Rick O’Shea Book Club Recommended Reads – Jan 2018

And here we go again…

For January we’ve chosen 4 very different books which, I hope, will kick start your reading for 2018. I hope there’s at least one for everyone…

Matt Haig – How To Stop Time

What if there were a tiny portion of the human race who lived for centuries, aging incredibly slowly and being almost invulnerable but weren’t vampires. They were just people. How would you survive people noticing you didn’t age if you were born in the age of witches? How would you make a living? Most importantly, how would you survive without love?

Min Jin Lee – Pachinko

A chunky (700 pages plus) epic span of the story of one poor Korean family living under Japanese occupation in the early 1900s, then moving to Japan just before the war, right the way up until 1989. Full of large and small detail, things I didn’t know, and wonderful painstakingly put together drawings of one normal extended family’s extraordinary journey through a century.

Karl Geary – Montpelier Parade

Sonny is a working class kid in south county Dublin in the 80s working in a butcher’s shop while going to school, his dad does some building amongst other things. Vera is an older (to him anyway) woman who lives by herself in the row of Georgian houses of the title and this is the story of how their lives intertwine after they meet.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

This year I’m going to make a greater effort to throw in the odd classic in the best sense of the word. A book that you should have a crack at if you want to broaden your horizons. For me, I read this when I was in college and it was a brilliantly accessible way into the world of 20th century Russian literature. It is, as it is titled, a slim volume of one day in the life of an inmate in a labour camp in the Stalinist Soviet Union.

If you fancy joining in, join in:

Books Of The Month – August 2017

It’s now officially three years since our first ROSBC Book Of The Month (we would only pick one every month back then). It seems like both a lot longer and a lot shorter, like most good relationships.

It was Liz Nugent’s Unravelling Oliver, I’ve just saved you twenty minutes Googling trying to find out what it was.

This month we have two more exceptional books by women authors – one Irish, one English.

First up is Sarah Winman’s beautiful Tin Man. As I said in my blog review a while back it’s of my favourite books of 2017 by a long way. A small (in both senses of the word) story of one man’s life, marriage, loves, history, solitude and the places we should have ended up and maybe still can.

It describes itself as an almost love story, and it is, and more. I don’t want to spoil any of the detail for you as I read it cold. It’s wonderful.
Second choice this month is that rarest of things – a book that genuinely excites me by stepping outside conventions.

June Caldwell’s Room Little Darker is a *brilliant *collection of Irish short stories spanning homelessness, perversions(!), sex robots, mortality and drugs all wrapped up in some of the most beautiful writing I’ve seen in an Irish collection in a long time.

I will warn you, one or two aren’t for the faint-hearted, but I’m absolutely sure that’s why I loved them all the more.

As usual Dubray Books are offering a 10% discount to anyone who buys them online with them – use the code RICKAUG17

If you want to join in the discussion with over 9,000 other book lovers, pop in –

Books Of The Month – June 2017

Seriously, how are the months sliding past so quickly??

Anyway. For June, the 2 books we’ll be recommending here on the ROSBC are:

Sally Rooney – Conversations With Friends

The much anticipated (it was part of a seven way bidding war between publishers, although not in the Wrestlemania kind of way I had imagined as she corrected me last night!) debut novel from this 26 year old Irish author doesn’t disappoint. It’s an entertaining, human, real story of 2 quite different couples(?) whose lives collide in a very 21st century way.


Edouard Louis – The End Of Eddy

A brilliant, brilliant but frequently harrowing (and veiled autobiographical) story of a young man growing up in a very small minded, homophobic, very brutal provincial French town and the abuses he accepts at the hands of tormentors both at home and at school.

Both very different, as always, and if you fancy buying either through the Dubray Books website use the code RICKJUN17 and you’ll get 10% off.

You can find out more and join in the conversation, as always over in the club:

Body & Soul 2017

This is genuinely huge and very exciting.

At this year’s Body&Soul I’m curating my first ever events as part of a major music festival.

We’ll have 2 panels on 2 consecutive days and as the website says:

Lisa Coen and Sarah Davis-Goff from Tramp Press, Dave Rudden, Rob Doyle, Shane Hegarty and June Caldwell talk to Rick about books that have described, with varying degrees of dystopian apocalypse, the world in which we now live, where the authors got it wrong and where, chillingly, they got it right.

Saturday: Rick with Sarah Davis-Goff, Shane Hegarty and Dave Rudden

Sunday: Rick with Lisa Coen, Rob Doyle, June Caldwell.

See you there.

The Rick O’Shea Book Club

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: