Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! I thought it would be fun to do a post about my favorite Irish authors today because… well… authors are awesome! (What further justification do I need?!) So, without further ado, here are some thoughts about my favorite Irish writers!
C.S. Lewis spent much of his life in England, but he was born in Belfast and the little bit of research I did for this post ended up providing me with amusing quotes from him such as, “The strange English accents with which I was surrounded seemed like the voices of demons… I have made up the quarrel since, but at that moment I conceived a hatred for England which took many years to heal.” Dude. Demons, really?
Anyway, I adore his Chronicles of Narnia – whether you read them as an adventure story or as Christian allegory (or both!), they’re amazing. I also enjoyed The Screwtape Letters, an epistolary novel about a junior devil trying to damn a young man, and his uncle-the-senior-devil giving him advice. SERIOUSLY BRILLIANT STUFF. I cannot even. Wow.
And what about Jonathan Swift? He’s cool, too. Reading his essay “A Modest Proposal” will make you seem very highbrow ’cause you’re reading a CLASSIC, and it’ll also make you laugh. It’s a satirical piece about eating children and, like… it’s gross but also hilarious because of his writing style. Check it out!
And while I’m at it, I should mention Gulliver’s Travels. Now, the purists might shoot me for saying this, but I really do think that this is one of the few classics that you can go ahead and read in abridged format, if old-fashioned writing freaks you out. Because his word choices aren’t the best/most important part here – it’s the weird, weird fantasy worlds Swift created that are the best parts of this novel.
And it’s another satire, to boot, because this dude was just that awesome.
AND NOW IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT OSCAR WILDE. Oscar Wilde, peoples. I have
been looking forward to writing THIS part of the post all day because he was just such an awesome dude. Like, I think a reasonable life goal of mine is “becoming the female, modern-day equivalent of Oscar Wilde”? Here are the steps I’m taking to accomplish this:
- Be Irish. Somewhat accomplished – thanks for those genes, Mom.
- Be absolutely freaking hilarious. I’m doing my best with this. I WANT TO BE A HUMOR WRITER WHEN I GROW UP.
- Be astonishingly, amazingly gay. Working hard to achieve this. (Help me out by sending pictures of Hayley Atwell? [Becomes distracted thinking about Hayley Atwell’s lips and collarbones and…] Sdjghsdkfhgsfkhdf. Sorry, where was I? What was I saying? Mmmmm, Hayley Atwell…)
- Be a published author whose works are read all over the world. Um. Someday, hopefully…
But, you know, hopefully I’ll avoid a tragic ending like his? That would be nice. I don’t want to imitate him that much.
Basically I will recommend Oscar Wilde’s books to ALL THE PEOPLE EVER because he is brilliant. And witty. And his stories make me laugh until my sides hurt. Try The Importance of Being Earnest or the slightly darker (and infinitely gayer) The Picture of Dorian Gray. (Seriously, the dude who paints Dorian’s picture spends sooooo much time looking at it and commenting on how attractive he is and dude wow you have it really really bad for him.)
And I couldn’t possibly pick only one Oscar Wilde quote to be my ALL-TIME favorite, but the following is ONE of my favorites: “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”
(Want more Wilde quotes? Check my blog’s tagline; there’s another.)
Now, my favorite Irish writer whose books are actually set in Ireland is… Derek Landy, of course. He wrote the astonishingly funny Skulduggery Pleasant YA fantasy series. The first book in that series won the title of Best Irish Book of the Decade (2000-2010), and I think that was very well deserved. The series is about a walking, talking, wise-cracking, fireball-throwing, impeccably-well-dressed skeleton detective and his teenage sidekick, and takes place in and around Dublin. AND IT’S UTTERLY FANTASTIC. Definitely one of the best series I read last year – or in a long time, for that matter.
Also, St. Patrick’s Day actually becomes an important date as the series progresses, which is also fantastic. Skulduggery complains that “everyone has a story about what Christmas means to them, but no one tells you their feelings about St. Patrick’s Day,” for a start.
By the way, my future college – the University of Iowa – has a study abroad session called the Irish Writing Program and WOW I REALLY REALLY WANT TO GO TO IT. A month and a half in Dublin, learning about authors and writing and all that jazz? Yes please. I hope to make that dream a reality someday!
And last but not least: This is only marginally related to the rest of this post, but Ireland temporarily banned heterosexuality and legalized drugs by accident this week and I’M LAUGHING SO HARD. WHAT A COUNTRY. WHAT A GREAT COUNTRY. Can I move there? I don’t care about the drug thing, but can we put a picture of Oscar Wilde on the flag now, please?
What even is Ireland? Is Ireland even real?
Who are your favorite Irish writers? I’d love to know!