The best books about Dublin

Who picked these books? Meet our 77 experts.

77 authors created a book list connected to Dublin, and here are their favorite Dublin books.
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What type of Dublin book?


Broken Harbor

By Tana French,

Book cover of Broken Harbor

Desmond P. Ryan Author Of 10-33 Assist PC

From the list on police procedurals with a flawed protagonist.

Who am I?

For almost thirty years, I worked as a cop in the back alleys, poorly lit laneways, and forgotten neighbourhoods in Toronto, the city where I grew up. Murder, mayhem, and sexual violations intended to demean, shame, and haunt the victims were all in a day’s work. Whether as a beat cop or a plainclothes detective, I dealt with good people who did bad things and bad people who followed their instincts. And now that I’m retired, I can take some of those experiences and turn them into crime fiction novels.

Desmond's book list on police procedurals with a flawed protagonist

Discover why each book is one of Desmond's favorite books.

Why did Desmond love this book?

I really enjoyed this book because it rang true for me.

The new partnership between Det. Scorcher Kennedy and Richie Curran is one that I’m quite familiar with. French balances the challenges of Scorcher’s personal life with the complexities of the investigation at hand very well.

In many ways, this book reminds me a lot of the BBC series Happy Valley (which absolutely nails the policing culture). And that it’s set in Ireland doesn’t hurt!

By Tana French,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Broken Harbor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher, a New York Times bestselling novel that "proves anew that [Tana French] is one of the most talented crime writers alive" (The Washington Post).

"Required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting." -The New York Times

Mick "Scorcher Kennedy is the star of the Dublin Murder Squad. He plays by the books and plays hard, and that's how the biggest case of the year ends up in his hands.

On one of the half-abandoned "luxury developments that litter Ireland, Patrick Spain and his two young children…

Normal People

By Sally Rooney,

Book cover of Normal People

Kate Tough Author Of Kissing Lying Down

From the list on relationships and dating in the modern age.

Who am I?

It occurred to me that if someone wanted to design a method of introduction for people who don’t actually want to date, then they’d design online dating as we know it today! One can't help feeling that many people using dating sites have no intention of forming a relationship (for a host of personal reasons). And that’s what makes it ripe for failure, and for fiction. Anyone who’s ever looked for the right connection (IRL or online), or tried to make an existing connection work, will recognise something in the story collection.

Kate's book list on relationships and dating in the modern age

Discover why each book is one of Kate's favorite books.

Why did Kate love this book?

There’s no logical reason why the two main characters can’t be together, yet they’re in a push-me-pull-you dance until the last page—one of the best-selling dances of recent times. Marianne and Connell meet at high school, but the cracks in their home lives and the pressures of adolescence have led to a mutual sense of internalised shame that threatens to rupture their connection, from school to university and beyond. It’s hard to be a bystander to their intimacy, observing the way low self-worth is affecting their behaviour, but Rooney’s capacity for natural dialogue and capturing the discomfort of people becoming vulnerable is unrivalled. It’s a startlingly skilled portrayal of what deep, intense love does when it finds two wounded people too young.

By Sally Rooney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Normal People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED HULU ORIGINAL SERIES • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships” (People) from the author of Conversations with Friends, “a master of the literary page-turner” (J. Courtney Sullivan).

TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—People, Slate, The New York Public Library, Harvard Crimson

AND BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Vogue, Esquire, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire, Vox, The Paris Review, Good Housekeeping, Town &…

The Third Policeman

By Flann O'Brien,

Book cover of The Third Policeman

Robert Wynne-Simmons Author Of Blood on Satan's Claw: or, The Devil's Skin

From the list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world.

Who am I?

I was born a polymath in Cheam, Surrey, England. Even as a child I had a passionate interest in music, architecture, film, poetry, drama, and storytelling. I lived very much in the world of my imagination and was able to apply it to a wide variety of projects. I have worked in Film, TV, Theatre, and have written scripts, plays, novels, songs, a musical, and an opera, all different in feeling. I have therefore had a special interest in innovative artistic work, and story-telling which pushes the boundaries of the imagination.

Robert's book list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world

Discover why each book is one of Robert's favorite books.

Why did Robert love this book?

This gem of a book is a dark comedy of extraordinary originality. It explores the moment of a murder and stretches it to the length of a short novel. 

Unlike his hero James Joyce, who sometimes took himself a little too seriously, Briain O'Nolan (Flann O'Brien) remains with his tongue firmly in his cheek. As I lived and worked in Dublin I have a special association with this novel.

