Elizabeth Bowen: Portrait of a writer - Victoria Glendinning

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"Elizabeth Bowen: Portrait of a writer" by  Victoria Glendinning

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The Book

In this richly detailed biography, Victoria Glendinning brings alive the great Anglo-Irish novelist whose literary achievements were equaled only by her unbounded gift for living.Taking us from Elizabeth Bowen's ancestral home in Ireland, Bowen’s Court, to Oxford where she met Yeats and Eliot, to her service as an air-raid warden in London during World War II, this penetrating biography lifts the thin veil between Bowen's imaginative world and the complex emotional life that fired her shimmering novels. We see her at elegant parties, where such friends as Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty, and Evelyn Waugh fell under her spell; in post-war Vienna with Graham Greene; and in war-torn London, where she fell in love with a younger man who was unprepared for life at the pitch she lived it. We see her bound through several affairs to a comfortable marriage, living "life with the lid on." The world of Elizabeth Bowen was akin to that of her novels: no one behaved shockingly, yet the passions that stirred within made her a master of the ultimate suspense of human relationships–the life of the heart

About the Author

Victoria Glendinning is a British biographer, critic, broadcaster and novelist. She is President of English PEN, a winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, was awarded a CBE in 1998 and is Vice-president of the Royal Society of Literature.

The Voyage of the Catalpa - Peter F. Stevens

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"The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom " by Peter F. Stevens

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The Book

Fast-paced, compelling, meticulously researched, and dramatically detailed, this saga from the annals of American, Irish, British, and Australian history comprises the first full telling of the secret yearlong journey of the American whaling ship Catalpa, under Captain George Anthony, out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1875. Risking his own freedom and career, Anthony sailed across international waters to Australia, to rescue from hellish imprisonment the group of British-soldiers-turned-Irish-rebels named "The Fremantle Six." The successful escape and hostility the vulnerable Catalpa overcame both from the British Royal Navy and furious seas make Anthony's historical voyage legendary. 8 pages of photographs add to this true story of daring on the high seas

About the Author

Peter F. Stevens, news and features editor of the Boston Irish Reporter, is a veteran journalist with a specialty in historical writing. His work is syndicated by the New York Times and has been published in dozens of magazines and newspapers.

Vanishing Ireland - James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury

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"Vanishing Ireland" by James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury

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The Book

Short-listed for the Eason's Irish Published Book of the Year Award 2007, Vanishing Ireland is a unique collection of portrait interviews looking at the dying ways and traditions of Irish life and taking us back to an Ireland virtually unrecognisable today. Illustrated with over a hundred evocative and stunning photographs, we meet the people and customs that shaped the cultural identity of the Irish nation. Through their own words and memories, sixty-four men and women transport us back to a time when people lived off the land and the sea, when music and storytelling were essential parts of life, when a person was defined by their trade. Divided into five parts -- Children of the Field, Children of the Music, Children of the Horse, Children of the Trade and Children of the Water -- Vanishing Ireland brings together the stories of those who lived through Ireland's formative years. We hear of children harassed by the Black and Tans, of ceilis in kitchens, and the rigours of working in the fields, of the wonder of electricity and the devastation of emigration. From coalminers to saddlers, farmers to fishermen, along with horse dealers, publicans, housemaids and musicians -- these remarkably poignant interviews and photographs, in their simplicity and honesty, will make you laugh and cry but, above all, will provide a valuable chronicle that connects twenty-first century Ireland to a rapidly disappearing world.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow - Yuval Noah Harari

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"Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" by Yuval Noah Harari

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The Book

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Timesbestseller, Harari maps out our future.

About the Author

Professor Harari was born in Haifa, Israel, to Lebanese parents in 1976. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in 2002, and is now a lecturer at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  He specialized in World History, medieval history and military history.

The Evenings - Gerard Reve

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"Night Boat to Tangier" by Kevin Barry

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The Book

Twenty-three-year-old Frits - office worker, daydreamer, teller of inappropriate jokes - finds life absurd and inexplicable. He lives with his parents, who drive him mad. He has terrible, disturbing dreams of death and destruction. Sometimes he talks to a toy rabbit.This is the story of ten evenings in Frits's life at the end of December, as he drinks, smokes, sees friends, aimlessly wanders the gloomy city streets and tries to make sense of the minutes, hours and days that stretch before him.Darkly funny and mesmerising, The Evenings takes the tiny, quotidian triumphs and heartbreaks of our everyday lives and turns them into a work of brilliant wit and profound beauty.

About the Author

Gerard Kornelis van het Reve (14 December 1923 – 8 April 2006) was a Dutch writer. Together with Willem Frederik Hermans and Harry Mulisch, he is considered one of the "Great Three" (De Grote Drie) of Dutch post-war literature. His 1981 novel De vierde man (The Fourth Man) was the basis for Paul Verhoeven's 1983 film.