Today with Sean O'Rourke

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    Ireland's Western Islands

    Currachs and ferries, trawlers and electricity generators, ponies-and-traps and self-sufficiency... All are part and parcel of island life. John Carlos has been photographing Ireland’s western islands for over 40 years and has  published a book on the subject.

    John Carlos became interested in photography while visiting Inis Mór, Aran Islands, age twelve in 1963. He joined the Connacht Tribune seven years later in his native Galway. He became staff photographer with the Sunday Tribune in 1983 and won numerous awards including Photographer of the Year with the PPAI. He later worked with The Sunday Times before returning to live and work in the west of Ireland.

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    The Thrill of It All

    Joseph O’Connor’s book has not even hit the shelves yet and has already been shortlisted for a prestigious comic novel of the year prize. Best known for the success of novels such as Star of the Sea and Ghost Light, he has also branched out and has started incorporating music into his work. His latest novel The Thrill of It All follows the highs and lows of a band The Ships over 25 years from Thatcher era London to Glastonbury and the present day and he joined Sean today to discuss this and more. 

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    Brilliant

    Roddy Doyle is one of Ireland’s best loved authors known for The Commitments and the Booker prize winning Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. He has just recently written a children’s book entitled Brilliant which is about two young children who set out on an adventure to rescue their uncle from the black dog which has stolen Dublin’s funny bone.

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    Dublin- The Making of a Capital City

    By David Dickson (Profile Books)

    From the Viking settlement of ‘Dyflin’ to the Georgian splendour of the ‘second city of Empire’, Dublin has been through many incarnations surviving raids, sieges, famine, rebellion and civil wars. But what was it like to live here at key moments in the city’s history, and what have Dubliners themselves made of their home over the ages? David Dickson, a Professor of History at Trinity College, traces the story of Dublin through the voices of the people in his new book Dublin – The making of a Capital City.

    Can Anybody Help Me?

    By Sinead Crowley (Quercus)

    Turning to your computer for advice on topics from parenting to health is an increasingly popular way for many of sharing information you might not necessarily want to share with family or friends. But what if the people you thought were innocently answering your questions turned out to be killers? Sinead Crowley’s debut novel Can Anybody Help Me?, imagines just such a scenario and joins us today to discuss staying safe in an online world, her experiences of using online parenting forums and writing her first book. 

    Flash Boys: Cracking the Money Code

    By Michael Lewis (Allen Lane)

    Michael Lewis wrote a much publicised Vanity Fair article in 2011 examining what led to Ireland’s financial collapse and why there was a seeming lack of anger among Irish people who had been ‘screwed by their banks and governments’. He has just released a new book outlining how the stock market is rigged to benefit banks and skim from investors, and how the ongoing lack of transparency and understanding of complex financial markets will lead to many more crashes.

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    History of Sport

    We are a country steeped in sport. The sports we play and enjoy today have their roots in a far different era.

    A new book, Sport in Ireland, 1600–1840 isthe first book to examine all the main sports played in Ireland over a nearly 250 year period, from the beginning of the 17th century to the onset of the Famine.

     Its author is James Kelly, Cregan professor of history at St Patrick’s College spoke to Sean about the sporting events of the past.

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    The Temporary Gentleman

    by Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)

    Sebastian Barry is a multi award-winning author who has twice been shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. His latest novel is the sixth book in his cycle of separate yet interconnected novels that re-imagine characters from his own family. His latest book focuses on his maternal grandfather Jack McNulty, an Irishman in the British Army who is a ‘temporary gentleman’ as his commission was never permanent.

    Set in 1957 in Ghana, Jack finds himself lingering on in Africa after working for the UN, and settling down to write the story of his life, more particularly of the great love of it, the girl he meets and marries in his native Sligo in the 1920s, the fascinating Mai Kirwan and their long and painful journey. He joins us today to discuss where the inspiration for his latest novel The Temporary Gentleman came from and how his family has influenced his other work.

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    How To Age

    The life expectancy of the human race is increasing.  With every passing generation, there is the promise of living longer, staying healthy for longer and being around to see not only grandchildren, but great grandchildren.

    But as society becomes more obsessed with fighting wrinkles and denying old age, it might be questioned whether living longer is really a blessing or just a lengthening of the agonising over every grey hair and liver spot.

    Anne Karpf is the author of a new book called ‘How to Age’ and she jspoke to Sean this morning.

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    The Undertaking

    by Audrey Magee (Atlantic Books)

    Audrey Magee has worked as a journalist for 12 years yet two incidents, twenty years apart, were the catalyst for her to write her debut novel, The Undertaking. The first occurred on a visit to Dachau in Germany when she was just 21 and the second incident some 20 years later after a chance encounter with a German man in West Cork who owned a restaurant she was visiting.

    The story follows the lives of two Germans, Peter, a young German soldier during World War II and Katherina, who get married to secure him honeymoon leave from a horrific and raging battle and a widow’s pension for her should he be killed in action. The story follows their lives during and after the war and examines the impact which the Second World War had on ordinary Germans.

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