BURNING BOOKS…ON PAPER
In the companion series to our popular podcast, Burning Books, Sarah-Anne Buckley tells Ruth McKee which books she would save if her house was on fire.
Dr. Sarah-Anne Buckley is co-author of the best-selling Old Ireland in Colour 2, out now with Merrion Press.
If your house was on fire, what books would you save from the flames?
A book from your early days?
I read as much as I could when I was younger, Enid Blyton is my earliest memory of reading a series on my own, torch on at night so I wouldn’t wake my sister (and I was meant to be asleep!).
But I also have lovely memories of going to the local library in Cobh and just thinking it was so amazing we could pick any 2 books from our section. Nothing was as good as Twas the Night Before Christmas being read to us on Christmas Eve.
A book you return to over the years?
Are You Somebody, by Nuala O Faolain (New Island).
We have so many amazing Irish female authors, I have needed their humour, empathy and at times self-deprecation over the years.
The right book at the right time?
As You Were, by Elaine Feeney (Harvill Secker).
As a woman in my 30s, with all the complications of life, family, being a woman and work, and add in a pandemic: necessary reading.
A book that had a big impression?
Flowers in the Attic, by Virginia Andrews (Harper Collins).
When I was 15, I also found Flowers in the Attic on a chair in an airport and I remember being so affected by it—I’ve never forgotten reading it.
A book that makes you laugh?
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, and anything by Maeve Binchy or Roddy Doyle.
A book you associate with a particular life event
I have written about my experience of recurrent miscarriage in the past, but I remember reading I Found my Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice around that time and I had started sea swimming and it gave me comfort.
Your own work that you would save or leave to burn
I would probably leave the current draft of an article I’m writing in the flames!
A book you are reading now
I just read Sally Rooney’s new novel and loved it. Am currently reading How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones.
You can save one non-book item: what is it?
Item wise, it has to be the glasses as, the older I get, I’m pretty sure the books are pointless without them.