If you have ever travelled along the magical Vico Road, south of Dublin, you will have passed the house of De Selby, the fictional annotator of the book, whose scientific theories turn all the laws of nature on their head. In this book nothing is quite what it seems, and the underlying theme darker than the comedy suggests. 

It is a book very much for the connoisseur of the unexpected.

By Flann O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Third Policeman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A masterpiece of black humour from the renown comic and acclaimed author of 'At Swim-Two-Birds' - Flann O'Brien.

A thriller, a hilarious comic satire about an archetypal village police force, a surrealistic vision of eternity, the story of a tender, brief, unrequited love affair between a man and his bicycle, and a chilling fable of unending guilt, 'The Third Policeman' is comparable only to 'Alice in Wonderland' as an allegory of the absurd.

Distinguished by endless comic invention and its delicate balancing of logic and fantasy, 'The Third Policeman' is unique in the English language.


By Walter J. Moore,

Book cover of Schrodinger: Life and Thought

Andrew Zangwill Author Of A Mind Over Matter: Philip Anderson and the Physics of the Very Many

From the list on biographies of physicists.

Who am I?

I am a physics professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Ten years ago, I switched my research focus from solid-state physics to the history of that subject. This was fertile ground because professional historians of science had almost completely ignored solid-state physics. I began my new career by writing two journal articles about the physicist Walter Kohn and his discovery of what became the most accurate method known to calculate the properties of solids. This experience led me to broaden my perspective and ultimately produce a biography of the theoretical physicist Philip Anderson. My next book will be a historical-sociological study of self-identity and disciplinary boundaries within the community of physicists.  

Andrew's book list on biographies of physicists

Discover why each book is one of Andrew's favorite books.

Why did Andrew love this book?

This biography brings fully to life the multi-faceted Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. Although best known as the co-inventor of quantum mechanics, he later wrote a book called What is Life which inspired many physicists to apply their talents to biology. Moore gives a full account of Schrödinger’s upbringing, his education, his science, and his extensive philosophical writings. You can judge for yourself if Moore is persuasive when he argues that the erotic intensity of several of Schrödinger’s extramarital affairs helped fuel and found expression in some of his specific scientific achievements. 

By Walter J. Moore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Schrodinger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Erwin Schroedinger was a brilliant and charming Austrian, a great scientist, and a man with a passionate interest in people and ideas. In this, the first comprehensive biography of Schroedinger, Walter Moore draws upon recollections of Schroedinger's friends, family and colleagues, and on contemporary records, letters and diaries. Schroedinger's life is portrayed against the backdrop of Europe at a time of change and unrest. His best-known scientific work was the discovery of wave mechanics, for which he was awarded the Nobel prize in 1933. However, Erwin was also an enthusiastic explorer of the ideas of Hindu mysticism, and in the…

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

By Roddy Doyle,

Book cover of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

Fran Hill Author Of Cuckoo in the Nest

From the list on coming-of-age in which it’s all about the voice.

Who am I?

I’ve taught English for 20 years and the novels I’ve enjoyed teaching most – because the students have enjoyed them most – are those with the first-person perspectives of young narrators. These characters’ voices ring loud and clear as they learn, change, and grow, often suffering and having to find resilience and strength to survive. The limited perspective also takes us into the mind and heart of the protagonist, so that we feel all the feels with them. This is why I chose a first-person perspective for the narrator of my own book ‘Cuckoo in the Nest’: Jackie Chadwick is sarcastic, funny, and observant. Readers love her.    

Fran's book list on coming-of-age in which it’s all about the voice

Discover why each book is one of Fran's favorite books.

Why did Fran love this book?

Paddy Clarke’s 10-year-old voice is compelling and funny.

He lives in Dublin, Ireland in the 1960s, and the way he tells his story is breathless, fast-paced, and naïve: a child’s mind, puzzled at life’s complexities. I wanted to have him round for tea and reassure him.

His narration is full of left turns and right turns and about turns as we follow – or try to follow - his train of thought. He doesn’t understand many of the things that happen at school, at home, and with the friends with whom he roams town, playing war games and making nuisances of themselves.

But, as his family begins to fracture, we weep for him.  

By Roddy Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Paddy Clarke is ten years old. Paddy Clarke lights fires. Paddy Clarke's name is written in wet cement all over Barrytown. Paddy Clarke's heroes are Father Damien (and the lepers), Geronimo and George Best. Paddy Clarke knows the exact moment to knock a dead scab from his knee. Paddy Clarke hates his brother Francis because that's the rule. Paddy Clarke loves his Ma and Da, but it seems like they don't love each other, and Paddy wants to understand, but can't.

