And you thought that the Swedes wrote only brooding psychological crime thrillers!

Well there is crime in this best selling novel by Jonas Jonasson but there the comparison ends. The Hundred -Year -Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared is the story of Allan, about to have an wanted centenary celebration imposed on him in the care home where he lives.

Shortly before the party starts he vacates his room and thus starts a wonderful journey both  for the reader as well as for  the chief protagonist of this novel. There seemed to be little pre-meditation in his plan to decamp and even less in Allan’s decision to steal a suitcase full of money from a member of a criminal gang,  at his first port of call, the local bus station.

The loss of the suitcase is the catalyst for the adventure which follows; Allan needs to keep on the move to avoid the criminals who are in hot pursuit of their ill-gotten gains.

What makes this more than a routine chase is the chronicling of Allan’s earlier life via flashbacks where we learn about his childhood, his brief incarceration in an institution (no, it’s not all grim!) and later his involvement in some of the historical milestones  of the twentieth century. To some extent he is a Forrest Gump character whose influence has been vital to the shaping of many of the century’s events.

One hundred Year Old Man

Request your copy now at Meath County Library Service

Brock watch backA 99 year old watch has found its way back to Navan. It was discovered at a jumble sale near Farnham in England and returned to Navan History Society by the person who bought it.
It was presented it to Navan Library, where it can be seen in the Local Studies Room.
‘Presented by the Magistrates attending Navan P.S. to Constable Brock RIC on the occasion of his volunteering for active service December 1914’


Constable Brock watch

Check out new Irish writer Irene Lawlor who visited Ashbourne & Duleek libraries recently her new book Discovering Ireland is available in all branches http://ow.ly/kmSA9 http://ow.ly/i/1XxuO

Check us out #meath libraries are now on #pinterest http://ow.ly/kmOmy

Mary Lavin Season

Meath County Library,  in conjunction with Solstice Arts Centre is celebrating the Mary Lavin Season in this, the centenary year of Mary’s birth.

As part of the programme to bring the works of Lavin both to  new audiences and to the many readers who are re-visting the writer’s wonderful literary oeuvre , Meath County Library hosted an evening on the work of Mary Lavin the writer,  with Eileen Battersby as the guest speaker,  on Wednesday 14th November in Navan library.

Eileen Battersby is the author of Second Readings: From Beckett to Black Beauty as well as of Ordinary Lives : A Story of Two Dogs.  Eileen is literary correspondent with the Irish Times and a four- times winner of the National Arts Journalist of the Year Award.

The evening was introduced by Diarmuid Peavoy, son-in-law of Mary Lavin. He spoke about Lavin in the context of the familial relationship, her childhood in the United States and the family’s move to her maternal home of Athenry before the family settled in Bective.

Librarian Tom French followed by delivering a sensitve interpretation of  Lavin’s Let me Come Inland  Always.

Eileen Battersby addressed the capacity audience of Lavin devotees with a perspiacious exploration of Lavin the writer, her influences and her place in the pantheon of great Irish and international short story writers.  She was of the opinion that Mary Lavin’s greatest output was during the period of her widowhood. Comparisons were made with Joyce’s The Dead in the context of the style of her stories,  in particular the power of rhythm and repitition in both authors’ works.

Eileen Battersby went on to talk about The New Yorker magazine, the prestigious publisher of the fiction of great American writers such as F. Scott Fitgerald, Eudora Welty, John Updike and Peter Taylor, and how it was instrumental in getting Mary Lavin published and available to an international readership.

Eileen believes in the international importance of Mary Lavin’s work to the extent that she is convinced  it is now  time to consider commemorating  Lavin’s legacy by inaugurating an international story competition in her name.

 Writer Michael Harding will continue the celebration of the  Mary Lavin centenary  on Thursday 22nd November at 7.30 in Navan library . This contributor to the series  has published 3 novels and is a noted short-story writer and playwright.

Below in company with Eileen Battersby in Navan library are  Diarmuid Peavoy and Eoin Peavoy

Mary Lavin talk- Eileen Battersby

Alexander Gordon Smith visited Dublin and Ashbourne Library for the Childen’s Book Festival on Monday  and it sounds like he had a great time!

Getting to go on tour is one of the best parts of being an author, and there are certain places that I absolutely love to visit as much as possible – Edinburgh, New York, and of course Dublin. The first time I visited Dublin was a couple of years ago, and I flew in on St Patrick’s Day. My first event was on the morning after, and out of two schools that were supposed to show up one came with half a class, and the other one didn’t show up at all, apparently because the teachers were off sick…

It was still a wonderful experience, and I’ve been looking forward to coming back ever since, so I jumped at the chance to be part of the spectacular CBI Children’s Book Festival! My event took place in Ashbourne Library, and this time I had a full house of truly awesome pupils. I talked about writing, reading, making scary masks to cure writer’s block, playing video games, exploring haunted houses, coming up with ideas, how anybody can be a writer and, last but not least, how writing is the best job in the world because you get to shoot cow pats with shotguns and call it research.

There were some brilliant questions and a signing too. It was fantastic to see so much enthusiasm for books and for writing, and there were definitely some future bestselling writers in the audience. Remember, just never give up on your dreams! I followed this with an event at Wesley College, which was great fun (even though I had to fit my talk into twenty minutes, speaking non-stop at roughly thirty words a second, which I think left a few people dazed and confused). Thanks to everyone who came to my events, and to the delightful Aoife Murray for looking after me!

