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    Mary Portas - Shop Girl

    She’s the flame-haired, straight-talking retail expert who transformed the fortunes of Harvey Nichols as well as campaigning to save the high street.

    Her BBC series, Mary Queen of Shops, elevated failing businesses to the modern age and she was made a high-street star by the Tory party.

    But she is also the woman who held her family together after her mother’s death and is now a poster-woman for same-sex marriage and her new series, Secret Shopper, is running on Channel 4 on Tuesday nights.

    Shop girl by Mary Portas is published by Doubleday.

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    Book: Tips from Widows

    For many people, the death of a partner comes suddenly and without warning. When Jan Robinson’s husband died, she found herself at a loss as to what to do – how to organise a funeral, her husband’s money affairs, and, later, how to cope with crying and talking to children and grandchildren about her late husband.

    She ended up writing a book called Tips From Widows, which is a collection of wisdom from other widows she met and spoke to during the grieving process.

    Dr Valerie Bresnihan, a widow of four years, has been reading the book for us.

    TIPS FROM WIDOWS by Jan Robinson is published by Bloomsbury

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    Alistair Campbell

    Blair adviser Alistair Campbell on what popliticians can learn from sport.

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    Book: A Time For Friends

    She’s the doyenne of Irish women’s fiction, having kickstarted the publishing boom in Ireland with her City Girl trilogy. She has just published her 18th novel, and it’s called A Time For Friends. 

    A Time For Friends spans a period of great change in Ireland, moving from pre- to post-boom.Patricia Scanlan joined Sean in studio this morning.

    A Time For Friends by Patricia Scanlan is published by Simon and Schuster at €14.99.

    Connect with Patricia on her Facebook page.

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    Jeffrey Archer

    He’s a former deputy chairman of the Conservative party, he’s been rich, and almost bankrupt. He’s been in prison, and he’s sold an estimated 240 million copies of his novels worldwide.

    He is the Tory peer Jeffrey Archer and he joined Sean in studio having just published his latest novel, Mightier Than The Sword, the fifth instalment in your Clifton Chronicles. 

    Mightier Than The Sword by Jeffrey Archer is published by Pan MacMillan and is priced at €17.99.

    Book Club 'Wonder' by R.J Palacio

    This month we are reading Wonder, written by R.J Palacio.

    August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial difference that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now.

    Read along and let us know what you thought by emailing TodaySOR@rte.ie with Book Club in your subject.

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    The Girl On The Train

    Time for our montly book club and this month our selection is The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins.

    Reading it for us were author John Connolly,  former minister for education Mary O’Rourke, author and columnist with teh Irish Examiner, Michael Clifford and Justine McCarthy, columnist with the  Sunday Times.

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    Alexander McQueen Blood Beneath the Skin

    Alexander McQueen was one of the most controversial fashion designers of his generation. He sent Gwyneth Paltrow in a see-through blouse to the Oscars, sprayed models with paint on the catwalk and was always ready to shock while producing the most exquisitely tailored, powerful clothes. He was also a tormented soul, never far away from the dark side.

    He died tragically in February 2010. Blood beneath the Skin is a new biography of Alexander McQueen written by Andrew Wilson who joined Sean from London.

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    Book: Late Fragments: Everything I want to tell You

    Kate Gross was an ambitious young woman when she was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 34. In her 20s, she was the youngest ever advisor to Tony Blair, and in her 30s she went on to set up her own charity in Africa, and she also got married and gave birth to twin sons. 

    Kate’s last gift was to write her memoir, Late Fragments, so her sons could one day discover who their mother was. She died at home on Christmas day in 2014.  

    Joining me now from our Cambridge studios is Kate’s mother, Jean Gross. Good morning Jean and thank you for joining us this morning.

    Late Fragments: Everything I want to tell you (about this magnificent life) by Kate Gross is published by William Collins Books, priced at €19.99.

    Read Kate's blog here

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    Book: The Utopia Experiment

    We’ve all wondered at one time or another, what the world would be like after some apocalyptic event. It’s long been the stuff of science fiction.  Who would survive, where would they live and would they be able to rebuild society and our culture as was, or would they retreat to a hunter/gatherer state?  Less than a decade ago, Dylan Evans decided to sell his house, quit his job and launch what he dubbed the Utopia Experiment.  In the Scottish Highlands he and his fellow volunteers would live a primitive existence in the wild as if they had survived such a cataclysmic global event.  His book also called The Utopia Experiment is the story of what happened.

    He joined Sean from our BBC studio.

    Today with Sean O'Rourke

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