Tell me a good story. And please, please, tell it well.

Good storytellers may not be good writers. Good writers may not be good storytellers. They’re brilliantly boring stylists. But when I find a book that tells me a good story, telling it well without calling attention to its …

Did I become the punchline of bookseller’s joke?

You may have seen the cartoon where a customer comes into a bookstore asking for a book, “I don’t know the title but it has a blue cover.” I wasn’t quite that bad, but I had a definite …

Dublin in a day – by the book?

Dublin’s different now from the days when it was my second home. And not just because of the Covid lockdown fallout. It’s younger – or am I older? Til the 2008 crash it was a great place for …

Modern Times in Dalkey, sans Damon, Enya & Bono

It seems like I was in a galaxy of both a long ago past and a far-away future. I was sitting in a railway station – Dublin’s Connolly – doing what I’ve had a lifetime of practice doing: …

I wasn’t wearing a mask. Neither was she. Were we beyond the Pale?

I was brain dead. My mind was mush after 50+ weeks on the road and even more stores with countless shelves full of books whose titles kept me constantly tilting my head from side to side. Barbara saw …

Blowing in from the beach – and other places, too

There’s something nice about walking along a deserted beach, one that you’re sharing with just a few dogs and their owners. Should I mention that the dogs looked rather joyous when their miserable-looking owners called for them to …

Once upon a time…at a castle near a campus

I was waiting for the traffic signal to change to change when a different light appeared – in my brain, not on the street I was waiting to cross. It wasn’t Maynooth’s classrooms and bookstores that started me …

How do we let in the light?

I was standing on a corner near campus, next to Maynooth’s 13th Century castle. At first I thought it was just an ABC [another bloody castle] until I noticed where its windows used to be. For whatever reasons …

Who do you listen to – your heart or your mind?

I realize it was just a few weeks ago, but it seems like a lifetime – or maybe just a different lifetime – ago. Before social distancing gave me time to start reading all the books I’ve been …

Familiar places, faces and feelings – in places I’d never been before.

Go west, old man – said my list of stores to see and books to buy. So just before we locked ourselves in our homes, I locked the car’s seat belt and hit the road for Kerry and …