TODAY IS a new holiday for Irish book lovers to mark on their calendar-- 'Ireland Reads' Day.
Ireland Reads is a new national day set up by public libraries across the Emerald Isle which hopes to get people to 'squeeze in a read' and taking some time to yourself to relax.
Escaping into a fictional world through reading can have a majorly positive effect on people's mental wellbeing during these difficult times, and what better time to fit in a good book than on a dedicated national reading day?
So today, 25 February 2021, for the very first Ireland Reads Day, here are 5 brilliant Irish novels-- easy to read and totally unputdownable-- to sink your teeth into.
1. The Pull of the Stars, by Emma Donoghue
Author of the best-seller and box office hit Room, Emma O'Donoghue returns to her native Ireland in the time of the Great Flu in 1918.
The story follows a midwife working in a Dublin maternity ward as the flu pandemic sweeps the world, and expectant and new mothers are quarantined together.
A beautifully written and extremely relevant novel for the time we're in.
2. Normal People, by Sally Rooney
It was all the rage last year as people fell in love with the BBC adaption of Sally Rooney's novel, but the book that sparked the TV adaption is just as good-- if not better.
Follow Connell and Marianne as they navigate small-town Ireland before their worlds open up to new opportunities, and how their relationship grows along the way. A must-read.
3. The Heart's Invisible Furies, by John Boyne
This gutwrenching, heartfelt novel brilliantly shows the immense societal changes Ireland has undergone in just a few short decades.
The story follows the lifetime of a man named Cyril, from his unmarried mother being cast out of the town by a priest during mass, to growing up under the shadow of the Catholic church, the persecution that came with being gay and the ways people like Cyril had to hide their sexuality.
The book comes to an end in modern day Ireland-- which, of course, is unrecognisable from the one seen in 1945.
4. Strange Flowers, by Donal Ryan
Donal Ryan’s latest book tackles the disappearance of a young woman and the associated fallout for her devastated family.
But when that woman returns some years later, she brings something with her that will change all of their lives forever-- this book is notorious in book clubs for being impossible to put down.
5. After The Silence by Louise O'Neill
This fantastic whodunnit is set on a remote Irish island, where the murder of a young woman 10 years before continues to haunt the tiny community-- particularly the people suspected of being involved.
A must-read for any fan of crime or mystery novels, but be warned-- once you start reading you'll find it hard to stop.