Favourite Irish Books of 2021 by Karina Clifford.

As a bookseller, I try to be aware of all the new books coming out; as a reader, it is a huge delight to see how many of them are by brilliant Irish writers, both debut and veteran. To celebrate Irish Book Week, these are some of my favourites this year – there is a mixture of fiction, memoir and young adult titles as that is what I mostly read. Hope you find some books here to whet your appetite for reading!

All our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue – vividly written, engaging YA read with school misfit Maeve stumbling on an old pack of tarot cards and using her readings to become popular. Until a strange card turns up, the reading goes wrong, and her once best friend disappears. Contemporary Ireland has never seemed so hip!

To Star the Dark by Doireann Ni Ghriofa – a deeply intimate book that speaks of time and family and the evanescence of life, these are beautiful and deeply moving poems.

Holding Her Breath by Eimear Ryan – a stunning debut novel with such clean, fluid prose that reading it is effortless. I had read halfway through before I was aware!

I Want to Know That I Will Be Okay by Deirdre Sullivan – sharply tender short stories that delight and dazzle; both tender and terrifying. One of my books of the year!

Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth – a funny, heart-warming YA read as Aideen struggles with family, school, friendship and an unexpected crush by solving other peoples’ problems…while ignoring her own.

Corpsing by Sophie White – with writing that is raw and nakedly honest, but also very funny and life-affirming, the author bares herself to us as she struggles with death, life, mental health issues and addiction. Absolutely compelling stuff.

Savage her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan & Karen Vaughan – a darkly lyrical and powerful slantwise take on one of our most ancient myths.

Actress by Anne Enright – beautifully written tale laced with bone dry humour; a subtle, acerbic yet tender examination of a complicated but loving relationship.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue – a spellbinding book with uncanny echoes to the present; over the course of a weekend, three women’s lives are irrevocably changed by meeting one another during the 1918 Pandemic in a Dublin hospital.

OK, Let’s do your Stupid Idea by Patrick Freyne – found myself wheezing helplessly with laughter with one chapter, damp-eyed and moved by the next. Wonderful essay memoir.

Karina has been a bookworm forever and her formative childhood reads were The Bookshop on the Quay by Patricia Lynch and Alice Through the Looking Glass By Lewis Carroll, which may or may not explain a great deal... Natural habitat is a bookshop, happily enough; may also be found writing about books on Instagram @bookaneer808.

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