Hurray for a new Maeve Binchy book!

bookToday is an exciting day—it’s the US release of Maeve Binchy’s newest book: Minding Frankie!

Maeve Binchy is my favorite writer for grownups.  Her books about everyday Irish life immerse you in a world that feels utterly real.  Maeve’s style is very slice-of-life, but by the end of each book, you will be shocked at how much has happened.

Binchy’s most famous books are Circle of Friends and Tara Road, both of which were made into movies.  (Read the books first.)  Circle of Friends is about college students in 1950s Dublin, focusing on two girls from a small Irish town, each unaware of their own families’ secrets and tragedies.  Tara Road is about two heartbroken women, one Irish and one American, who trade houses for the summer.  In both books, you know the characters’ friends and family for over a decade.  Peeking through those Irish lace curtains reveals some interesting hidden motives that drive irresistable page-turning plots.

What does this have to do with education?  I believe that reading Maeve Binchy’s books can teach you more about human nature than you could ever learn in a lifetime of just living.  Because Maeve Binchy uses third person omniscient point of view, you can delve into the hearts and minds of people you’d like to meet in real life.  Read enough of her books and you’ll start to predict the actions of the people in your life quite accurately.  Very useful for a teacher!  (Or anyone, really.)

Minding Frankie, Maeve Binchy’s newest book, continues a saga of books about two neighborhoods in Dublin: Tara Road and St. Jarlath’s Crescent.  It’s so interesting to see characters who starred in their own books figure as background characters in a new story.  It’s like being part of a village—an almost unimaginable experience for this Air Force brat!

All of Maeve Binchy’s books are wonderful, but my favorites are her modern books with interlacing characters.

Tara Road: two women trade houses for the summer

Evening Class: lives of students and staff intertwine in an evening Italian language class

Scarlet Feather: two likeable young people start a catering company—and discover that the food is the easy part!

Quentins: while facing a huge scandal, Ella Brady creates a documentary about Quentins, a restaurant that embodies the spirit (and social lives) of modern Dublin

Nights of Rain and Stars: (set in Greece—but some characters appear in Heart and Soul)

Heart and Soul: the dramatic lives of patients and staff at a heart clinic

Minding Frankie: a neighborhood cares for a baby

For a complete list of Maeve Binchy’s works, visit her website or her Amazon page.

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Posted in Book Reviews by Corey Green @ Mar 1, 2011


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