‘Clare Reads’ initiative announced

‘Clare Reads’ initiative announced


Clare County Library has announced details of ‘Clare Reads’, a new initiative that encourages reading for pleasure.

Clare Reads aims to encourage everyone in Clare to read a designated book connected with the county during the month of February. This is a new project for Clare County Library and is part of both the ‘Ireland Reads’ and ‘Keep Well’ campaigns. The designated book is This Is Happiness by Niall Williams.

Helen Walsh, Clare County Librarian, said: “On behalf of Clare County Library service, I am delighted to have the opportunity of promoting this wonderful book by Niall Williams. The title alone is enough to spur anyone to open the first page and read. The narrative is centred around an older man looking back on his life in a small village somewhere in the west of Ireland. It covers the period of electrification, which must have been such an uplifting experience for small communities.

It is often difficult to get a book with universal appeal but Niall is a locally based author with a great reputation and this well written and much praised novel should be a treat for many readers. During this time of Covid-19 and restrictions we are encouraging people to start reading again and have chosen a book that will be an uplifting and enjoyable read.”

This Is Happiness will be available to borrow from all public libraries nationwide, electronically via BorrowBox, and to purchase from bookshops.

There will also be a limited number of free copies available for members of the public, including members of book clubs, older people and nursing home residents. Please contact your local library for further details on how to obtain a copy.

There will be a programme of online events in March to accompany the reading initiative.

Author of This Is Happiness, Niall Williams, said: “I am delighted and honoured that This Is Happiness is part of the Clare Reads and Keep Well campaigns this year. Libraries were my first home for reading, which had and has still a crucial role in my own keeping well. Inside the pages of a book, I am safe, sustained, and happy.”

Niall Williams – Photo: John Kelly

‘This Is Happiness’ is a novel from the acclaimed author of Man Booker-longlisted History of the Rain.

Change is coming to Faha, a small Irish parish unaltered in a thousand years. For one thing, the rain is stopping. Nobody remembers when it started; rain on the western seaboard is a condition of living. But now – just as Father Coffey proclaims the coming of the electricity – the rain clouds are lifting.

Seventeen-year-old Noel Crowe, the narrator of the story, is idling in the unexpected sunshine when Christy arrives in Faha, bringing secrets for which he needs to atone. Though he can’t explain it, Noel knows right then: something has changed. As the people of Faha anticipate the endlessly procrastinated advent of the electricity, and Noel navigates his own coming-of-age and his fallings in and out of love, Christy’s past gradually comes to light, casting a new glow on a small world.

The heart of this book is a man remembering a time long gone and the beginning of his adult life. It is a book of reminiscences.

Niall Williams was born in Dublin. He is the author of nine novels, including the international bestseller, Four Letters of Love, as well as the Booker-longlisted History of the Rain. His most recent novel, nominated for the Irish Book Awards and the Walter Scott Prize, is This Is Happiness.