‘Sleeptember’ and how to create an adult bedtime routine that actually works
‘Sleeptember’ and how to create an adult bedtime routine that actually works

Sarah Finnan

Actor Richard E Grant reveals late wife Joan had lung cancer
Actor Richard E Grant reveals late wife Joan had lung cancer

Jennifer McShane

Kitchen accessories under €30 to get you excited to cook again
Kitchen accessories under €30 to get you excited to cook again

Megan Burns

Lily Collins shares photos of her divine wedding gown
Lily Collins shares photos of her divine wedding gown

Jennifer McShane

‘Guilt and relief’: Inspired by Project Meghan, working mums have this advice for those returning to work after babies
‘Guilt and relief’: Inspired by Project Meghan, working mums have this advice for those returning...

Amanda Cassidy

‘I told my husband ‘they’ve found something suspicious in my brain, we’re going to have our baby tomorrow night”
‘I told my husband ‘they’ve found something suspicious in my brain, we’re going to have...

Amanda Cassidy

6 of the biggest royal scandals skipped in The Crown season 4
6 of the biggest royal scandals skipped in The Crown season 4

Jennifer McShane

PODCAST: Work Rest & Slay with Melanie Morris: Episode 2
PODCAST: Work Rest & Slay with Melanie Morris: Episode 2

Shayna Sappington

Suicide prevention: ‘My brother faced stigma, red tape, long waiting times, under-resourced hospitals. In the end it was too much’
Suicide prevention: ‘My brother faced stigma, red tape, long waiting times, under-resourced hospitals. In the...

Amanda Cassidy

This Leeson St home on sale for €2 million is family-friendly but perfect for city living
This Leeson St home on sale for €2 million is family-friendly but perfect for city...

Megan Burns

Image / Editorial

4 new books that deserve a place on your must-read list


by Jennifer McShane
18th Jun 2020
blank

Discover new books that deserve a place on your must-read list.


THE ALL-NIGHTER READ

Naoise Dolan’s sparkling debut, Exciting Times (W&N, approx €15.99), is a book I knew I’d love before I’d read a word. On social media alone, Dolan’s Tweets make up perfect, pocket-size pearls of wisdom and social commentary, and her long-form fiction is even more digestible. We meet Ava, 22, newly arrived in Hong Kong from Dublin, who spends her days teaching English to rich kids. She meets banker Julian, an equally rich friend who quickly becomes someone she frequently has sex with, but who would rather stay single than say Ava is his girlfriend. Or say he loves her. Or say much at all. Both are emotionally detached, and Ava might have remained so if it weren’t for Edith. A lawyer, she is the polar opposite to Julian: earnest and fully present. Quickly, the two women become an item. When Julian returns to Hong Kong after time away, Ava finds herself at a crossroads. The subject matter isn’t new, but Dolan’s skilful prose keeps the story fresh–female sexuality is depicted in a way we almost never see. Dolan’s one to watch.

THE BEDSIDE READ

In Bina: A Novel in Warnings (Fleet, approx €14.99), Irish-born author Anakana Schofield tells the story of a septuagenarian woman captured on snippets of envelopes and other random papers. Stylistically, it’s an inventive structure for the book, which takes you directly into Bina’s –pronounced “Bye-na” not “Bee-na” – world. Her jottings are useful, she says, because she’s used to being ignored. We know she is an unreliable narrator; eccentric, this is her story, told often in single lines or scribbles as thoughts find her. Even she isn’t entirely sure what’s going on at times. She’s alone, waiting, though her home is surrounded by a group of squatters she refers to as “Crusties”. Nothing is spelled out; Schofield’s skill is that the reader must work to find out exactly what’s what. Though we do know she’s worried about Eddie, her“sorta son”, and afraid of him too. We know her Crusties want to stop Bina from going to prison. It could be for any number of reasons but is mainly down to the special sort of assistance she offers the ailing and suffering. Colourful, insightful and one you will devour.

THE DAYTIME READ

Elaine Feeney’s As You Were (Harvill Secker, approx €15.99)centres on Sinéad Hynes, a tough, young property developer who receives a devastating diagnosis on the Day of the Magpie. She’ll tell not a soul she’s sick but that shiny bird, who knows her secret and will never tell. Oh, and Google. But she will be fine. Everyone always said she’d be fine. She keeps saying that word: Fine. Until, one day, she’s not. And it’s getting harder to keep it to herself. Her husband Alex thinks it’s an infection that’s caused her heart failure and landed her in a High Dependency Unit. It’s months after the Magpie, and she still can’t tell him. Or her family. Or the strangers in the ward. Though the strangers are kind, particularly two older women, Margaret Rose with her rose-gold Nokia phone, and Jane who wants someone to listen to her, whom she’s come to rely on for help. It’ll all come out eventually. Wit h there’s unforgettable female characters and prose that is imaginative and vivacious, I got to the end and wanted to go straight back to the beginning. A remarkable debut.

THE COMFY-COUCH READ

I’m not easily drawn to books professing to be the “biggest love story of 2020” but Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years (Quercus, approx €16.99) I found irresistible. It centres on a young woman who plans her life down to the minute until fate gets in the way. At 28, Dannie Kohan lives happily with her boyfriend, David, and she expects to get married by the time she’s 30. Naturally, David proposes. After accepting the proposal, Dannie slips into a deep sleep and dreams of an alternate future. In her dream, it’s the year 2025, and she lives with another man, Aaron Gregory. She wakes, feeling out of sorts, and questions her idea of fate. One day, she meets Aaron, the man from her dream, and senses life might just have other plans. Surprisingly engrossing, this is one for your book club.

Photography by Nick Fewings on Unsplash.

This article originally appeared in the Volume 2 issue of IMAGE Magazine.

Read more: ‘Surely I can’t be the only one dreading the end of lockdown?’

Read more: 8 dreamy, Irish getaways on Airbnb to rent this summer

Read more: That’s right, ‘catching up’ on sleep will help you feel less exhausted

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy

Nóra Quoirin
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
Inquest ruling changed to open verdict in Nóra Quoirin’s death

A Malaysian judge has overturned an inquest verdict of misadventure in the death of 15-year-old Nóra Quoirin, changing it to...

By Jennifer McShane

Full House, onscreen father Danny Tanner
EDITORIAL
We’re remembering our favourite onscreen dads for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day just around the corner (this Sunday 20h June, so yes, you do have time to buy yours...

By Grace McGettigan

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
No, the Olympics haven’t given athletes ‘anti-sex’ cardboard beds

Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions. Recently, distance runner Paul...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
“A slap in the face for all the victims”: Outcry over Bill Cosby’s release from prison

This is why rape victims think twice before coming forward, writes Amanda Cassidy He was once known as “America’s Dad”...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker