Juliana Adelman Since the weather has been just right for reading in the sun, we should all remember to support the last remaining bookshops by buying books locally. Hodges Figgis in Dublin currently have a 3 for 2 sale of paperback titles from Vintage. For Christmas my mother gave me a DVD of the series Circus from PBS and I have just gotten round to watching it. It’s a documentary following the Big Apple Circus for one year. I think the first 3 episodes are the best, but it is a fascinating watch. The circus is one of those institutions that has changed remarkably little in its essence over the centuries. You can also see one of Ireland’s oldest circuses by visiting Fossett’s, check here for tour dates. If you missed hearing Pue’s on The History Show last night, you can find the podcast here. And finally, I helped to curate the current exhibition at the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin called HUMAN+. I tried to get at least a teeny bit of history in, but mostly there are some amazing takes on what our future might be like.
Lisa Marie Griffith Last Monday ‘Kathleen Lynn: Revolutionary Doctor’ aired on TG4. Once again TG4 have proved they are at the fore of historical documentaries in Ireland. The documentary was a good reminder of how truly extraordinary people at the centre of historic events can be dropped from the established historical narrative. If you missed it you can catch up on the TG4 website. I have also been enjoying the BBC 4 series ‘If walls could talk: The History of the Home’ which is hosted by Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces. I am currently gathering books for my summer holidays and will have to add the book that accompanies the series to the pile that will be coming with me. My blog for the month is the Royal College of Physicians Heritage blog which is written by their Heritage Centre Librarian, Harriet Whelock. The blog uses a lot of college sources and highlights the wealth of material which the RCPI houses. It shows how the institution was at the centre of Irish intellectual life but the blog has really interesting posts on social history like this post on the recipe book of Countess Aldborough.
Christina Morin With my parents heading over to Ireland for a visit this month, I’m full of ideas, many of them selfish, for what to see and do. Although both Mom and Dad have already seen much of Dublin, I think it might be fun to try out Temple Bar Cultural Trust‘s Dublin Culture Trail app. I’m also tempted by a trip to the Abbey Theatre for a Public Reading of John Bull’s Other Island by George Bernard Shaw on Wednesday, 11 May, or else a look in at some of the events planned during the Dublin Writers Festival 2011 (23-29 May). And, as my parents have never ventured up north, it might be worthwhile checking out some of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast (2-31 May). Whatever we end up doing, I’m planning to tote along with me a book that makes such fantastic claims in its title alone that I can’t wait to read it… Judith Flanders’ The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime.
Kevin O’Sullivan I’ve been in a literary kind of mood this month. First I was directed to See Gee’s ‘Record Books’ project on Flickr – take a famous album title and make an imaginary book cover for it – which reminded me of Phil Bradley’s brilliant posters that accompany the ‘Save our Libraries’ campaign in the UK. Then I read Christopher Bray’s fascinating article on how writers write (published in this month’s edition of The Word magazine and aptly titled ‘First apply the seat of the trousers to the surface of the chair’), had a look at these photos of famous authors and their typewriters, and was much taken by Ruadhán MacCormaic’s portrait of French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, one of the few remaining bastions of traditional investigative journalism. The message? Quality always wins. And finally, I came across a piece of inspirational thinking from Harvard Book Store, an independent bookseller serving the university community and beyond in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s a bookseller with a twist, of course, because since 2008 the store has been printing on-demand for customers from its Espresso Book Machine – including the four million or so texts on Google Books. $10 for a 200-page book and you can still browse the shelves if you’re not sure what you want? Clever idea. Why isn’t everyone doing this?