NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

ST. PATRICK'S DAY









     It’s St. Patrick’s Day in my home town of New York City and on-lookers crowd 5th Avenue in celebration. You don’t have to be of Irish extraction—the parade in honor of St. Patrick is enjoyed by all of us. Shamrock green berets, coats, sweaters and ties are worn and snacks of cupcakes decorated with green icing, scones, Irish Soda Bread, and green bagels are devoured. Dinner, of course, is corned beef and cabbage. (It’s also the day of my mother’s birth and its always been a special day in my family—I’m sure the Saint would not mind sharing.)
     In honor of the day, I thought we might talk about all the authors Ireland has gifted to the world. St. Patrick, himself, led a life that reads like a tale of adventure. Born in Britain—ruled by Rome in the late 4th century A.D., he was seized by pirates as a fourteen-year old and brought to Ireland where he was enslaved and given the task of shepherding sheep. During the six years, he spent as a slave, he dedicated himself to spiritual development and, after hearing a voice telling him a ship was waiting, he fled and made his way to a port 200 miles away. After many quests, he returned to his home and family. He later went back to Ireland as a Christian missionary.
     Legends claim St. Patrick explained the Holy Trinity with the aid of a three-leafed plant—the shamrock—a symbol of his day. He is also said to have banished all the snakes of Ireland--banished when they attacked him during a 40-day fast and driven into the sea.
     Many folk tales of ancient Ireland were written by the Irish author Lady Gregory in two books—her forward was by W.B. Yeats. Then there are James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and four men who won the Noble Prize for Literature. W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney and George Bernard Shaw.

     Today we have a cavalcade of fine authors. Romance—there’s Colm Toiben the author of Brooklyn. A book with people who stepped from the page bringing me hours of enjoyment. I was sorry when I reached the last page. The solution—read more of his work.
     Small town life in Ireland with its romance, emotions, pleasures and troubles was introduced to me by Maeve Binchy. Think of Circle of Friends and Firefly Summit.
     Into Gothic thrillers? Bram Stoker’s Dracula—scary and a must-read for generation after generation. In Gaelic, I learned, the phrase “Droch Ola” means bad blood.
     Mysteries—Tana French who won the Anthony, Barry and Macavity awards for best first novel and gives us many hours of engrossing, psychological spell-binders. Then there’s William John Granville who wrote the literary book The Sea and, as Benjamin Black, the best-selling Christine Falls and The Silver Swan, and P.D. James who features the poet Adam Dalgliesh in her crime novels. No wonder our bookcases are crammed, our night tables over-flowing and our eBooks everywhere.
     Which books by Irish authors fill your shelves?

5 comments:

Anne Marie Becker said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! :) I do remember reading Maeve Binchy, and really enjoying her books. It's been years! Thanks for taking me back. :D

Elise Warner said...

And a Happy St. Patrick's to you, Anne Marie.

jean harrington said...

Oh, St. Patrick's Day. Every year, my Irish mother-in-law(from County Cork)and I would celebrate by going to a special Mass in St. Pius Church near Providence College. The Mass featured classic Irish music (no Danny Boy or Galway Bay), and afterward we would go out for dinner. Then I'd go home to watch a rerun of The Quiet Man. I miss those times. Thanks, Elise, for helping me to celebrate in retrospect.

Toni Anderson said...

Wonderful post, Elise! I love Binchy and Tana French.
I'm married to an Irishman who's always a bit bamboozled by how everyone else celebrates St Patrick's Day. Just don't say "Patty's Day" to him, as it drives him crazy

Elise Warner said...

Jean:

WQXR played classic Irish music today. Lovely.

Toni:

Guess it begins in school with your Irish schoolmates and friends wearing green and falling in love with Ireland when you vacation there.

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