The day wasn’t over yet! I enjoyed pizza and drinks (and cake!) with David Maybury and Juliette Saumande from Inis Magazine, and I got invited to the premiere of Frankenweenie, which was great! It summed up why I love this city so much – it’s always full of pleasant surprises, fun and friendly people, great food and drink (and cake!), and endless laughter. And that’s just what you need when you’re a horror author and you spend all day holed up writing about monsters, mayhem and murder…

Thanks to CBI for inviting me over, and to the amazing people of Dublin for making me feel so welcome. Hopefully I’ll see you all again soon!

Guest blog thanks to CBI


Last week we featured a guest blog post from Rathcairn Library about Gabriel Rosenstock’s visits to their library during Children’s Books Festival. We’re delighted today to heat from Gabriel himself:

The first thing you notice about a visit to Ráth Chairn library is the abundance of Irish-language books for young and old and a lovely display of old book covers, featuring classic tales rendered into Irish such as Cú na mBaskerville – no prizes for guessing the original title. A pity we don’t have more bilingual and multilingual displays in our libraries and bookshops. Even from a visual point of view (quite apart from linguistic courtesy), a bilingual or multilingual display of books, covers, posters etc. would be an improvement on the ubiquitous “usual suspects” which become so tiring to the eye.

And what a great pleasure it was to be able to speak in Irish to such a lively group of Gaeltacht children, most of whom were very comfortable with their Gaelic identity and few of whom would remember the mockery endured by many of their parents/grandparents who moved to this fertile spot in County Meath from the harsh, rocky terrain of Connemara.

We had some great fun with classic and modern haiku, reciting and flavouring dozens of samples over three days and, most of all in illustrating them. Mind-boggling were some of the frogs and spiders that found shape and colour in Ráth Chairn over those enchanting days. This was the creation of haiga, or illustrated haiku, and we could have been at it for a month! And when we had enough illustrations, or so I thought, I asked them to try to sing a few haiku. (Their teacher – lucky for them – is a prize-winning sean-nós singer). And they obliged, individually and as little groups. And if you have never heard haiku sung by school children, hybrid songs influenced by rap and sean-nós, well then, you haven’t lived! All in all, a transcultural multi-media experience as rewarding for myself as it was for the children.

Rath Dé ar mhuintir Ráth Chairn!

 Thanks to CBI for this guest blog

Nobber Library’s Children’s Book Festival is over for another year.  According to Imelda, the branch librarian there, it was the best festival so far!  All author visits were totally different from each other.  “In a world where children have the best of everything I was really impressed with their attention, interaction and courtesy to all the authors.  More of the same next year, please”.

Imelda said that “all events were entertaining for the children and us so-called adults. No two ‘author sessions’ were alike whatsoever”. 

First session was with author David Donohue – “the children loved his totally different approach with words and he engaged them throughout the visit”.

The Wolfling's BiteSecond session was with author and illustrator  Oisin McGann  or was it Annie Graves??– “the children were enthralled by his visit and I loved his encouragement for children to keep reading”.  Imelda reported a number of new visitors to the library that evening.  It’s great to see the author visit translating into new library members and a renewed interest in reading for pleasure. 

Next came Paula Leyden – “her life experiences were fascinating for the children.  They asked loads of questions and were very interested”.  Paula’s first book, The Butterfly Heart won the Eilis Dillon award for a First Children’s Book at the CBI Book Awards

Debbie Thomas’ creative writing workshop lasted one and half hours.  “I thought it would be difficult to engage the children for this length of time, but they were totally engrossed with her.   When she entertained a table of boys for that period it speaks for itself”.  “Many of the class expressed an interest in reading her book “Dead Hairy” after the workshop.  dead hairy

“I’m sure the children from Nobber will be writing books in the future”.

Thanks to Imelda from Nobber Library for this great report.

Week 3 of Children’s Book Festival 2012 began with a visit of author Alexander Gordon Smith to Ashbourne Library yesterday morning.  he was here to talk about The Fury, his latest series of books for children and teenagers.  Thanks to Faber and Children’s Books Ireland for assisting us with this event.
Solitary Escape from Furnace 2
Today sees local author/illustrator, Tatyana Feeney, in Athboy library talking about her gorgeous new picture book, Small Bunny’s blue blanket. It’s beautifully illustrated and a lovely book to share with the little ones in your life.

We’re very excited about the impending visit of  The 2 Steves (Skidmore and Barlow)to Meath libraries. They’re flying in from the UK on Wednesday night for 4 booked-out shows in Trim, Ashbourne and Oldcastle libraries.  Between them they’ve published over 150 books.  Their latest series, Action Dogs, is in the shops (and libraries) now.  They’ll be performing their iHero show which is a  lively and funny interactive literary game show based on their I Hero series.

It’s going to be a busy week!

Comics writer, Alan Nolan, presented two 90 minute workshops last week in Oldcastle Library for Children’s Book Festival 2012.    Children from Ballinacree and Oldcastle were the lucky ones to head down to the library for this fun event.death by chocolate

Alan Nolan is a comics writer, graphic designer and artist.  He is the creator of The Big Break Detectives Casebook, a graphic novel for younger readers, and the Murder can be Fatal mysteries.

The illustration session was well structured and easy to follow and the children really enjoyed drawing the comic book characters.   Alan was very patient with the children and in return the children were very attentive.   Alan was well able to adapt to the level and abilities of all the young children.  There was a very positive response from both teachers and children.

Thanks to Anne in Oldcastle Library for the report
death by chocolate

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