Smile by Roddy Doyle

Reviews of Roddy Doyle’s latest novel, Smile, are taking one of two approaches – focused on style and a brief reference to the plot OR spoilers and trigger warnings.

Although it’s not my usual approach, I’m going with spoilers and trigger warnings (look away if you want).

Smile is the story of Victor Forde – he’s middle-aged, alone for the first time in years, and has just moved into a new apartment. Every evening, he heads to his local pub, Donnelly’s, for a pint. At Donnelly’s he meets Eddie Fitzpatrick, a man who claims to have been at school with him, although Victor can’t recall him. Victor dislikes Fitzpatrick, particularly because he stirs up memories of being taught by the Christian Brothers.

The story switches between the present and Victor’s memories of school; his marriage to Rachel (who became a celebrity); and of his own brief media career on the radio.

So, to the spoilery/triggery bit: Continue reading

20 Books of Summer (except that it’s Winter)

Cathy at 746 Books is hosting the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge again this year. By Cathy’s own admission, she doesn’t have a great track record with her own challenge… But I do! As I’ve done in previous years, I’m using this challenge to read from my to-be-read stack (with a particular focus on hard copies). The challenge is straightforward – read twenty books between June 1st and September 3rd. Continue reading

In the mood for Irish misery porn? Yes, always.

Last week, my Goodreads buddy, David, remarked on my reference to ‘Irish misery porn’ – I don’t think I coined that phrase (although a quick search suggests that the most frequent use of the phrase is on this blog…hmmm) but for the purposes of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’ll claim it as my own.

Irish misery porn refers to those particular types of stories that involve bleak childhoods, mams full of woe (usually with husbands that spend the money on pints of Guinness rather than pints of milk) and relentless rain. I love them.

irish-misery-porn Continue reading

Books I’m looking forward to in 2014

This week, the Broke and the Bookish set the ‘task’ of listing ‘Top Ten 2014 Debuts I’m Excited For’. At the moment, I’m here:

mccrae-1

As a result, I’m not spending time at the computer putting together photo montages of book covers. And my list isn’t debuts, it’s just books I’m looking forward to. And it’s not even ten books, it’s twelve. Do with it what you will. Continue reading