See also: Cal by Bernard MacLaverty

The First Verse

By Barry McCrea,

Book cover of The First Verse

Niamh Campbell Author Of We Were Young

From the list on capturing the haunted geography of Dublin.

Who am I?

I’m an Irish writer drawn to the ways in which the biggest questions – of human nature, existence, late capitalist realism, politics, ethics, and consciousness – play out via the minutiae of specific locations; in this case, the city of Dublin, where I’ve spent most of my adult life. I don’t think of cities as monuments but living and complex microcosms of concerns and urgencies the whole world shares.

Niamh's book list on capturing the haunted geography of Dublin

Discover why each book is one of Niamh's favorite books.

Why did Niamh love this book?

A post-Donna Tart’s Secret History-esque tale of literary mystics who make up a secret society at Trinity College Dublin which tends, unfairly, to get left behind in analyses of Irish ‘Celtic Tiger’ fiction.

This is fiction from or dealing with the abrupt and accelerated modernity that hit Ireland like a cultural torpedo in the early 2000s, and quite a lot of it fails to capture the discombobulation of living through that time.

The First Verse is a campus novel about sexy secretive students and shady deeds which also plots a queer geography of Dublin’s gay scene as well as illustrating the emotional tension that exists in Dublin between city centre and its polarised northern and southern suburbs.

Dublin is such a mannered city, caught in Georgian poses while falling apart as postmodernity obliterates its value system, that it surprises me there aren’t more Dublin novels about baroque subcultures. McCrea is…

The First Verse

By Barry McCrea,

What is this book about?

A thrilling twist to the suspenseful games of The Rule of Four and The Da Vinci Code sends a gay student reeling through the pubs, nightclubs and streets of present-day Dublin. 'In this brilliant first novel, the best of recent memory, a young Irish writer of great psychological dexterity takes on a handful of exciting themes. For a hundred years, Ireland has provided the English-speaking world with its most eloquent writers; Barry McCrea now joins this illustrious company.' - Edmund White

The Mountains Wild

By Sarah Stewart Taylor,

Book cover of The Mountains Wild

J. Woollcott Author Of A Nice Place to Die: A DS Ryan McBride Novel

From the list on Irish murder mysteries with great settings.

Who am I?

I’m a Canadian writer born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. My first book, A Nice Place to Die, introduces Police Service of Northern Ireland detectives DS Ryan McBride and his partner DS Billy Lamont. In 2019, A Nice Place to Die won the RWA Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery and Suspense, and in 2021 was shortlisted in the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence. I’m a graduate of the Humber School for Writers and BCAD, University of Ulster. I love atmospheric murder mysteries with complex characters and a great sense of place.

J.'s book list on Irish murder mysteries with great settings

Discover why each book is one of J.'s favorite books.

Why did J. love this book?

Sarah Stewart Taylor is an American writer who has lived and studied in Ireland.

Her books offer complex, intelligent plots filled with flawed yet compelling characters. Maggie D'arcy, a detective in the North Shore of Long Island and divorced mother of a teenage girl, offers to go to Ireland to follow up on a phone call her uncle Danny received.

His daughter, and Maggie’s cousin, Erin, has been missing for twenty-three years, since disappearing on a hike in the Wicklow mountains. Back then, Erin went to Dublin to try and find her, and became involved in the initial enquiry. Now the Irish police have found something, a buried scarf they believe belonged to Erin. And another girl has gone missing.

The settings are finely-drawn––you can feel the rain and smell the peat fires. A beautifully written novel, not to be missed. That rarest of treats, a literary mystery.

By Sarah Stewart Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mountains Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Twenty-three years ago, Maggie D'arcy's family received a call from the Dublin police. Her cousin Erin has been missing for several days. Maggie herself spent weeks in Ireland, trying to track Erin's movements, working beside the police. But it was to no avail: no trace of her was ever found.

The experience inspired Maggie to become a cop. Now, back on Long Island, more than 20 years have passed. Maggie is a detective and a divorced mother of a teenager. When the Gardai call to say that Erin's scarf has been found and another young woman has gone missing, Maggie…

The Speckled People

By Hugo Hamilton,

Book cover of The Speckled People

Patrick Doherty Author Of I Am Patrick: A Donegal Childhood Remembered

From the list on Irish childhood.

