Day 97 of the “What are you reading, and why?” project. A regular Babbitt’s customer is now reading The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction, edited by Colm Toibin, and was thrilled to discover it on our shelves. Where it no longer resides.
Published in 2000, this anthology covers a great span of time, and range of writers, including Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Maeve Binchy (may I just say that my cousin’s baby is named Maeve?!), Roddy Doyle, William Trevor (ah!), Emma Donahue, and Colum McCann. And another decade of Irish writing has gone on since.
Our happy customer had read The Master and The Heather Blazing by Toibin and various works by several of the authors represented in the anthology and was eager to discover more authors and more samples* of those she likes.
Toibin’s newest novel is Brooklyn, which won Britain’s Costa** (previously Whitbread) Book Award in Fiction and was on the Man Booker Prize*** long list in 2009, along with William Trevor’s Love and Summer. (Sheldon is reading the 2009 winner, Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, and so was Mary, in a previous blog entry!)
**Costa Coffee! (This should please Coffee Lovin’ Mom and a number of other addicts. And this, of course, makes perfect sense. If you drink enough coffee, you will not fall asleep reading.)
From reading The Master myself, recommended by Lizabeth, and the reviews of some of his other works, I know that Toibin is a subtle writer, trusting the quiet build in fiction, and knowing the rich complexity of life will present itself if we, the readers, pay attention. So I’m thinking his Irish fiction selections must be attentive, too.
***And now I shall be attentive to the winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize, to be awarded 40 years after the publication of the nominees, due to a shift-in-rules glitch back then, because Shirley Hazzard, one of my favorites, is on the list, although I have not read the nominated book, The Bay of Noon. She is on the short list, winner to be announced May 19, coming right up!!
*Our “regular” (nothing to do with coffee) customer likes the idea of the Irish fiction anthology so she gets a preview of various authors before she spends time and/or money on longer works by someone she won’t like. She pointed to one of the authors listed on the cover and said he was “weird.”
Names have been omitted to protect the unknown. The asterisk has been abused because I am linear-time challenged. I like coffee.