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Ciarán O'Riordan: Home page

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This site hosts information that I want to access from other computers. I've organised it all so that it might help others.

About learning Irish (Gaeilge)


About translation



The rest of this page is about books, mostly fiction


Note: This page contains no spoilers.

Leisure reading. Mostly fiction.

My favourite books

I made these lists because I was trying to work out what kinds of books I like, but when I look at my favourites there's not even two authors that are similar. Joyce and Beckett worked together for a few years, but the books I like from Joyce are from before he met Beckett, and what I like of Beckett is what he wrote after Joyce died and he changed his style. Orwell and O'Flaherty are probably the most similar of the bunch for how they create realistic situations through credible, complex characters, not just the main characters but also the secondary ones. Joyce does this too in Dubliners, but that's a collection of short stories so characters have to be created in very few words, which he does brilliantly. I don't know if he does this in his novels. Beckett and Ingoldsby don't aim for realism. Ryu Murakami not much either. Kawabata's book aimed for realism, but that's not what made it a great book.

Sidenote: What is literature? The best definition I've found so far is that (unlike popular fiction, which focusses on entertainment) literary fiction focusses on social commentary or exploring the human condition (i.e. what it's like to be a person). And when I look at the six novelists in the above list, it seems fairly easy to split them into a group with more focus on social commentary (Joyce, Orwell, R. Murakami) and another with more focus on the human condition (O'Flaherty, Beckett, Kawabata). There's not much I can deduce from this though. The most logical pairings of the six novelists would be the Japs (R. Murakama and Kawabata), the two that worked together (Joyce and Beckett) and the two most similar (O'Flaherty and Orwell), and in each pair one is social commentary and the other is human condition. So I can't say I've a preference for one focus or the other, or that any group is particularly good at writing about one or the other.

Books I liked

Split into "Very good", "Good", and "Just OK".

Very good


Just OK

Books I couldn't recommend to anyone

Most books end up in this category. Reading a book takes a lot of time so you have to be picky.

What I plan to read next

Some books I'm looking forward to reading in the next year or two:

And here are some books that I'll definitely read, but I'm in no rush because discovering new authors gets priority to reading books I know will be good:

And some books I might read:

Authors I will or won't read again

Authors of fiction, split into six categories, with a number in brackets for how many of their books I've read.

I hope to read all their novels

I will definitely read at least two more of their books

I will definitely read at least one more of their books

I will probably read another of their books

I probably won't read more of their books

I expect I will never read another of their books