The GALWAYnow Recommended Reads Gift Guide

Be it fiction, nonfiction, fantasy or memoir, books give us the gateways we need to travel around the world and experience life through others’ eyes. Here at GALWAYnow we are incredibly passionate about books, and have sought out some of the best new publications for adults and children alike.
Featuring some gorgeous editions from Irish writers, these books are perfect to cosy up with in front of the fire this holiday season, or as a great stocking filler for that someone special.
My Name is Philippa – By Philippa Ryder

My name is Philippa is a beautiful and remarkable memoir, following the life of Philippa Ryder who transitioned from male to female. An incredibly important read for adults of all genders, Philippa leads the reader through a story about love, understanding and family as she offers answers to many of the questions asked about what it means to be transgender. Her life story joins the global march to freedom and empowerment for every gendered human being, as she describes not only the physical but also the emotional process of transition.

Mercier Press – €14.99

How to Cook – By Darina Allen

Darina Allen, of world-renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School, is one of Ireland’s best loved chefs. In her new book, she shows how simple it is to rustle up delicious and nutritious meals using 25 of the most popular staple ingredients that can be found in the home – from eggs and potatoes to tomatoes, rice and pasta. With advice on shopping well, wasting less and the essential equipment every kitchen
needs, Darina shares her lifetime of experience to show you how to cook good food time and time again.

Hachette – €21.99

The Art of Place: People and Landscape of County Clare – Edited by Peadar King and Anne Jones. Photographs by John Kelly.

The Art of Place brings together 31 captivating personal stories by some of the most creative people in Ireland, who all live in or come from County Clare. With a particular emphasis on the role of landscape and environs, their compelling and deeply personal stories will resonate not only with people from the West of Ireland, but with others worldwide who are enthralled by the creative process. This would make a gorgeous and touching gift for someone living away from home, or for the person in your life who loves to be creatively inspired.

Liffey Press – €35

A Cloud Where The Birds Rise – By Michael Harding. Illustrated by Jacob Stack.

In this stunning collaboration, stories and words written by Michael Harding throughout the years are brought to life by illustrator Jacob Stack in an exploration of ordinary moments of Irish life. From the beauty of falling snow, to the pain and love in goodbyes, to the shared lives and deaths of neighbours, and the sweeping landscape of Ireland, A Cloud Where the Birds Rise is a celebration of what it means to love, and live in the beauty of the ordinary, everyday. This edition would make a beautiful gift for those with a love of nature and finding joy in the ordinary.

Hachette – €16.99

Finding Peace – By Sr Stanislaus Kennedy

Featuring writings from prominent personalities like Tommy Tiernan, Miriam O’Callaghan, Ray D’Arcy, and Joe Duffy, Sr Stan has created a beautiful ode to understanding how others bring peace into their everyday lives. Curated during the Covid-19 pandemic, it shows that although it has been an incredibly challenging time, it has also offered an opportunity for individuals to open up to an inner world; a time to find out that there is a human need for something beyond the routine of everyday life.

Columba Books – €16.99

Mythical Irish Wonders – By Mark Joyce

Ireland is well known as a land of storytellers, a tradition that dates back centuries to a time when tales of giants and epic battles were told around the fireplace. While we’re lucky to have a treasure trove of legends and myths, many of these strange and odd stories have been lost over time – until now. In Mark Joyce’s fabulous publication, children and adults alike can discover how Queen Medb was killed by a lump of cheese and how Mad King Sweeney was turned into a bird, among many other legends. This is the perfect gift to share with the younger readers in your life, especially for those who love to share a story before bedtime.

Currach Books – €22.99

Memoir: Belonging – By Catherine Corless, with Naomi Linehan

Catherine Corless is an incredible woman, whose research into the Tuam Mother and Baby Home revealed the tragic death of 800 babies at the Home from 1925-1961, with their remains having been laid in a defunct sewage tank. Her research prompted an outroar around the country and worldwide, leading to a national investigation into the Mother and Baby Homes. Part memoir, part detective story, “Belonging” is Catherine’s account of the personal history that led her to care so deeply about the Tuam babies, and the harshness, cruelty and discrimination the mothers who gave birth there, and their offspring, endured.

Mercier Press – €14.99

Banshee Rising – By Riley Cain

Teenage heroine Caitlyn McCabe can see ghosts! Join her along through the streets of Dublin and across major landmarks of Ireland where an ancient evil is stirring. As Professor Sackimum Brody steps into her life, Caitlyn is plunged towards an impossible truth and a threat to her two worlds. To defeat what is rising from Ireland’s haunted heart, Caitlyn McCabe must face an adventure that is, literally, life and death. Perfect for young fans of action and adventure, Caitlyn’s story will have them guessing at plot twists up until the last moments.

Currach Books, €12.99

For ages 12+.

A Robin’s Tale – By Noelle Rock

In a year of so much loss, A Robin’s Tale is a heartwarming and touching book that aims to ease the difficulty of having a conversation on topics of death and grief with young children. Noelle Rock, a mother of two herself, uses the beautiful robin who visits its family to see their happiness and good health as a symbol, in order to connect with children about mourning and their grief. Not only is it an empathetic way for children to recognise and work through the pain of their loss, but it is suitable for adults who are struggling with bereavement too.

Currach Books – €14.99

For ages 4+

Vetman – By Noel Fitzpatrick

From ‘Supervet’ Noel Fitzpatrick comes his first book for younger readers. Vetman lives in a cottage outside a sleepy English village, where nobody realises that he’s saving animals in incredible, bionic ways – except the animals themselves! But trouble is brewing as Vetman’s old foe, The Man With No Name, has set up camp nearby and plans to poison dogs and cats across the land. When Imogen and Findlay stumble across an injured hedgehog and take him to Vetman’s door, they have no idea that they are about to embark on an important mission to save more than just their spiky new friend. Younger readers with a passion for animals and adventure will fall in love with this story.

Hachette – €12.99

For ages 7+

The Christmas Pig – By JK Rowling, illustrated by Jim Field

A heart-warming, page-turning adventure about one child’s love for his most treasured thing, and how far he will go to find it. With a beautiful hardback package including black and white illustrations from award-winning illustrator Jim Field, it is a tale for the whole family to fall in love with, from one of the world’s greatest storytellers.

Hachette – €20

Ages 8+

Flying on the Inside: A Memoir of Trauma and Recovery by Rachel Gotto

Galway woman Rachel Gotto has released her memoir, Flying on the Inside, a first-hand account of how she overcame the tragic deaths of both her brother and husband and beat her fatal brain tumour diagnosis by undergoing life-threatening surgery. She shares her powerful story of loss, trauma, paralysis, and prescription drug dependency before going on to creating a healthy and successful life in her 50’s. This is a truly inspiring memoir proving that despite the cards you have been dealt, you can still win the game if you really put your mind to it.

Little A – €12.59