Sinéad & Rick’s Must Reads – Autumn Collection

By Tina Zafeiri
In Eason News
Sep 17th, 2018

Bestselling novelist Sinéad Moriarty and popular RTE broadcaster and Book Club curator Rick O’Shea have teamed up with Eason to share their Must Reads for Autumn. With the evenings getting shorter, switch off and read with Sinead and Rick’s brilliant recommendations – we’re loving these books and think you will too!

All Must Reads are available to order online and in-store with our new click-and-collect option. Also, be sure to check out our #EasonMustReads on our Eason social channels!

Help Me by Marianne Power

Single, lonely and in debt, journalist Marianne Power sets out to find the road to happiness in the pages of the self-help books sitting on her shelf. For a year she vows to test a book a month, following its advice to the letter and doing everything they say in the hope that it will change her life.

This is a book that anyone who has ever read a self-help book will adore. It’s also one that so many people will relate to. Funny, charming and very poignant, I found myself nodding along as I followed the author’s journey as she desperately searches for meaning and contentment in self-help books.


Notes To Self by Emilie Pine

I realise that this being a series of non-fiction essays by an Irish academic might not immediately convince you that this is the book for you, but bear with me for a minute. This is something very special.

Emilie Pine’s debut collection can be hard going and stark in places, dealing with addiction, assault, drinking yourself to death, sex, drugs and rock and roll. However she’s so clear, calm and honest about all of those and more that you just can’t put it down. Some of what she talks about here is impossibly affecting, I even shed tears in the essay that talks about infertility and childbirth. You’d have to have a stone heart not to.


The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree by Paola Peretti

Mafalda is a nine-year-old girl who is gradually losing her sight and is terrified of the darkness that is descending on her. Despite her failing sight, this brave little girl wants to continue being a kid – she wants to play football, look after her cat and climb her favourite cherry tree.

Mafalda tries to figure out the things she holds dearest as the darkness engulfs her. The fact that the author suffers from the same condition makes this novel all the more poignant and powerful.

This little gem of book is for everyone – children and adults. It’s a beautiful and inspiring story of overcoming fear and adversity.


A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

Not the easiest job in the world to follow up the brilliant The Heart’s Invisible Furies but let it not be said that John Boyne isn’t up to the challenge – this one is a cracker.

Maurice is a young aspiring writer working in a hotel in East Berlin in 1988 when he meets a famed older writer who starts him on a path of social climbing, idea stealing and fame. It takes us through the fall of the wall, into a brilliant section set in Gore Vidal’s house on the Amalfi Coast, through his fallow years married to a university lecturer and to New York, all the time stealing others ideas to keep him prominent and renowned.

A Ladder to the Sky is one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had this year (if you enjoy cruelty, deceit and underhandedness as much as I do!). He’s even created a sociopath here at the centre of the story that would make Liz Nugent jealous.


The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

A smart, clever book with lots of twists and turns to keep you on your toes, this tense psychological thriller is told from the point of view of Vanessa Thompson, a woman trying to recover from an abusive marriage. Vanessa claims to want to protect and save her ex-husband’s new fiancée from marrying him. But can we rely on Vanessa’s version of events? Was her husband really that bad? And how innocent is the new fiancée?

Nothing in this story is as it seems. There are plenty of surprises along the way for the reader. Just when you think you know what’s going on, boom, something completely unexpected happens. It’s full of suspense and is a complete page turner. I stayed up until the wee hours to finish this book and was not disappointed with the end. The plot twists keep coming, right up to the last page.


Grace’s Day by William Wall

Many times over the last few years I’ve come across a book that throws out reading prejudices I’ve built up across a lifetime. For me I’m usually automatically suspicious of stories involving families living in rural Ireland in the past (in this case on an island) in poverty with an overbearing father figure. We’ve all read those stories many times before. Be assured that Grace’s Day is not that book.

Turns out that the family are living on the island as the bizarre subject of the semi-truth based novels of the absent author father who gains fame and notoriety through their lives. But this is much more than just that story; it’s an incredible one of families, loss, truth, untruths and loves.

Grace’s Day is so exquisitely written (a good sign is how many paragraphs you re-read in awe – there are many), the characters so fascinating and beautifully drawn that this can’t but be one of my favourite books of 2018 so far.


Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks

A riveting and at times uncomfortable read, this story is set in Paris in 2006, where Hannah, a broken-hearted thirty-one-year-old American, has come to research the lives of women during the German Occupation of Paris in 1940. Through a random act of kindness, she ends up lending her spare room to Tariq, a nineteen-year-old boy who has run away from his home in Morocco.

As the story unfolds, both Hannah and Tariq learn things about France’s history that will shock them to the core. Faulks has clearly done his research and the book raises some very uncomfortable questions about France’s behaviour towards the Jews in the 1940s and, later on, its Algerian immigrants. A timely and memorable book about shame, buried secrets, survival and identity.


21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Here’s the real deal when it comes to a book you should have read when it first came out, might have missed, but might very well make your own best of the year list for 2018.

Isma is a young British Muslim studying in America where she meets Eamonn, the son of the newly-appointed Muslim, but very secular, UK Home Secretary. Her family has secrets, but so does his, and their chance meeting eventually becomes a story that demands the attention of the whole world.

What starts as a series of swirling flirtations in a coffee shop leads deep inside what it’s like to be Muslim in the UK and elsewhere today, the tensions between religion and secularism, power plays in politics, power plays in love, even inside the media wing of ISIS.

It also has one of the bravest and most uncompromising endings of any book I’ve read in ages – highly recommended.


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