April Books Of The Month

I’m glad so many of you guessed one of these and pretty much no-one guessed the other! Our two reads for April are very, very different but both *very* worthwhile.

CIarán McMenamin’s Skintown is a debut novels set in the 90s in Enniskillen where a couple of young lads get caught in a huge drug deal on the rave scene between provisionals of both stripes just after the IRA ceasefire.

I read the first page of this and was immediately hooked. It’s rattlingly written, hugely immersive, funny too. Adored it.

Our second choice is the non-fiction Raqqua Diaries written by an anonymous 24 year old Syrian who documents life in Raqqa under Assad, with the civil war and when ISIS bring what can only be described as a medieval death cult to his home.

I genuinely think this needs to be read by everyone. Everyone who wants to in any way understand the impossible situation the regular people of Syria have been put in and have another view of why so many of them flee their homes and become refugees.

It’s heartbreaking.

Our friends at Dubray Books are offering the usual 10% online discount if you use the code RICKAPR17.

Now, who’s in?


Alan Cumming and Tracy Chevalier

It’s been one of those days…

Two announcements to make – one ROSBC and one not, but a brilliant, brilliant couple of nights to be had.

Firstly, our next Book Club event is May 9th with Tracy Chevalier in Dubray Books, Grafton Street. I’ll be interviewing her and she’ll be signing. We may even have drinks afterwards 🙂

The FB event is here – mark yourself as “going” to get any updates.

The second one is a monster.

I’m genuinely thrilled to announce that I’ll be interviewing Alan Cumming at this year’s Listowel Writers’ Festival on the June Bank Holiday weekend.

Tickets are from their website:


Books Of The Month – March

I’m delighted this month that the two choices head and shoulders out of everything I could have chosen are both Irish and, I think, both brilliant. I’ll keep it simple.
They are:

John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a monster of a novel and the story of one man’s life starting in 1945 and reflecting the entire history of post-war Ireland, what it was like to grow up gay in it, and how so much has changed by the time we finish out in 2015.

Sara Baume’s A Line Made By Walking is a similar and yet different beast to her first novel Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither. Just as beautiful in language, just as hypnotic in the internal monologue of an outsider and their life, and something that will deserve just as much acclaim as her first.
To join in just come into the club itself…


Books Of The Month – February

This month, two different books, both coming hugely recommended from me and both with their own love it/hate it reviews in already…

Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes is the real deal.

I’m telling you nothing shy of it starting as a fairly conventional love triangle. Girl meets man in bar, they hit it off, turns out he’s her new boss and then girl meets the bosses wife and becomes her friend! I know that might sound a bit soap-operaesque but then the whole venture takes a sharp right hand turn and it all becomes genuinely compelling after that.

I was sure I had the shape of this nailed about a third of the way through the book, so did my wife, we were both very, VERY wrong. This is a tightly written, genuinely rattling, clever and water-cooler conversation generating thriller that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Michael Chabon’s Moonglow is just wonderful.

It’s a novel (important word that) about an author whose normally monosyllabic dying grandfather starts to tell him a genuinely extraordinary family story spanning almost the whole 20th century in the last days of his life. Yes, I’m a little slow sometimes(!) so, reading it cold, I only started to question whether it might be at least partially based on Chabon’s own experiences about a third of the way through. It is. Sort of…

It’s beautiful to read in places, richly detailed, thrilling in places and elegantly ornate in others. If you liked Kavalier & Clay (and if you didn’t, what’s wrong with you?) then there are definitely plot, location and themes here that run along in parallel with it. For me it’s going to be hard to beat as a thoroughly brilliant and highly enjoyable read in 2017.
Dubray Books have set up a discount code – buy either on their website using the code RICKFEB17 and you get 10% off.

Who’s in?