Who am I?

As an experienced teacher I was fascinated by how writing personal stories helped to develop confidence as well as oral and written self-expression at different levels of complexity in children across the primary school age range. This encouraged me to embark on a MA in creative writing where I wrote an extended autobiographical piece that focused on how the relationship between my father and myself affected my childhood.  I continued this research into my doctoral studies in Irish autobiography. I explored the history of Irish autobiography, memory, and identity formation. This research provided the context to write my own childhood memoir I Am Patrick

Patrick's book list on Irish childhood

Discover why each book is one of Patrick's favorite books.

Why did Patrick love this book?

Hugo Hamilton’s 2003 autobiography The Speckled People recounts his Dublin childhood experiences of being brought up by a brutal, Gaelic-speaking and nationalist father who forbade him from speaking English and a German mother who escaped from Nazi Germany. 

Hugo’s linguistic difficulties and cultural disparities restricted his personal development where confusion and frustration led to isolation. I am fascinated by his search for self-identity through his love of English resulting in a thought-provoking narrative that reflects the powerful role of language in the representation of the self and identity formation. I can vouch for this in my own memoir where the increasing complexity of language of the ageing child highlights the stages of my linguistic and cognitive development.

By Hugo Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Speckled People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'This is the most gripping book I've read in ages ... It is beautifully written, fascinating, disturbing and often very funny.' Roddy Doyle

The childhood world of Hugo Hamilton, born and brought up in Dublin, is a confused place. His father, a sometimes brutal Irish nationalist, demands his children speak Gaelic, while his mother, a softly spoken German emigrant who has been marked by the Nazi past, speaks to them in German. He himself wants to speak English. English is, after all, what the other children in Dublin speak. English is what they use when they hunt him down in…

In a Glass Darkly

By Sheridan Le Fanu, Robert Tracy (editor),

Book cover of In a Glass Darkly

Steve Fenton Author Of The Vanishing Room

From the list on classic Gothic that are still amazing today.

Who am I?

As my debut novel demonstrated, I’m a massive fan of Gothic literature. Compelling stories are found in many genres, but rarely with such atmosphere and style. The freedom and enjoyment of writing in this category are unparalleled, offering an excuse to use language your editor would prefer to eliminate from contemporary fiction.

Steve's book list on classic Gothic that are still amazing today

Discover why each book is one of Steve's favorite books.

Why did Steve love this book?

In a Glass Darkly is a collection of unusual Gothic tales. The shorter stories provide the foreboding inevitability of the genre, with atmospheric hauntings and ghostly floating eyes. Fans of M. R. James or H. P Lovecraft will appreciate these.

In addition, the collection features two novella-length stories. Carmilla, an early and influential vampire story, and "The Room At The Dragon Volant", which is a romance horror. Carmilla inspired many of the elements Bram Stoker used in Dracula. Both these longer stories are atmospheric and wonderfully picturesque in their descriptions of the people and places.

By Sheridan Le Fanu, Robert Tracy (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In a Glass Darkly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

`the ideal reading...for the hours after midnight'

Thus Henry James described the style of supernatural tale of which Sheridan Le Fanu was a master. Known in nineteenth-century Dublin as `The Invisible Prince' because of his reclusive and nocturnal habits, Le Fanu was fascinated by the occult. His writings draw on the Gothic tradition, elements of Irish folklore, and even on the social and political anxieties of his Anglo-Irish contemporaries. In exploring sometimes inexplicable terrors, the tales focus on the unease of the haunted men and
women who encounter the supernatural, rather than on the origin or purpose of the visitant.…

Book cover of Beautiful World, Where Are You

Mark Nykanen Author Of Burn Down the Sky

From the list on if you love thrillers and want to dig deeper.

Who am I?

I read a lot of literary fiction. At the moment, I’m finishing To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara, which I’ve enjoyed and whose novel, A Little Life, was brilliant. My interest in thriller fiction is sparked by writers who bring their considerable literary talents to their trade. John LeCarré comes to mind. Writers who sacrifice depth of character or concern for place quickly lose my interest. Thankfully, there are many thriller writers who do a superb job of keeping my wandering nature in check. (A quick note: I also write dystopian fiction under my pen name James Jaros.)

Mark's book list on if you love thrillers and want to dig deeper

Discover why each book is one of Mark's favorite books.

Why did Mark love this book?

