copy for my mother. This is one of those books you just can’t deny how good it is – it leaves you thinking long after you *tap* to the final page!

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My Name is Lucy Barton further cements Pulitzer Prize-winning Elizabeth Strout’s reputation as a powerful storyteller, as she weaves a tale focusing on the concepts of home and childhood within one heroine revisited by the past.

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‘Dept. of Speculation’, Jenny Offill

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This was one of those books that I started while lying in bed one Saturday morning and didn’t put down until it was finished.

I fell madly in love with this, which was on my Book Depository wishlist before I stumbled across a fresh, never-borrowed copy in the library.

It says a lot that I’m considering buying my own copy to keep on my shelf forever.

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Bound together in captivating vignettes, Jenny Offill’s second novel Dept. of Speculation tells the story of a marriage in a brutal study of parenthood, relationships and unfulfilled aspirations.

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Why I loved… The Neapolitan Novels

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There have been three times in my life that I’ve gotten hooked into a series of books.

The first time was when I started reading the Harry Potter series, which I’m proud to say is a love affair that has lasted up to this day. The second time I lingered outside my local Easons as a teenager just after Christmas to pick up the next copies of Twilight, which I blasted through.

The third time happened again this Christmas past, when I was inspired to pick up the first of the Neapolitan Novels, My Brilliant Friend. I’m not a big series reader, but I really felt that each time I finished one of these books, I couldn’t have got my hands on the next one quick enough.

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‘Fates and Furies’, Lauren Groff

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I don’t know how I was so slow off the mark with this one, because it’s probably one of my favourites and most memorable this year.

Anything that features any element of classical history is a win and stories that have hidden truths are some of my best-loved novels. I remember them long after I’ve turned the last page. .

I read that this was Obama’s book of the year, that intrigued me to say the least! This was probably recommended to me by someone very wise, and I’m glad they did. So thanks, whoever you are!

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In Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, the course of a 24-year marriage is unravelled and the distance between the two tellings exposed.

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