March Is for Reading Ireland


Next month will be all about Irish literature, as Reading Ireland is once again hosted by 746books and Raging Fluff. And once again, I have way more books to read than I could possibly fit into 31 days. Such is life. If I had the entire month to myself, with nothing else to do but read, here are the books I’d pick:

195988To the North, Elizabeth Bowen: A young woman’s secret love affair leads to a violent and tragic act in one of Elizabeth Bowen’s most acclaimed novels.

880072Some Experiences of an Irish R.M., Edith Somerville and Martin Ross: An Irish Resident Magistrate learns that in Ireland, two and two don’t always make four.

12823480The Forgotten Waltz, Anne Enright: Enright captures the heady eroticism of an extramarital affair and the incendiary egomania that accompanies secret passion.

16085517TransAtlantic, Colum McCann: Newfoundland, 1919. Two aviators set course for Ireland as they attempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, placing their trust in a modified bomber to heal the wounds of the Great War.

7146335Skippy Dies, Paul Murray: When Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster falls for Lori at Seabrook College for Boys, all kinds of people take an interest, including Carl, the school psychopath.

23398782Miss Emily, Nuala O’Connor: This enchanting American debut novel reimagines the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved poets, through her own voice and through the eyes of her family’s Irish maid.

250729The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Maggie O’Farrell: A gothic, intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox will haunt you long past its final page.

24998948Mrs. Engels, Gavin McCrea: Very little is known about Lizzie Burns, the illiterate Irishwoman who was the longtime lover of Frederick Engels, co-author of The Communist Manifesto. In Gavin McCrea’s first novel, she is finally given a voice, one that won’t easily be forgotten.

25746703Tender, Belinda McKeon: By turns exhilarating and devastating, Tender is a dazzling exploration of human relationships, of the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we are taught to tell.

144852Emma Brown, Clare Boylan: When Charlotte Brontë died in 1855, she left behind twenty pages of a novel that signaled her most compelling work since Jane Eyre. One hundred fifty years later, Clare Boylan has finished Brontë’s novel, sparking a sensational literary event.

6450817Love and Summer, William Trevor: In a characteristically masterly way Trevor evokes the passions and frustrations felt by the people of a small Irish town during one long summer.



  1. Well if you don’t get to all of them then put McKeon’s Tender near the top of your list — b/c I’m curious to hear what you think of that one. If it’s great, I’ll put it on my TBR. Enjoy your Irish reading month!

  2. Miss Emily sounds so good! I love reading stories about authors. Ireland is probably the country I’ve read the most books from, after the US and Britain. I’m excited to hear about the books you’re picking up this month 🙂

  3. I hope you enjoy whatever you choose to read. After seeing Mrs Engels on the Walter Scott Prize longlist today I’m interested in reading that one too, although I don’t know if I’ll have time for it in March.

    • I’m not sure I’ll get to Mrs. Engels this month either, but I am definitely going to read it at some point. The Irish Times book club just read it, so if you are interested in some reviews and discussions about the book, you can look there.

  4. Great selection! Hope you get time to read at least some of them. I’ve cheated by starting my reading now, though the reviews will wait till March. Just starting Dubliners…

  5. That’s a very nice selection of books, TJ. I’ve read the Enright and Maggie O’Farrell’s Esme Lennox (the latter with my old book group). Looking forward to seeing which ones you decide to pick in the end – happy reading! 🙂

  6. “If I had the entire month to myself, with nothing else to do but read, here are the books I’d pick:” I like that thought. We could make this into a monthly feature.
    I’ve actually read 3 of these; Transatlantic, Miss Emily, and Love and Summer, all good! I’m hoping to read one of Maggie O’Farrell’s books this month, but I’m not getting my hopes up for much else. It’s also Canada Reads month and I still have 2.5 books to go. I’m thinking that Canada Reads and Reading Ireland shouldn’t be the same month. One of them has to move, and I guess it should be Canada Reads, since March makes good sense for Reading Ireland. I will have to send CR an email. I’ll let you know how it goes… 🙂

      • They’re very good so far! Almost done the third, then 2 more to go (although I don’t have those in hand yet).
        I was thinking April would be okay. 🙂

  7. That is a great list. I’ve been wanting to read more of Somerville & Ross, but with Kate O’Brien, Padraic O’Donnell, Charlotte Riddell, Tana French and Dorothy Macardle already waiting for me It may not be next month.

  8. This is a great list. I look forward to reading your reviews. 🙂

    And if I choose to participate, do you think I may read ‘The Forgotten Waltz’ and ‘Tender’? Do I have to sign up somewhere to participate?

    • I have that book on my Kindle, and unfortunately, my e-books always get a little lost because I don’t see them all the time, like I do the books on my shelves. If you get to Transatlantic, then I hope you’ll like it!

  9. Lovely list of books. To the North was my top read of last year – beautiful book. I loved Love and Summer by William Trevor too. I have The Forgotten Waltz tbr but I think I may read The Green Road first. I am contemplating that, Elizabeth Bowen’s Eva Trout and Molly Keane’s Good Behaviour for read Ireland month but really not sure if I’ll squeeze them all in.

    • I am pretty sure you were the one who brought Elizabeth Bowen to my attention last year. The description of her books remind me a little of Edith Wharton, so I hope I’ll enjoy Bowen as much as I enjoy Wharton. There are always too many books to read, aren’t there?!

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