This is the most recent novel to make my list. As much as I relished Rooney’s earlier work, her latest is heftier, for it grapples with the genuine planetary and personal crises faced by her generation. Her characters don’t shy away from speaking openly about love, sex, and relationships—or the perverse economic system that is rapidly bringing humanity to its knees with consumer-driven smiles painted on its faces. Neither do her characters hold back from earnest discussions of Marxism. The latter note is getting wide play culturally, particularly with millennials, but mainstream media has rarely picked up on the reverberations underfoot. Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You? is not so reticent—and more rewarding for its brazen honesty about the personal and the political.

By Sally Rooney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beautiful World, Where Are You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Beautiful World, Where Are You is a new novel by Sally Rooney, the bestselling author of Normal People and Conversations with Friends.

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.

Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get…

Life Without Children

By Roddy Doyle,

Book cover of Life Without Children: Stories

Deborah Lupton Author Of COVID Societies: Theorising the Coronavirus Crisis

From the list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who am I?

I am a sociologist with a longstanding interest in the social aspects of medicine and public health. I started with research on HIV/AIDS. Since then, I have written many books and conducted a multitude of studies on how people understand and experience health and illness and how they seek help when they are sick or feel at risk from disease. When COVID-19 hit the world in early 2020, it was not long before I started to think about what my research training and expertise could offer to understanding the social impacts of this new pandemic. I started to write about COVID and research on people’s everyday experiences.

Deborah's book list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Discover why each book is one of Deborah's favorite books.

Why did Deborah love this book?

Life Without Children is a collection of ten short stories by Irish author Roddy Doyle. Nearly all the stories are set in Dublin and feature characters who are middle-aged or older men who are struggling to find a sense of purpose in their lives while confined to their homes during lockdowns. Some men lash out in anger at their partners. Others make the best of things, finding moments of intimacy and connection and forging stronger relationships with their adult children and wives. One of the few stories to be written from the perspective of a woman features a nurse who is shattered by the deaths from COVID of her patients. The stories in this collection are often bleak, but there are many poignant and even droll moments.

By Roddy Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life Without Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"[Doyle] imparts a sense of poignancy and glimpses of happiness, of grief and loss and small moments of connection . . . you're left feeling close to dazzled." -Daphne Merkin, New York Times Book Review

A brilliantly warm and witty portrait of our pandemic lives, told in ten heartrending short stories, from the Booker Prize-winning author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

Love and marriage. Children and family. Death and grief. Life touches everyone the same. But living under lockdown, it changes us alone.

In these ten beautifully moving short stories written mostly over the last year, Booker Prize winner…


By James Joyce,

Book cover of Dubliners

David W. Berner Author Of The Islander

From the list on the essence of the Irishman’s melancholic emotions.

Who am I?

Dugan was my grandmother’s maiden name. Her family was from County Wexford, Ireland near Rosslare on the island’s east coast. In recent years I have extensively studied my Irish heritage and have discovered much about my family, and about the DNA running through my own Irish blood. The inquiry has revealed much about my love of storytelling, good conversation, and generally about the way I move through the world. As a writer of several books of personal narrative and fiction, I have tried to write books that capture a certain emotion, and now through my own ancestral discoveries, I understand how those emotions and familial ties are so tightly linked. 

David's book list on the essence of the Irishman’s melancholic emotions

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Why did David love this book?

What can one say about this classic? It is the quintessential story of old Dublin.

Published in 1914, the collection of fifteen short stories takes the reader on a journey through middle-class Ireland, touching on Irish nationalism and country pride, but also on the forces that were slowing changing Ireland at the time. The stories move chronologically from boyhood to manhood and culminate with what some critics say is the finest short story ever written, “The Dead.”

This story, like many others in Dubliners is both a meditation on everyday urban life and a study of human relationships, including how we live with our memories, our heritage, and how we find ways to manifest our personal emotions.

By James Joyce,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Dubliners as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A definitive edition of perhaps the greatest short story collection in the English language

James Joyce's Dubliners is a vivid and unflinching portrait of "dear dirty Dublin" at the turn of the twentieth century. These fifteen stories, including such unforgettable ones as "Araby," "Grace," and "The Dead," delve into the heart of the city of Joyce's birth, capturing the cadences of Dubliners' speech and portraying with an almost brute realism their outer and inner lives. Dubliners is Joyce at his most accessible and most profound, and this edition is the definitive text, authorized by the Joyce estate and collated from…


By Neil Jordan,

Book cover of Mistaken

Ryan Tim Morris Author Of This Never Happened

From the list on that leave you questioning identity and maybe reality.

