The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 17, 2000


A Reading List for St. Patrick's Day

Ubiquitous shamrocks and the color green bring to mind no other holiday than St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick's Day, celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, offers us the chance to read about Ireland. The following is only a small selection of books from an enormous number dealing with this country and its culture. Many of these books are available at the Gleason Public Library or can be ordered through inter-library loan.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - Angela's Ashes is a candid autobiography of McCourt's harsh childhood years spent in Limerick, Ireland. McCourt's gift for storytelling and humor brings this memoir to life, affecting all of its readers - for which reason it has won numerous awards and honorable recognition.

All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald - In his autobiography, MacDonald tells his touching story of family tragedy in Boston's violent and poverty stricken, Irish community - Southie. MacDonald's story, given five stars by, is one of hope and success as he overcomes his harsh boyhood.

Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O'Donohue - This book presents us with an opportunity to reconsider and understand ourselves, as the Celts did many years ago. Exploring the spiritual world contained inside each of us, we can see ourselves from another perspective and gain a better understanding of the world we live in.

A Celtic Childhood by Bill Watkins - In this autobiography, Watkins writes about his rough childhood in a humorous and imaginative manner, which differs from McCourt's blunt style in Angela's Ashes. This book is strongly recommended for all interested in "humor, memoir and all things Irish" (according to John Gillis' review of the book at

Hope Against History: The Course of Conflict in Northern Ireland by Jack Holland -In this novel, Holland analyzes the conflict in Northern Ireland over the last 30 years. This book offers an account of the grim events of this war and is recommended for all readers of Irish history.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola - In addition to being wonderfully and colorfully illustrated, this story gives children (and adults for that matter) a great understanding of the history behind St. Patrick. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this holiday.

A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle - This historical novel tracks the life of

Henry Smart through the streets of Dublin to his position in the Irish Republican Army (IRA). This book, praised by the Irish press, offers us, in a humorous and realistic fashion, a unique view of republicanism and the struggle in Ireland, involving teenagers represented by Doyle's fictitious character, Henry Smart.

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy - With similar circumstances to those read about in the Prince and the Pauper, two women, one from New England and the other from Dublin, switch places across the Atlantic in the hope of solving problems they encounter at their homes. Instead they have an unforgettable experience which alters their lives forever.

'Tis: A Memoir by Frank McCourt - A sequel to his hit Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt's newest blockbuster continues the story of his life as he returns to New York City (in 1949) where his hardships continue as a poor Irish American. This book, though considered not as good as Angela's Ashes, is an honest and poignant memoir.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito