Hauntingly Penetrating Stories – Dinosaurs on Other Planets by Danielle McLaughlin

dinosaursDinosaurs on Other Planets: Stories by Danielle McLaughlin
Published in the US on August 9th 2016 (UK in 2015)
Penguin Random House
Source: ARC from Random House via Netgalley

“In a raw seacoast cabin, a young woman watches her boyfriend go out with his brother, late one night, on a mysterious job she realizes she isn’t supposed to know about. A man gets a call at work from his sister-in-law, saying that his wife and his daughter never made it to nursery school that day. A mother learns that her teenage daughter has told a teacher about problems in her parents’ marriage that were meant to be private—problems the mother herself tries to ignore. McLaughlin conveys these characters so vividly that readers will feel they are experiencing real life. Often the stories turn on a single, fantastic moment of clarity—after which nothing can be the same.” Source: Penguin Random House



I had the privilege of traveling to Ireland just over a month ago. Alas, when I returned, as these things go, my Netgalley request for Dinosaurs on Other Planets, a beautiful debut short-story collection by a budding Irish author, was approved. Having just spent a few days imbibing the soulful atmosphere of Dublin and the melancholy of the fertile but sparsely inhabited countryside of County Cork, I was especially appreciative of McLaughlin’s portrait of Ireland in transition. (more…)

Bookish Adventures: A Romanian Meets Dracula… [Stepping into Dublin’s Literary Tradition]

I traveled to Dublin last week for Spring Break (read my first post on library-hopping in Dublin), and decided to make this my first literary-themed vacation when I found out I was visiting a UNESCO City of Literature. Previously, I wrote about my top 3 favorite  libraries, but I spoke too soon – for, on my last day there, I  had the absolute most amazing experience at Marsh’s Library, the first public library in Dublin established in the early 18th century.

marsh library collage

The photo in the right-hand corner is of a post-card; no cameras allowed inside!

The building is hidden beyond an alleyway of gorgeous greenery (even more beautiful in the spring), and hides in the shadow of the magnificent St. Patrick’s cathedral, which is steps away. So it doesn’t get many visitors, and the majority of those who tread up the steps decide not to pay the €3 entrance fee when they arrive. Which was a boon for me, because I got the librarians all to myself.

And WOW – just WOW. I had the pleasure of speaking with the curator of the current exhibition (The Rising Centennial Celebratory theme of course, as pretty much everything else in Dublin last week – ‘1916: Tales from the Other Side‘) as well as with two (more…)

Bookish Adventures: Library Hopping in Dublin, UNESCO ‘City of Literature’

It’s that time of year – with something like 4 weeks left before AP Exams,  with my seniors in major “senioritis” mode, with spring air in general stifling my students’ motivation to work – and with me majorly  freaking out about everything from a decline in homework completion to [fill in the blank with anything AP Calc related].

Thankfully, it’s also the time of year for Spring Break – and it couldn’t have come at a better time for my poor darlings, because I was really getting to be a bit too much there (huge Spring-Break Packet worth of too much, bless their hearts). Anyway, at first I was going to stay home, sleep, and enjoy the greenery in my new neighborhood outside of the City, but then several things happened: I got a sudden and irrepressible urge to just get out,  DC got waay too hot for my liking (we had almost hit 90F one day before I left), and then I found a cheap direct flight NORTH to a place that promised 40F-degree weather,  and that isn’t a hugely popular destination this time of year (so everything was easy and relatively cheap to book, even at the last minute). (more…)