Who am I?

When I start a new book, my aim is to write something completely different from what I’ve written before. It’s challenging, but also important to keep things fresh. To me, a blank slate before each story is thrilling. To start with nothing, and end with something wholly original. This Never Happened, my third book, began with a feeling we’ve all had before: the feeling of not belonging. I asked myself, “What if I really didn't belong here, but was meant for somewhere else entirely?” From there, I created a character who grows increasingly unsure of his own identity and reality, themes that are also present in my selection of books below.

Ryan's book list on that leave you questioning identity and maybe reality

Discover why each book is one of Ryan's favorite books.

Why did Ryan love this book?

Mistaken is the tale of two boys (Kevin and Gerald) who are remarkably similar in appearance, though far from similar in affluence and background. The story is set in Dublin and told from the point of view of Kevin, now older and having just attended Gerald’s funeral. It slipstreams through past and present, and at nearly every corner it leaves Kevin questioning his own identity and memories, and wondering if perhaps the boys’ connection had even greater implications than he thought. In my book, there is a fictional novel within the novel, about twins who aren’t twins, and it is loosely inspired by the meeting of Kevin and Gerald in Mistaken.

Neil Jordan is an underrated talent, and his writing is superbly atmospheric here.

By Neil Jordan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mistaken as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Menace both real and imagined haunt two Dubliners in this “unsettling . . . seductive” modern Gothic “that ultimately leaves one gasping” (Irish Times).

“Vampires, secrets, the mysteries of identity: the obsessions that run through the director Neil Jordan’s films are at the center of his beautifully enigmatic novel . . . of two look-alike men who feed off each other’s souls all their crisscrossed lives” (The New York Times).

Kevin Thunder and Gerald Spain have grown up on opposite sides of the Dublin economic divide. Kevin’s father is a bookie and his mother takes in lodgers on the city’s…

The Republic

By Charles Townshend,

Book cover of The Republic: The Fight For Irish Independence

Simon Adams Author Of Eyewitness Titanic

From the list on major events that changed the 20th century.

Who am I?

I only ever enjoyed one subject at school, and that was history. I read history books for pleasure, and then studied the subject at university, along with politics. As an adult, I worked in publishing and then began to write history books for myself, books to be read by both children and adults. History has remained my passion all my life, and the five books I have chosen here are just some of the many fine history books that deal with the major events of the recent 20th century. I hope you enjoy my selection.

Simon's book list on major events that changed the 20th century

Discover why each book is one of Simon's favorite books.

Why did Simon love this book?

In January 1919 the newly elected Sinn Fein MPs in Ireland met in Dublin and set up Dail Eireann, the assembly of the self-proclaimed independent Irish republic. As the new government, they took control of the local authorities, the administration of justice, the tax system, and other aspects of government, and ruled Ireland as if it were totally independent of British rule. Charles Townshend tells the remarkable story of the early years of the Irish Republic, and how the parallel Sinn Fein state came to effectively run the new country.

By Charles Townshend,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Republic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gripping narrative of the most critical years in modern Ireland's history, from Charles Townshend

The protracted, terrible fight for independence pitted the Irish against the British and the Irish against other Irish. It was both a physical battle of shocking violence against a regime increasingly seen as alien and unacceptable and an intellectual battle for a new sort of country. The damage done, the betrayals and grim compromises put the new nation into a state of trauma for at least a generation, but at a nearly unacceptable cost the struggle ended: a new republic was born.

Charles Townshend's Easter…

At Swim-Two-Birds

By Flann O'Brien,

Book cover of At Swim-Two-Birds

Daniel Ben-Horin Author Of Substantial Justice

From the list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of.

Who am I?

Humor is based on surprise and the ‘foreign’ is often surprising. As I traveled all over the world for work, I searched out local authors and found myself laughing. It started with At Swim Two Birds and has never stopped.

Daniel's book list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of

Discover why each book is one of Daniel's favorite books.

Why did Daniel love this book?

In the summer of 1968, I was 20 and spent the summer pretty much banally in Israel and Europe. Around me, the world was on fire, but I was inside my own head.

Eventually, I washed up in Dublin, where I walked in a cold rain to Dorset Street, there to recreate Leopold Bloom’s pork kidney purchase from Dlugacz, the butcher. There was no Dlugacz on Dorset, but there was another butcher who stuffed into stiff pink butcher paper something that glistened and oozed. My plan was to fry it up, as Leopold had, on the hotplate in my rented room. It did not go well. I was felled intestinally in dramatic fashion; pity there was no one to observe. 

