Wednesday, December 02, 2015

My Reading Life: Alice Taylor books

I'm not sure how Alice Taylor came across my purview, but it was definitely some Irish interest that brought her into sight. Known among many as one of Ireland's most popular authors, Taylor writes about her own time and space, what she knows and where she lives. 

My first introduction was her book Country Days, and I read that years ago. Visiting Ireland in 2012 renewed my interest and I found An Irish Country ChristmasTo School Through the Fields, Quench the Lamp, and The Village. I was somewhat disappointed in To School Through the Fields, though no fault of the book's, but decided to give the others a try since they were on my shelf. Delight overcame me with  Quench the Lamp, and I became an avid pursuant of Alice Taylor information. I wanted to know, to see these places she wrote of.

A bit of inner conflict about this "stalking" was doused when I listened to one of Taylor's radio interviews. The commentator was talking to Taylor about how he and others who had read her books wanted to walk the path she describes, so they went to Innishannon and did exactly what I wanted to do. Taylor vindicated my weird groupie feeling  "A book is meaningless until the reader engages with the writer" by stepping into the writer's shoes.

Obviously, I could not just hop up and go to Innishannon, except virtually. With a little information provided in interviews and articles online, and with the places Taylor writes about in her books, Google Maps took me there at the touch of "Enter." I stood, virtually, across the street from the guesthouse the family renovated adjacent to Uncle Jacky's store. It still stands on the corner and adjoins a grocery / post office which Taylor's son now oversees.
The "guesthouse" on the corner with the grocery / post office to the left.
"My main reason, " Taylor says, "for writing To School Through The Fields was that I wanted a record of that way of life for the generations coming after. I didn't want the memories to die with us." Taylor goes on to say that "When the book goes out there, it ceases to be your book and it becomes the reader's book." A recent radio interview with her can be heard here
I'm looking forward to reading these other books by Alice Taylor and one day going back to Ireland, but this time to Innishannon.

Across the River
The Parish
And Time Stood Still
The Gift of a Garden
The Woman of the House
House of Memories

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