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July's best reads from Kerr's bookshop Clonakilty

June 29th, 2020 2:12 PM

By Southern Star Team

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With phase three of the reopening of Ireland underway people are beginning to book their summer holidays.

There is no better company when travelling than a good book and thanks to our friends at Kerr's Bookshop Clonakilty we've never been short of a recommendation.

Every month Kerr's Bookshop Clonakilty recommend a selection of books that cater to all tastes and we post them here.

Let us know if you read any of the books below and tell us whether you loved or hated them. Happy reading!

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has - unintentionally - caused racial offence or hurt.

After, all, a racist is the worst thing a person can be, right? But these reactions only serve to silence people of colour, who cannot give honest feedback to 'liberal' white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional reaction.

Robin DiAngelo coined the term 'White Fragility' in 2011 to describe this process and is here to show us how it serves to uphold the system of white supremacy. Using knowledge and insight gained over decades of running racial awareness workshops and working on this idea as a Professor of Whiteness Studies, she shows us how we can start having more honest conversations, listen to each other better and react to feedback with grace and humility.

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Cobden

It is Brighton, 1959, and the theatre at the end of the pier is having its best summer season in years. Ronnie, a brilliant young magician, and Evie, his dazzling assistant, are top of the bill, drawing audiences each night. Meanwhile, Jack – Jack Robinson, as in ‘before you can say’ – is everyone’s favourite compère, a born entertainer, holding the whole show together.

Rich, comic, alive and subtly devastating, Here We Are is a masterly piece of literary magicianship which pulls back the curtain on the human condition

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

When you leave Ireland aged 22 to spend your parents' money, it's called a gap year. When Ava leaves Ireland aged 22 to make her own money, she's not sure what to call it, but it involves:

- a badly-paid job in Hong Kong, teaching English grammar to rich children;
- Julian, who likes to spend money on Ava and lets her move into his guest room;
- Edith, who Ava meets while Julian is out of town and actually listens to her when she talks;
- money, love, cynicism, unspoken feelings and unlikely connections.

Exciting times ensue.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

he Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.

Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past.

Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' story lines intersect?

A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson

1960. The world is dancing on the edge of revolution, and nowhere more so than on the Greek island of Hydra, where a circle of poets, painters and musicians live tangled lives, ruled by the writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, troubled king and queen of bohemia.

Forming within this circle is a triangle: its points the magnetic, destructive writer Axel Jensen, his dazzling wife Marianne Ihlen, and a young Canadian poet named Leonard Cohen.

Into their midst arrives teenage Erica, with little more than a bundle of blank notebooks and her grief for her mother. Settling on the periphery of this circle, she watches, entranced and disquieted, as a paradise unravels.

Burning with the heat and light of Greece, A Theatre for Dreamers is a spellbinding novel about utopian dreams and innocence lost - and the wars waged between men and women on the battlegrounds of genius.

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief.

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