Steve Cummins: Where do Daddies come from? A pregnancy bible for men

I went to the recording of Republic of Telly last Sunday (and before you ask yes Dermot is kinda cute up close!) and the extremely talented Steve Cummins was the warm up, get the audience in a laughing mood guy. So being the nice person I am I sent him a message the next day telling him I really enjoyed his stuff. I was not prepared for his response, which went along the lines of on the off-chance that you are pregnant I have a new book out… or if you want to get pregnant that would be great. Hmmm. I’m not really feeling in the mood to get pregnant at the moment so we made a compromise which involves me telling all you lovely people about his new book. We all know there a about a gazillion books out there to help women through pregnancy from what to expect … There’s more

Tweet Treats – Book Review

Tweet Treats is a recipe book that was conceived on Twitter.  All the recipes in Tweet Treats are in under 140 characters or less as submitted to compiler and editor Jane Travers over the medium of Twitter. There are over 1000 recipes in all. 140 of those were submitted by celebrities ranging in talent and glamour from Keith Barry to Paula Abdul, Neil Gaiman to Ryan Tubridy. The rest came from your average tweeps including a couple from little old me! It contains a foreward and some great cooking tips from Marco Pierre White. All the royalties of the book go the deserving charity Medecins Sans Frontieres. But there’s only one way to review a cookbook. This is how my Tweet Treat day went: 8am: breakfast: Look longingly at @HazelkLarkin’s Tropical Breakfast “1 ripe papaya, 1 fresh lime. Seed, peel & chop papaya. Squeeze limejuice over papaya. Eat. Yum.” but … There’s more

Literary Belfast launches on Tuesday

The biggest ever gathering of Belfast’s writers is to be held to mark the official launch of a series of new initiatives to highlight the city’s rich literary heritage and vibrant contemporary scene. On Tuesday, September 6, Belfast City Council and its various partners will officially launch ‘Literary Belfast’, with a gala evening at the Ulster Hall, featuring 14 writers reading from their works. These writers include Colin Bateman, Ciaran Carson, Patricia Craig, Leontia Flynn, Marie Jones, Michael Longley, Martin Lynch, Bernard MacLaverty, Owen McCafferty, Sinead Morrissey, Paul Muldoon, Frank Ormsby, David Park and Glenn Patterson. “The United Kingdom currently features as number one in a list, compiled by TripAdvisor, of the top ten literary destinations in the world, and literary tourism contributes up to £2.6 billion a year to the British economy,” explained Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of BCC’s Development Committee. “To help us capitalise upon this massive market, … There’s more

Quick Review: Recent Reads #2

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. Yes I’m little bit behind the rest of planet earth in that I’ve only just finished this, the fourth in the Harry Potter series. But just in case there’s anyone out there who hasn’t gotten to it yet, I’ll try to avoid spoilers. Here we get a sense of the 3 main characters growing up and suffering from the same teen related goofiness we did at their age. And later, we get a taste of that darker writing style which stays for the rest of the series.  Easily my favourite Harry Potter so far, this book shocked me just as much as it did everyone else. Brilliant, awe inspiring genius from J.K. Rowling. Scores: 4 out of 5.   Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons. I read Carrion Comfort when I was a teenager and always remembered it as one of … There’s more

Quick Review: Recent Reads #1

Ender’s Game by Orson Scot Card. I’d seen Ender’s Game pop up at the head of many Top 100/50/10 Sci-Fi book lists, so decided to give it a go. There is a clever (and brutal) plot here, and I can see elements of this story have been appropriated for many films. Some interesting reflections on war too, both good and bad. A lot of the action takes place in Zero G, the description of those scenes was sometimes hard to follow. Ultimately, I found I didn’t care about the protagonist and the last few chapters, with their weird religious undertone, felt bizarre and tacked on. Scores: 2 out of 5. The Liar by Stephen Fry. I’m a huge fan of Stephen Fry and had high hopes for The Liar. It started off well and I found myself laughing out loud many times. As I progressed though, I began to feel … There’s more

Book Review: In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway

I picked up this book with glee. ‘A funny and moving tale of two affairs…don’t miss’ shouts the cover. What a great excuse to have to read some steamy chic-fic which the Sunday Times declares is ‘Whip-smart and blisteringly observant. Funny, truthful and cracking satire’ And so it begins – at the end; two out of the blue emails to two women from two men who have obviously caused them much heartache and emotional chaos. So far so good. Then it takes us back two years to when Stella is a bigshot economist in Atlantic Energy, a global oil firm, firmly keeping her married home life out of the office because a photo of her child on her desk may reveal a vulnerability which would be used against her in the cut throat oil world. A female colleague is leaving after making a fool out of herself and ‘destroying her … There’s more

Broken Spine #27: The Big Opening

It’s that time of year again folks. No, not the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny, but something far more hilarious. The winners of the 2010 Lyttle Lytton Contest have been announced. For those of you who don’t know, the Lyttle Lytton Contest was established in 2001 and celebrates the worst first line of a novel. It’s an offshoot of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Wheras the Bulwer-Lytton Contest can have entrants of any length (and usually does), the Lyttle Lytton Contest is only open to opening lines of twenty-five words or less. The 2009 winner of the longer contest was this beauty by David McKenzie: Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin’ off Nantucket Sound from the nor’ east and the dogs are howlin’ for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew … There’s more

Broken Spine #26 – Travel Guides

It’s that time of year again. The birds are singing, the sunbeds are filling up, the clouds are starting to clear, the ash is clogging up… wait, strike that last part. It’s summer, and the time for everyone’s annual trip away from it all. So whether you’re going to the Ring of Kerry or to the Pacific Ring of Fire, there seems to be a travel guide for everywhere. For the past few days, I’ve been getting feedback from people on twitter about the best and worst travel guides they’ve used, but there has been no consensus. But I did get some nice tips.

