Today with Sean O'Rourke

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    Jimmy White

    Being good at snooker suggests a misspent youth, so people say. And young Jimmy White of Tooting, South London, was very good at snooker and seemingly allergic to school. He would go on to become a household name and rival Alex Higgins for the title of ‘the people’s champion’.

    He has just written his second autobiography because as he says he ‘held back’ the first time around and now wants to get the real story out there. Jimmy White joined Sean in studio this morning.


    Reeva: A Mother's Story

    Last February, the reality TV programme Tropika Island of Treasure was bound to make Reeva Steenkamp a household name in South Africa. Unfortunately her violent and confusing death only two days before the programme was due to be broadcast, made her a worldwide name.

    The subsequent court case – which also played out on television – was dubbed ‘the trial of the century’. For Reeva’s mother June it was essential that she attend the proceedings to both see justice served and to reclaim her daughter’s name so that she wasn’t merely ‘the model girlfriend’ of Oscar Pistorius, a ‘reality TV star’ or most hurtfully ‘the deceased’ of the trial.

    They had she says ‘the closest mother daughter bond imaginable’ and now that the court case is behind them June Steenkamp is looking to honour her daughter’s legacy by setting up the Reeva Steenkamp Foundation. And with that in mind, she has just written ‘Reeva: A Mother’s Story’ and she joined Sean this morning.


    Kieran Conway - Author of Southside Provisional

    Kieran Conway was rared in an affluent suburb of South County Dublin and educated at Blackrock College and then UCD. His new book, Southside Provisional: From Freedom Fighter to the Four Courts, charts his personal journey from teenage middleclass anglophile to committed IRA activist, now a practising solicitor in Dublin.


    Books Roundup

    Broadcaster and journalist Edel Coffey and Stephen Boylan from Easons joined Sean for our monthly books roundup.

    We’ll be looking at gift books a little later in the month but we think that many of these books will be on a lot of people’s Christmas lists too.  

    The Woman Who Stole My Life / Marian Keyes

    Academy Street / Mary Costello

    Let Me Be Frank With You / Richard Ford

    Revival / Stephen King

    Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow / Sophia Loren

    Crossing The Line / Luis Suarez 

    Yes Please / Amy Poehler

    New Selected Poems 1988-2013 / Seamus Heaney

    Some Luck / Jane Smiley

    The Burning Room / Michael Connelly

    Alexander McCall Smith / Emma

    The Fires of Autumn / Irene Nemirovsky

    Coming Home for Christmas / Patricia Scanlan

    The Best of Miriam Lord / Miriam Lord

    Lila / Marilynne Robinson 


    Me and My Backbone

    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live with a severely dehabilitating medical condition while trying to live the life of a normal twenty eight year old woman. Me and My Backbone, My Journey with Spina Bifida, a story of Co. Clare woman Siobhan Mongovan who chose to live her life with humour no matter what the world throws at her joined Sean from our Limerick studio to discuss her new book co written with Carol Byrne.


    Life Lessons

    With experience comes knowledge. And a new book, Life Lessons, talks to 21 men and women from all areas of Irish life about the lessons they have learned from their own individual experiences.

    Joining Sean were three of these men and women, Mary O’Rourke was in our Athlone studio, and in Dublin Dr Austin O’Carroll and Marty Morrissey.

    Family life is usually our first experience of the world, they spoke to Sean about how their family experiences formed character.

    Life Lessons, a treasury of conversations about life by Rita De Brun is published by New Island Press, €16.99.


    Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End

    Death and talking about death is still a taboo subject for many of us. Joining Sean this morning was Dr. Atul Gawande who practices general and endocrine surgery and is professor in both the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Department of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. 

    Dr, Gawande is also an author of Being Mortal, a book which tackles the issues of end-of-life care. In the book, Atul argues that in trying to keep people alive for as long as possible we might actually be inflicting more suffering.

    Also joining the conversation is Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation, a national charity which strives to ensure best care at end of life for all in Ireland.

    We have become a great country to live in – but the Irish Hospice want Ireland to be a great country to die in too. Their philosophy is to help people to LIVE WELL until the end.

    Download the Irish Hospice Foundation 'Think Ahead' brochure here.

    Watch:An interview with Dr. Gawande


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