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 …

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: …

In the beginning was the word…

OK, there were actually quite a few words in Jennifer O’Connell’s Irish Times piece on the surviving independent bookstores around the country. In the midst of reading reports of stores closing because of chains, online competition and screen-readers …

Are your e-books biodegradable?

Yes, I’m aware of the digital revolution in reading material. But I never wanted or needed its plastic fragility and be-near-a-charger hassle. I’m comfortable in my biodegradable ways. Let’s put aside the pros and cons of readability, affordability …

Should people who buy books online be forced to wear a big red “A”?

Maybe it’s part of my metabolism. I’d rather support local people working in a locally-owned bookstore than the bosses of a minimum-wage slave in a huge warehouse miles away. Damn. If only it were that simple. There are …

What makes a good airport/airplane read?

For me, it’s… Dysfunctional detectives fighting their inner demons, past mistakes, departmental politics and the nominal bad guys before finally getting their man in a bittersweet ending. Just as in our own real life, nothing ever ends totally …

Some people go to church. I go to bookstores.

Do you ever get a special feeling when you go someplace? That sense that says you’re in the right place at the right time? Where things just feel good? For some, it’s the resonance of old churches, their …

Yesterday: autumn leaves drift by my windows. Today: it’s just a screensaver.

The digital revolution has come close to destroying one of my favourite reading haunts – the leave-one/take-one shelf in local coffee shops, small hotels and hostels. For years I’d leave home with one or two books, enough material …