Thursday, March 17, 2005

These are a few of my favorite Irish-related things...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It took me years to realize that a lot of people use St. Paddy's Day as an excuse to party and get drunk. The day still has happy connotations for me of being a kid in school and making sure I was wearing my green so I wouldn't get pinched. Just in case you forgot to wear green, though, you could also pin on a green construction-paper shamrock!

Now, I use it as an excuse to reflect on my Irish heritage, dream about visiting Ireland someday, and think about some of my favorite Irish-related things.

Maeve Binchy
Favorite Irish author: Maeve Binchy
I believe I've read all of Binchy's books to date, and there's not one I haven't enjoyed. Her breezy, humorous and casual style gives the reader the feeling that you're chatting with a good friend, but don't be fooled--her storytelling ability is impeccable. Among my favorites: Circle of Friends, Tara Road, and Light a Penny Candle.

B.J. Hoff
Favorite author who writes about the Irish: B.J. Hoff
It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I'm a major B. J. Hoff fan. Her Emerald Ballad series hooked me, and I've continued to be impressed by her absorbing tales which often feature Irish immigrants. When asked why, B. J. replied, "Well, who’s more interesting than the Irish, after all? There’s no danger of ever running out of stories about them!

"Seriously, I love writing about the people who built our nation—our ancestors—and there’s really no way to do that without writing about immigrants. And since the Irish immigrants played such a hugely important role in settling America—and since my own family tree is exceedingly 'green—' I chose years ago to focus on Irish characters."

(Click on the titles to read my reviews of B. J.'s Prelude and Cadence.)

Also, check out B.J.'s All Things Irish page on her website for some interesting facts.

AND, go to B.J.'s blog to take an Irish quiz and get the answers.

Book that started my fascination with the Irish:

The Red Knights from Hy Brasil, by Christine Savery. I blogged about finding this beloved childhood book recently. I fell in love with mysterious and charismatic Shane O'Coghlin, one of the book's main characters, and in fact the book began my lifelong love affair with all things Irish.

And finally, a note from St. Patrick himself:

Don of Locusts and Wild Honey gives us some historical facts about St. Paddy today, and even links us to Patrick's own testimony.

By the way, Northern Illinois is definitely NOT wearing its green today, as we're getting a late-late winter snowfall. Bummer...but hopefully it will melt quickly.

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