Monthly Archives: September 2010

What are you reading now? (Part 2)

Since the comments have finally dried up on the last ‘What are you reading now’ post, I figured it might be time for a new one. I recently finished reading Kate O’Brien’s The Land of Spices which I picked up while on holidays in Galway, vaguely aware of the title but unsure really of what to expect. Lately, I’ve been getting much more interested in a lot of the Irish literature I passed over in my younger ways in favour of trendier stuff. Considering that it’s set in a convent and features a Reverend Mother as one of the main characters, The Land of Spices is surprisingly engrossing. The book follows the lives of the nuns and pupils of a convent school for wealthy girls in the years leading up to the outbreak of war in 1914. Continue reading

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Their lives in dresses

The scene I saw in front of me as I walked into the room looked like the dressing room of an actress or eccentric ‘society lady’ from the 1950s; both intimate and luxurious at the same time. A rail of vintage dresses on one side, mannequins modelling more elegant pieces on the other, a video screen disguised as a mirror with a gaudy, brass frame and an old-fashioned full-length lamp; this is the set of My Life in Dresses, a piece of theatre by Sorcha Kenny dedicated to dresses and the stories they can tell. The performance is only part of a much larger project whereby Sorcha, inspired by her own love of dresses and convinced of their importance in people’s lives, collected stories from men and women of all ages across Ireland, about dresses which held a particular significance for them. Continue reading

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Making Monsters of Men

Imagine a world where everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts, every hour and minute of every day. From a cacophony of voices to an interminable buzz in the background, it’s always there, inescapable. How would people react if they had to live in a world like this, where privacy, solitude, and even silence were mere abstract and utopian notions? It is with such a scene that Patrick Ness opens the first book of his Chaos Walking trilogy, The Knife of Never Letting Go. Continue reading

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