Gill Books - Reading Matters



Books to read on a train (or while travelling)

25-05-2016 13:32

As every book lover knows, there is nothing like taking sanctuary in a good book while travelling on your morning commute to work. It’s even better when you are travelling for leisure, safe in the knowledge that even more great books are waiting to be read at your final destination.

We’ve selected seven books that will appeal to anyone who is taking a journey - from the work weary commuter to the enthusiastic holiday maker. A word of warning: try not to become so engrossed that you miss your stop or connecting flight!



A Taste of Love

A Taste of Love – Theodora Fitzgibbon


Exploring the lives and loves of Theodora Fitzgibbon in her two volume autobiography, A Taste of Love, will pass the time nicely on any number of journeys. The Irish Times food writer, Theodora, had a bohemian appetite for love, pleasure, good food and adventure that took her all over the globe until she died, in Dublin, in 1991. She lived her life to the maximum wearing a number of different hats along the way: actress, model, muse, adventurer, food writer and a true modern woman.

While she struggled as an actress in 1903’s Paris she kept the company of creative minds like Dali, Picasso, Cocteau and Balthus and had an affair with photographer Peter Rose Pulham. She escaped wartime Paris to live in London during the Blitz. Here she ran in circles with Dylan and Caitlin Thomas, Augustus John, Francis Bacon, Shane Leslie and Soviet spy Donald Maclean. Living life lavishly when she could and making do with scraps more often than not. Her tales of wartime London capture what it was like not know if a night was your last and how pubs were frequented for craving the company of others not booze fuelled nights.This book is highly entertaining and gives a delicious taste of the many wonderful lives, loves and adventures that the witty and charming Theodora Fitzgibbon had.



Rule BreakersRule Breakers - Niamh Hourigan


Getting to grips with the state of the nation and the economic crash is a great way to get the brain moving on the morning commute. In Rule Breakers Niamh Hourigan explores the Irish political psyche of why ‘being there’ trumps ‘being fair’ in Ireland. Niamh makes the

point that our hypocritical ways mean we avoid or bend the rules when it suits us. As a society we favour ‘minding our own’ over ‘doing what we’re told’.

Niamh applies this conflict of interest to the recent economic crash, the ongoing Irish Water debacle, political cronyism to show that our weak rules in regulating insider intimacy amongst elites is getting us in trouble.

Rule Breakers is a must read for anyone reflecting on the difficult period we are coming out of as a country and asking if we will ever learn from past mistakes so we can have a better future.





Counting My BlessingsFrancis Brennan’s Guide to Happiness: Counting My Blessings

If you need a pick me up on your travels, Counting My Blessings by Francis Brennan will make you smile. This second book follows the success of It’s the Little Things, one of the bestselling books of 2014. Counting My Blessings is Francis’ take on how to be happy by way of his memoir. Francis is renowned for his positive outlook. Through his life story he shows how he has faced his life’s many challenges with a positive outlook which has allowed him to overcome his toughest times.

Full of warm and witty anecdotes, Francis Brennan reveals how counting his blessings has sustained him in life - his family, career, travel, friendships, spirituality, home life and public life. He also wants to spread the message that happiness is the most important gift you can give yourself and offers his happiness hints that everyone can use to help them appreciate the blessings in their life and take the focus off difficulties. By sharing how he has dealt with the ups and downs of his life, he shows that happiness is something you choose, rather than it choosing you. A great read for anyone needing some positivity in their life.




IrishologyIrishology – Ronan Moore

If you’re looking for a great laugh on your travels, Irishology is the perfect companion especially if you are travelling to foreign lands. Full of anecdotes including the medicinal purpose of flat 7up to the minor miracles performed by a prayer to St. Anthony, Irishology celebrates everything we love about Ireland. It’s an irreverent and nostalgic guide to things you’ll only see, hear, taste, experience and remember in Ireland. While we may be a nation of messers and begrudgers, we’ll always have a soft spot for our land of sunny spells and scattered showers.

For anyone who flashes their lights when there’s a speed van ahead, has had a candle lit for them at mass, goes ‘out-out’ at the weekend, or still remembers the rules of Tip the Can and the taste of HB Ice-Pops, this book will have you laughing your way to a degree in Irishology.






Until Victory AlwaysUntil Victory Always - Jim McGuinness

Looking for something inspirational to kick-start your day? Look no further than the classic Until Victory Always by former Donegal All-Ireland winning manager Jim McGuinness written in tandem with Keith Duggan, Chief Sports Writer at The Irish Times.

McGuinness sent a shockwave through Gaelic games in 2011 when he took over as manager of the Donegal senior football team. Devising an approach which polarised opinion and forced fans, players and managers alike to look at the game differently, his Donegal side would, over the course of the next four seasons, win three Ulster championships and contest two All-Ireland finals, emerging victorious from their 2012 clash with Mayo to claim the county’s first senior All-Ireland Championship in two decades. This book is a moving, honest and reflective take on the nature of sportsmanship, dedication and true leadership.






Don’t Die in AutumnDon’t Die in Autumn - Eric Dempsey

Thinking of pursuing your dreams? The debut book Don’t Die in Autumn by Eric Dempsey might just be the book that helps you make the leap. Eric is mad about birds. In fact, they have changed his whole life. For him, the death of a close friend crystallised something in his mind: life is too short not to spend it doing something you love. Aged 40 and gainfully employed in a secure, pensionable job, he threw it all away to follow his passion for birdwatching and set off on the adventure of a lifetime.

In his remarkable memoir he recalls innocent childhood days in Dublin spent looking to the sky, instructing his parents not to die in autumn (it’s the best time for birdwatching) and mad-cap adventures that would see him getting caught in army fire and cheating death on ‘the roof of the world’ in Tibet – all in pursuit of rare birds. Some people spend all their life dreaming of following their passion. Eric Dempsey’s memoir reveals a life all the more rewarding for doing so.






The Happy ClosetThe Happy Closet - Annmarie O’Connor

Want to be productive with your travel time? A bit of practical closet therapy might just be the solution. The Happy Closet by Annmarie O’ Connor will help you transform your wardrobe (and your mind) into an organised and clutter-free space, ensuring you dress for the person you are today and never again utter the ill-fated words, ‘I have nothing to wear’.

In this inspirational book you’ll find out how to move past the unconscious hoarding patterns in your personality. You will learn how to go from collecting rails of clothes you rarely wear to shopping effectively and building a wardrobe that works for you, whatever your lifestyle. Once your clothes are in order you will feel more confident, more in control and less anxious.

This is a book for anyone who has ever wanted to have more with less. Get ready. It’s time to create a happy closet!





We hope our selection will make your travel time feel like no time at all. Happy travels and most importantly, happy reading!

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