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Saturday, February 18, 2017
‘There was this fantastic thing a writer called Archie McGregor did in the 1980s…. It was called “Bruno Glanvilla writes”, and it was very much a skit of Glanville boasting, “I was in Italy last week, in bella Italia, and I was with Graham Souness, and…. oh, what a handsome man he is.” Glanville was showing off,’ ….’It was all about the fine meal he enjoyed, and the wine he drank, and the people he met.”
In a word, culture. And by the 1970s, the English football fan had set about trashing if not the citadels of European culture, then at least the idea of them.
from And the Sun Shines Now (How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain) by Adrian Tempany (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
By then, we had reached the river again. And the sun came up in the east where the Liffey meets the sea and the black water began to come to life. The air was full of the smell of hops, sweet and heavy as treacle and seagulls circled in the sky over the brewery. A heron was standing on a rock in the river on one leg, like a ballerina. Everything very quiet. Dublin was dreaming for a moment…. All quiet and glittering in the morning sun.
And next thing, we heard the shots.
from Signatories by Emma Donoghue, Thomas Kilroy, Hugo Hamilton, Frank McGuinness, Rachel Fehily, Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, Marina Carr, Joseph O’Connor (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, February 4, 2017
….sitting down to our supper of boiled bread and milk. We have both to spare, as the storm did not permit the milkman to land in the morning, and we now have a double portion. Adam says: ‘Mamma will be in great glee when she comes here, to find such lots of boiled bread and milk.’ I am annoyed from little turns I am forced to do about myself and Adam. Fancy me cooking ham and cabbage, and cleaning up the crockery?
from Too Beautiful For Thieves And Pickpockets, a history of the Victorian convict prison on Spike Island, by Cal McCarthy and Barra O’Donnabhain (2016). Recommended.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
The seminary was renowned for its food, the produce of its out-farms. Plates of sliced pork, cured ham and pressed tongue were laid out on white tablecloths in the lee of the sand dunes. We poured home-made lemonade from glass bottles. Some of the lads had gathered flotsam and we boiled up the water we had brought.
I had known for thirty minutes that I had made the wrong choice in life.
from The Trout by Peter Cunningham (2016). Very Highly Recommended
Friday, January 20, 2017
I’ll say quickly what..brought me to America but I don’t feel much in the way of saying too much. Least said soonest mended is the old saw…
My father was a butter exporter in a small way sending butter in barrels out of Sligo port into England. All good things were sent there. Cows, beeves, pigs, sheep, goats, wheat, barley, English corn, beets, carrots, cabbages, and all the rest of the paraphernalia of existence. All that was left in Ireland was the potato and when the potato was lost there was nothing left in old Ireland.
from Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, January 13, 2017
They simply didn't know what hit them. The Young Munster supporters would arrive in their thousands…. They'd come into the clubhouse beforehand and set up base camp. They’d have the sandwiches ready and one massive communal picnic would break out. They'd have their pig's feet and a few pints and they'd be saluting everyone. This was a big shock if you were from Wanderers or Lansdowne.
from Donal Lenihan: My Life in Rugby by Donal Lenihan (2016). Recommended.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Keogh invited the three of us to dinner at his home next day…..
Wolfe Tone arrived to join us for a dinner of brisket of beef, roast leg of mutton and boiled cows’ heels, washed down with claret from Lisbon. As secretary of the Catholic Committee, Tone spent many evenings here planning strategy.
from The Star Man by Conor O’Clery (2016). Highly Recommended.
Friday, December 30, 2016
It was preserved in the oral history, the demise of the great Chinook spawn along the Saint Lawrence, a lifecycle disturbed by the presence of outsiders. It was carried with the natives, the memory of fish, in song and story.
What you had to do, in your most solemn appeal, was pray to the wolf, the bear and the eagle, seek alternatives, abstain and let a species recover. In so doing, you nourished the inner spirit, humanity following nature, and not the other way around.
from The Death of All Things Seen by Michael Collins (2016). Highly Recommended.
Friday, December 23, 2016
They fell silent as the nuns moved around the table, serving the main course of veal scallopini. The meat looked rubbery, the sauce congealed. If anything forces this Conclave to a swift conclusion, thought Lomeli, it will be the food.
from Conclave by Robert Harris (2016). No Recommendation.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
“Let’s go,” he told his childhood friend, Viktor Borisenko, after picking him up in his car. It was clear to Borisenko that something had happened, but Vladimir would not so much as hint at what it was. They went to a Georgian restaurant near the Kazan Cathedral, the colonnaded landmark on Nevsky Prospekt, eating chicken in walnut-sauce and, to Borisenko's surprise, for his friend had never before allowed the indulgence, drinking shots of sweet liqueur. Only much later did he learn that they had been celebrating his friend’s acceptance into the KGB.
From The New Tsar by Steven Lee Myers (2015)