Somehow, in my travels, I had obtained a copy of At Swim Two-Birds, and now, my insides recreating The Troubles, I wanly reached for it and read the first paragraph:…

By Flann O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked At Swim-Two-Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A wildly comic send-up of Irish literature and culture, At Swim-Two-Birds is the story of a young, lazy, and frequently drunk Irish college student who lives with his curmudgeonly uncle in Dublin. When not in bed (where he seems to spend most of his time) or reading he is composing a mischief-filled novel about Dermot Trellis, a second-rate author whose characters ultimately rebel against him and seek vengeance. From drugging him as he sleeps to dropping the ceiling on his head, these figures of Irish myth make Trellis pay dearly for his bad writing. Hilariously funny and inventive, At Swim-Two-Birds…

The Rebels of Ireland

By Edward Rutherfurd,

Book cover of The Rebels of Ireland: The Dublin Saga

Eddie Price Author Of Rebels Abroad

From the list on the unquenchable Irish spirit of freedom.

Who am I?

I am a retired history teacher with 36 years of teaching experience in high school and college. I am also a passionate world traveler and for over four decades led students on overseas tours.  In 2012 (the year I retired from teaching) I released my first novel, Widder’s Landing set in Kentucky in the early 1800s. One of my main characters came from a family of Irish Catholics—and he is featured in Rebels Abroad. Ireland has always fascinated me and in my nine trips to the country, I smelled the peat fires, tasted the whiskey, listened to the music and the lyrical tales told by the tour leaders—and came to love the people.

Eddie's book list on the unquenchable Irish spirit of freedom

Discover why each book is one of Eddie's favorite books.

Why did Eddie love this book?

To comprehend the present, one must examine the past and observe the undercurrents that forge a people and their nation. 

Rutherfurd’s Rebels of Ireland succeeds brilliantly in this endeavor. The families in this novel deal with the real historical events that shaped Irish destiny. They drew me into their lives and swept me along on a journey through time. When I finally emerged, I felt as if I had witnessed history, and lived it alongside them!

By Edward Rutherfurd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rebels of Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Princes of Ireland, the first volume of Edward Rutherfurd’s magisterial epic of Irish history, ended with the disastrous Irish revolt of 1534 and the disappearance of the sacred Staff of Saint Patrick. The Rebels of Ireland opens with an Ireland transformed; plantation, the final step in the centuries-long English conquest of Ireland, is the order of the day, and the subjugation of the native Irish Catholic population has begun in earnest.

Edward Rutherfurd brings history to life through the tales of families whose fates rise and fall in each generation: Brothers who must choose between fidelity to their ancient…

The Commitments

By Roddy Doyle,

Book cover of The Commitments

R. P. Rioux Author Of Swimming Through the Dawn

From the list on for starting your own band.

Who am I?

Since childhood, I've been in love with musicians, the world they live in, and the fruits of their labor. I spent years listening to my parent's record collection, which covered everything from pop, rock, and country, to jazz and classical. Today, music continues to stir my passion like nothing else. Though an industry career was never in the cards for me personally, I've frequently hovered around its periphery. My goal was to write a band story, one that strayed from common tropes to explore, through humor and heartbreak, the many joys and pitfalls of life in this mercurial and often nonsensical industry. The result was my trilogy, Idol Pursuits. Enjoy.

R. P.'s book list on for starting your own band

Discover why each book is one of R. P.'s favorite books.

Why did R. P. love this book?

In my opinion, few writers have expressed in words the sensation of what it's like to make and listen to music quite like Roddy Doyle has in The Commitments. The book abounds with youthful energy and humor. His nearly complete reliance on dialogue rather than description creates an immediacy that I've rarely experienced elsewhere. He eschews tired cliches in favor of presenting music-making as a craft that requires prodigious amounts of labor and a high tolerance for BS. This also happens to be the source material for one of the best band movies ever made.

By Roddy Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Commitments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1988, THE COMMITMENTS follows a small band of musicians from the Barrytown area of Dublin as they try to make the big time. From the author of THE SNAPPER, THE VAN and PADDY CLARKE HA HA HA.

The Secret Place

By Tana French,

Book cover of The Secret Place

Shannon Grogan Author Of From Where I Watch You

From the list on creepy YA for reluctant readers.

Who am I?

