Dublin: 5 °C Friday 28 January, 2022

Catastrophe's Sharon Horgan has curated the top 10 perfect books to bring on your holidays

Two Irish authors feature on her desert island list.

SHARON HORGAN COULD recommend something as banal as the perfect rice cake, and I would go out of my way to try it. The woman is a creative genius, who in her show Catastrophe, has managed to tap into the psyche of a modern-day Irish mammy that is painfully relatable and absolutely lovable.

fuck off Source: twitter/jessfazari

So when I saw that she’d compiled a list of her top 10 desert island books for One Grand Books, I knew she would have curated a dream reading list for me on holidays. She even included two Irish authors on her list.

H’up the Irish!

The first Irish writer on the list was James Joyce..

james joyce Source: Irish central

…but don’t let your fear of the mighty tome that is Ulysses scare you off.

Sharon recommends Dubliners, Joyce’s collection of short stories about Dubliners (surprisingly) at the turn of the century, saying ‘it was just such a surprise to find it accessible’:

As a young student living in Dublin, I always thought it vaguely pretentious that I should be reading Joyce. But I couldn’t even begin to start with “Ulysses,” and then I discovered “Dubliners,” and thought, this is perfect, this is my kind of thing: An evocative but simple style of writing.

‘Simple style of writing’ and ‘James Joyce’ in the same sentence sounds very promising!

dubliners Source: Amazon

I was so delighted for myself: “I’ve read Joyce, I can tick that off my list of smart things I should be doing.”

Do it for no other reason than to show off at the pool that you are a woman of letters.

The second Irish writer on Sharon’s list was Seamus Heaney and his book ‘Selected Poems 1966-1987′.  Many of the poems you might have done for the Leaving Cert, but no harm to whip them out again and celebrate one of Ireland’s most famed writers and a Nobel Prize winner.

seamus Source: Amazon

Of the poems, Sharon highlights the heart-wrenching one about peeling spuds in order to ditch Mass – an absolute win.

There’s a poem of Heaney’s that describes a couple peeling potatoes together while everyone’s at Mass. Such a mundane task, but that image of a couple at their closest while they peel potatoes—oh my god, it f**ked me up. It’s such an intimate thing. How Heaney can dissolve you into tears without being sentimental is an extraordinary thing

A third book worth highlighting is one that Sharon professed her love of on Instagram.

In her insta post she says of Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Aderton:

Buy it for your teenage daughter and then put in a drawer for a few years and then hand it over like you might a set of life encyclopedias.

Forget your teen daughter, buy it for yourself!

Sharon was so taken with the book that she rang up the author as soon as she’d finished it.

I got in touch with Alderton. I said ‘Please, please let me buy the rights to this book and let me make it,’ but someone had got there before me. It’s about not giving up, and not losing sight of the thing you’re after just because life has f**ked you a few times along the way.

Damn, no one could do a better job than Sharon of showing a story of how life can f**k you up but you gotta keep trudging on.

The remaining books on the list are:

  1. Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher
  2. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
  3. The Girl Who Ran by Christina Yee and Frances Poletti
  4. Off the Road by Carolyn Cassady
  5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  6. Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry
  7. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

See what she has to say about them all over at One Grand Books.

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