Summer Reads 2019: Find Out What Fingal Library Staff Are Reading

Summer has finally arrived!  We’ve asked our well read library staff which books they have enjoyed reading over the Summer.  They have chosen a great mix of fiction, non-fiction and a book that won the International Dublin Literary Award 2019.

Summer Reading

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

A.J. Finn’s debut novel, The Woman in the Window, had me hooked from the first till the last page.  A psychological thriller with a woman whose brain is addled for whatever reason – booze, amnesia, medication – witnessed a crime.  Or does she?  Finn’s particular addled woman is Dr Anna Fox, a child psychologist who became severely agoraphobic after a traumatic experience, terrified by “the vast skies, the endless horizon, the sheer exposure, the crushing pressure of the outdoors”.  She lives alone in her New York City home, taking photos of her neighbours and spying on their lives, talking to her estranged husband and daughter on the phone, playing chess and chatting on forums online.  When she hears a bloodcurdling scream from her neighbour’s house, then sees what she believes to be a murder, the police don’t believe her.  Confused and frightened, Anna begins to wonder if she hallucinated the attack.  Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense which I cannot recommend enough. This book is also available to borrow as an eBook on BorrowBox.

How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

Rules for being a man: don’t cry; love sport; play rough; drink beer; don’t talk about feelings. This is a very entertaining read.  Full of humanity and laughter, Robert Webb (Peep Show, Mitchell and Webb) looks back on his childhood, teenage years and early adulthood in a humorous and yet thought provoking style. Along the way, he questions the stereotypes that young men are expected to live up to in society. Needless to say, Robert Webb didn’t manage to fit into any of them.  Full of humanity, the author doesn’t hold back in holding his own flaws up to the light for us all to see. Witty and heart breaking at the same time. Recommended! This book is also available as an audio book on BorrowBox.

Notes To Self by Emilie Pine

The summer read I’ve chosen is the personal essay collection Notes To Self by Emilie Pine. It’s not an easy read but it is an important one. Drawing from her own experiences, she delves into those parts of life that are difficult to talk about and shines floodlights on them. Her father’s alcoholism, her parents’ divorce, her experience of infertility are all laid bare in a raw and honest exploration of how these things affect us here in Ireland today. Even though there were times when I flinched, got angry, wanted to put this down and walk away, I couldn’t. It’s a well-written collection giving one Irish woman’s real and truthful perspective and it’s definitely worth a read.

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

If you’re looking for a quick and entertaining summer read, try The Cows by Dawn O’Porter. The Cows tells a story of three women who lead lives other than what their families or society expects from them. One is a single mother, one is a high-profile blogger determined to never have children, and one is so blinded by grief she will do anything to have a baby. Their lives intertwine in unexpected ways as the story unfolds, and just when you think you know how the story ends, you’ll be left surprised.

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Winner of the International Dublin Literary Award 2019, Idaho is a novel revealing a shocking event that affects a family in rural Idaho and the unravelling of the story concerning Wade, Jenny and their two daughters June and May. We are introduced to Ann in the first section of the book who is Wade’s current wife as she reveals minute pieces of information –real or imagined about this terrible event. She is caught by the past and is held captive in its grip as she tries to make sense of her life with Wade. Strange things happen within the relationship. Grief, loss and memory are themes within the novel. Nature and the isolated landscape are woven into the time frame and create a lonely backdrop. Music also plays a part in this book. Slowly we are allowed to know what actually happened but it is from each character’s point of view so how much of what we know is the truth – how much is conjecture. Jenny’s story is outlined in the second part of the novel and there is a connection years later between Ann and Jenny towards the end of the book. We want to find out more about these characters but some aspects of the story are never revealed. The author holds back certain details of the emotional life of these individuals as it seems too painful to appear on the written page. Yet, the people in this book are portrayed delicately as fragile human beings with their hopes and regrets – their joys and their sorrows. This book is also available as an audio book on BorrowBox.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

A story for the 21st century.  An unnamed country enduring civil unrest. Two young people – Nadia and Saeed meet in a city and begin to fall in love. There are clandestine arrangements because of the threat of violence.  The situation worsens and they find a way to escape through an unusual escape route. Their lives in migration are described in an allegorical way. They seem to represent the modern human problem in the search for a home, food, work, community. The unfolding events and the movement across continents have an impact on their relationship and bring about a change in each of the characters. There are underlying questions within the book which carry the story beyond the characters and into the world where the author frames the problems facing refugees and people displaced in the current global situation. There is a dreamlike quality to the text and the writer could have developed the characters more but the themes explored are universal and the book asks more questions than it answers. This book is also available as an audio on BorrowBox.


A very special thank you to our library staff, Nadene, Yinka, Ann, Amy and Francis for sharing their favourite summer reads for 2019.  We hope you enjoy our selection.

You can borrow/reserve any of the books by calling into your local Fingal Library or alternatively you may wish to reserve the book online by using our Online Library Catalogue.


By the Fingal Libraries Blogging Team