Top Ten Holiday Reads

With the Summer looking like it’s finally here, and we mean the Real Summer, we’re all on the lookout for something to cosy up with by the pool, on the beach or just in your own back yard. To make it easier we’ve compiled our recommendations for your 2022 Holiday Reads. Please note, if you are flying from Dublin Airport we recommend something a little heavier, perhaps Infinite Jest or starting Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series? They should see you through most of the security queue!

1. Violeta – Isabel Allende

Bonus points if you’re visiting Chile! This is the newest from Isabel Allende, the Sunday Times bestselling author of A Long Petal of the Sea. It’s the epic story of Violeta del Valle, a woman whose life spans one hundred years, leaving her witness to some of the greatest upheavals and events of the twentieth century. Allende’s novels have a way of pulling you in and giving you a front row seat in the lives of the people she writes about, so prepare to be spirited away.



2. Idol – Louise O’Neill

This one should be on every list. It is a brilliant, timely examination of cancel culture and the echo chamber that is social media, exquisitely weaved together by Louise O’Neill. This is an intense read and it will keep you guessing right until the end proving that no two people have the same memory of an event. There is a high chance you’ll finish this before you even arrive at your destination. It’s that good.



3. Duffy and Son – Damien Owens

Described as ‘a funny and heart-warming novel which celebrates the messiness of ordinary lives’, Duffy and Son is a quietly moving masterpiece from one of Ireland’s most gifted comic writers. Eugene Duffy is turning 70; his son Jim is turning 40. For decades now, they’ve been running the family hardware shop and living in good-natured bachelor harmony. But now, Eugene is growing increasingly concerned about his son’s future. He resolves to help in the best way possible: by finding Jim a wife. And he’s not going to let anyone—let alone Jim himself—stand in his way. If you’re looking for something uplifting that’ll give you some real laughs then this is it.



4. The Queen of Dirt Island – Donal Ryan

You’ll have to wait a little bit to pack this one in your suitcase, it’s not out until August, but anything from this multi-award-winning author is most definitely worth the wait. Queen of Dirt Island is being described as “a searing, jubilant story about four generations of women and fierce love.” It’s based around the Aylward women of Nenagh, Tipperary and we are certain you will soon be hooked on Donal Ryan’s often heart achingly beautiful prose.



5. Brouhaha – Ardal O’Hanlon

This book is perfect for staycation or if you’re missing a bit of smalltown Ireland. This razor-sharp, violent and darkly comic book is the second novel from Ardal O’Hanlon and it’s really good! It tells the story of Dove Connolly, who is dead and has left strange clues in a graphic novel he left behind. Comedy-Crime is a hard genre to crack but Mr O’Hanlon seems to have a very good grip on it and with some serious laugh out loud moments, it’s a decent choice to have in your carry-on.


6. A Mother’s Heart – Carmel Harrington

This is another book that will draw you in. It is a gripping family drama filled with tragedy, heartbreak, love and hope. A perfect recipe for a beach read. The story follows Rachel whose husband Lorcan dies in a tragic accident leaving her with two stepchildren and the extended family that comes with them. This is an all-round, beautiful summer read.



7. The Guest List – Lucy Foley

Bit of an oldie at this stage, but my God, what a banger! On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year. It has everything – old friends, past grudges, happy families, hidden jealousies, thirteen guests and one body. What more do you need?


8. Cloud Cuckoo Land – Anthony Doerr

Another one from 2021 that we probably could not enjoy on our holidays as we had none. From the author who gave us All The Light We Cannot See – who still doesn’t think about that French attic with its transistor? This is a hefty one, so best for the longer breaks. The book itself is a century-spanning yarn made up of seemingly unconnected stories that slowly and satisfyingly snap into place. Cloud Cuckoo Land brings together an unforgettable cast of dreamers and outsiders from past, present and future to offer a vision of survival against all odds and proves that when all is lost, it really is our stories that survive.



9. The Maid – Nita Prose

This New York Times bestseller is another one you won’t want to put down. It’s about Molly, a maid in the Regency Grand Hotel who discovers a guest dead in their room and becomes embroiled in the hunt for the killer. It is beautifully written and you’ll find yourself thinking about the characters long after you’ve finished. The rights are sold across numerous territories so it is probably coming to a streaming network near you soon.



10. Breaking Point – Edel Coffey

You might be an emotional wreck towards the end of this, but it will be totally worth it. One mistake could cost her everything. Susannah, the main character, seems to have it all – two beautiful daughters, a high-flying medical career, a successful husband and an enviable life until a devastating mistake grinds all this to a fatal halt. She is put on trial for negligence and a media witch hunt ensues. The reflections of our own society in this can be scary but it really is something you’ll want to ingest as quickly as you can!