Broken Spine #25: One Book, One Twitter

Many of you may have read Dracula or Dorian Grey as part of Dublin’s One City, One Book month this year or last. But now a bigger event is trundling into town…every town. One Book, One Twitter began yesterday, and is the brainchild of Crowdsourcing author Jeff Howe. The book chosen was decided by a public vote (which for once wasn’t rigged by Irish voters to be Roy Keane’s Biography or the like), and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods beat off stiff competition from Slaughterhouse Five, Farenheit 451, Song of Solomon, and The God of Small Things. Catch-Up 23

It’s been a while since we did a Catch-Up and there’s been a lot going on lately. Have a glance through the categories below and see if there’s anything you missed.  There’s plenty to keep you going for the afternoon. Upcoming Events Chalks at the Complex Smithfield – until Sat 8 May Nouveau Vaudeville Cabaret Night – Sat 8 May International Gay Theatre Festival – 3 to 16 May Absolut Gay Theatre Festival – 3 to 16 May Shawshank Redemption in the Gaiety – 5 to 29 May Competitions Win tickets to Cathy Davy in Olympia on 14 May Wins tickets to Pendulum at the Olympia on 18 May Win a Samsung S3500 mobile by entering any Culch competition before 20 May Film Reviews of Iron Man 2 and Cemetary Junction

Broken Spine #24: Book Shopping

Yesterday on twitter I asked my followers where they bought their books online in order to help you save some money on your purchases. So the following are the Best Places to Buy Books Online. (All deliver to Ireland, obviously) AMAZONAmazon started off as a US book retailer before branching out to supply nearly everything. It’s like the world’s biggest Argos, as you can see only the catalogue before making your purchase. Amazon has thousands of books, as well as out-of-print titles via its authorized resellers. Luke Teeling suggested checking between both and for prices, as sometimes you can get a better deal from America. BOOKDEPOSITORYA few people suggested as the number one place to shop online for books. They do free delivery to Ireland, and prices on books that are at least six months old are very reasonable. It may take a few days for your … There’s more

The Picture of Dorian Gray – An Afternoon Tryst

The Picture of Dorian Gray Bewley’s Tea Rooms – 15th April – 1st May 2010 The tea-room was filled with the rich odour of brewing coffee, and when the light spring sun cast it’s gentle rays across the  spanning windows the dim roar of Grafton Street was no more than the bourdon note of a distant organ. No, you haven’t fallen into a decadent drawing room circa 1890 but an afternoon of delicious temptation with a production of Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece, The Picture of Dorian Gray. “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” Wonderland Productions, in association with  Dublin One City One Book present afternoon tea with a Wilde twist in the James Joyce Tea Rooms in Bewley’s, Grafton Street.  Acted and narrated by Lord Henry (Simon Coury), Basil (Michael James Ford) and Dorian (Michael Winder) the play is intimate and thoroughly charming. … There’s more

Competition Closed: A Mug’s Game?

**Competition Closed** Congrats Lottie and Davin. Irish Grub In A Mug, a gift book hot off the presses at Gill & MacMillan in the last few weeks, made it’s way into Team Culch’s hands recently. It’s a dinky wee thing that doubles as a fridge magnet with ten recipes for Irish dishes that can be cooked in a mug in the microwave and  in our eyes  it had the word ‘challenge’ written all over it. Five Culchies have tried out five recipes from the book, so have a read about what they have to say about microwaved mug meals and stick around to enter the competition  if you’re brave enough – we have two copies to give away.

Broken Spine #23: Dromlach Briste

Dúnmharú sa Daingean…nó an bhfuil sé Dingle/Daingean Uí Chúis anois? Bunaithe i gCorca Dhuibhne, meascann ‘Dúnmharú sa Daingean’ ealaín an iarthair l’anord an oirthir. Scríobhta l’Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, tugann an leabhar dea scríofa seo, seans dúinn chun filleadh ar an nGaeilge le scéal atá fíor-shuimiúil agus taitneamhúil ag an am céanna. Insítear scéal faoin príomhcharachtair, Saoirse, atá i ndeireadh na féide i mBaile Átha Cliath, tar éis a post, fear agus árasán a cháilleadh. Chun peirspictíocht nua ar an saol a fháil, bogann sí go Corca Dhuibhne in iarthar Chiarraí chun saol nua a chruthú. Ach ní fágtar a cuid fadhbanna sa phríomhchathair ar chor ar bith. Tagann Saoirse trasna rún dorcha san áit agus caithfidh sí dul ar tóir dúnmharfóra. Tá an leabhar seo lán le samplaí ina bhfuil an léitheoir in ann an fonn grinn atá ag Ní Dhuibhne a fheiceáil agus an scil atá aici chun scéal nua aimsire a chur ós ár gcomhair. … There’s more