My mom always read creepy paperbacks and left them around for me to gawk at the covers but not actually able to read the words inside. I probably started with all the Nancy Drew mysteries and then switched to Stephen King (Carrie, The Shining, Misery, etc.), Flowers in the Attic books by V.C. Andrews, Jaws by Peter Benchley, and anything I could get my hands on! I’m a devoted fan of all creepy and scary books! I’ve never been bored reading this genre, whether it’s adult or YA and that is what I think reluctant readers need–creepy page-turners!

Shannon's book list on creepy YA for reluctant readers

Discover why each book is one of Shannon's favorite books.

Why did Shannon love this book?

The Secret Place is actually an adult mystery, but keep reading to see why I think it works as YA too. Creepy atmosphere, slow build-up, which I love, set in Ireland, mostly in a boarding school. Full of secrets, complex relationships, and murder. Tana French is a genius and this book switches from YA to adult voice most of the suspects in this book are teens. My picture of these characters is so vivid, as with all of the characters in her books, I feel like they are in the same room with me. And some of them I don’t want in the same room as me! I love this book and have read it twice!

By Tana French,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Secret Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An absolutely mesmerizing read. . . . Tana French is simply this: a truly great writer." -Gillian Flynn

Read the New York Times bestseller by Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher and "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (The Washington Post).

A year ago a boy was found murdered at a girls' boarding school, and the case was never solved. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to join Dublin's Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey arrives in his office with a photo of the boy with the caption:…

The Trespasser

By Tana French,

Book cover of The Trespasser

Adam Oyebanji Author Of A Quiet Teacher

From the list on fair play murder mysteries that are actually fair.

Who am I?

I was born in Coatbridge, in the West of Scotland, more years ago than I care to remember. I recently took the big step of moving east to Edinburgh, by way of Birmingham, London, Lagos, Nigeria, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New York: a necessary detour because traffic on the direct route is really, really bad. I’m a graduate of Birmingham University and Harvard Law School, and work in the field of counter-terrorist financing, which sounds way cooler than it is.  Basically, I write emails, fill in forms, and use spreadsheets to help choke off the money supply that builds weapons of mass destruction, narcotics empires, and human trafficking networks. And sometimes I write murder mysteries.

Adam's book list on fair play murder mysteries that are actually fair

Discover why each book is one of Adam's favorite books.

Why did Adam love this book?

Cynical, elegantly plotted, and beautifully written, in this, the sixth of French’s Dublin Murder Squad mysteries, a young woman is found dead in her home and the initial conclusion is that she’s a victim of domestic violence. Her boyfriend is hauled in and questioned and the Squad is convinced it’s an open and shut case. All except the deeply unpopular Antoinette Conway, who spots a number of inconsistencies that give her pause. Pushed to the limit by the hostility and harassment of her so-called colleagues, Conway probes deeper into the case—at the risk of sinking her precarious career for good.

By Tana French,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Trespasser as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling novel by Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher, is "required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting" (The New York Times). She "inspires cultic devotion in readers" (The New Yorker) and is "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (The Washington Post).

"Atmospheric and unputdownable." -People

In bestselling author Tana French's newest "tour de force" (The New York Times), being on the Murder Squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she's…


By Paulo Coelho,

Book cover of Brida: A Novel

Sita Bennett Author Of Maya of the In-Between

From the list on finding yourself (for sensitive teens).

Who am I?

Growing up, I didn’t understand the hypersensitivity I felt to my own inner world and the outer. Highly alert to both interoceptive and exteroceptive data, I often felt overstimulated and overwhelmed by the intensity to which I experienced my own feelings, the feelings of others, and sensory inputs. I thought there was something wrong with me because being a feeler is generally seen as a weakness. I now write novels about quiet, sensitive, introspective young people for others who feel like I did, as a way to share the true power within this way of being, which I have discovered to be a gift, not a curse over time.

Sita's book list on finding yourself (for sensitive teens)

Discover why each book is one of Sita's favorite books.

Why did Sita love this book?

The story of a curious young woman on a quest for knowledge and insights into the deeper mysteries of the world.

With the guidance of a wise shaman and a witch who have both walked the path of truth before her in different ways, she learns magic and how to overcome fear. It is a book that takes the reader on a journey alongside Brida and leaves space for one’s own moments of self-discovery, learning, and growth.

By Paulo Coelho,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brida as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of Brida, a young Irish girl, and her quest for knowledge. She has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom, who begin to teach Brida about the spiritual world. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her about overcoming her fears and trusting in the goodness of the world; and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world, and how to pray to the moon. As Brida seeks her…