Juliana Adelman: I am slowly working my way through my bedside pile of books and I have finally gotten to E.H. Grombrich’s A little history of the world which was a Christmas gift from my husband. It is a wonderful little book, written to be read aloud to children. My favourite part about it, aside from the grandfatherly style, is that modern history takes up an appropriately small portion of the text. A friend forwarded me the link to Worstprofessorever, a blog written by an ex-academic which launched me into the world of bloggers who have fled academia. There is the basis of a very interesting social history of the university in the twenty-first century somewhere in there. Back in the world of history, I have noticed a couple of chances to see some Dublin history on screen, first through the Irish Film Archive‘s screenings of Dublin in the rare oul times at local libraries and second through the promising new programme, The Tenements on TV3, Wednesdays at 930pm. And last but not least, the 20th to the 28th of August is National Heritage Week. Plenty to keep you out of trouble during the dog days of summer.
Lisa Marie Griffith: Considering how disappointing the weather has been perhaps our best bet is to stay in doors, and there are lots of reasons to do so. I have by-passed the large pile of books beside my bed and started reading Sebastian Barry’s new novel On Canaan’s Side as soon as it arrived home from the shop. I am a big fan of Sebastian Barry, especially A Long Long Way. I am keeping my fingers crossed to see if I have won some tickets for the Jameson Cult Film Club screening of Snatch on 9 August at an undisclosed Dublin location. They also have a blog to discuss some of the films that will be screened. This month the IFI are screening a series of films on 6 & 7th of August which focus on the Traveller community in Ireland to coincide with a new documentary on Irish travellers Knuckle. If you are not a documentary fan, then there are some other films to tempt you and a Western Series 24th-28th of August.
Christina Morin: This week I’m heading off to Heidelberg for the 2011 biennial International Gothic Association Conference, and I’m really looking forward both to sharing my love of Gothic fiction with kindred spirits and to having a wander around Heidelberg and its surrounds. I’ve actually managed to finish my paper and an accompanying powerpoint presentation before attending the conference, and, though I imagine I’ll be tweaking things continually throughout the conference, I’m also hoping just to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy all the fascinating papers. My Kindle, of course, will be coming with me, and right now I’m reading for the first time (to my shame!) Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone (1868). I’m sure I’ll come away from the conference with a lengthy to-read list, much as I did from the last conference I attended: the 2011 annual International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures Conference held in Leuven, 18-22 July. In particular, I’m itching to read James McHenry’s O’Halloran; or, the Insurgent Chief, an Irish Historical Tale of 1798 (1824) and Gerald Griffin’s Tales of the Munster Festivals (1826).
Kevin O’Sullivan It’s been a funny month. The distractions of the natural world on a trip to the north-western United States laid my best-made reading plans to rest (see last month’s recommendations). But the experience of man’s (managed) relationship with the wilderness in Wyoming – along with a well-placed gift shop display – did nudge me in the direction of a short history of the region’s human-animal interactions: Alice Wondrak Biel’s Do (Not) Feed the Bears: The Fitful History of Wildlife and Tourists in Yellowstone. While McMurtry and Hemingway lay unread, then, I still managed Anne Enright’s impressive, if hard to love, end-of-the-Tiger novel The Forgotten Waltz, and a transatlantic flight brought me near the end of Tim Flannery’s fascinating new natural history of our planet, Here on Earth: A New Beginning. Highly recommended. Finally, for those of you suffering the withdrawals of a football-free summer, look no further than The Blizzard, a new high-quality periodical that contains some interesting journalistic forays into the game’s past.