Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.
I know. I’m talking about books again. You’re probably asking yourself whether I ever shut up about them. The answer is no, but I believe that I told you how entitled and annoying I can be in the opening of this book. I have a collection of books that I adore. I only started this collection about a year ago but it has grown a good bit since then. I’ve read a lot more books than the ones on this list but these are my favourites. I keep hard copies on a specific shelf in my room in my Mam’s house. I may have read these books in eBook form or borrowed them from a friend but they had such an impact on me that I would then buy my own hard copy to keep with me. I am including this list because I believe that I learned many things from each of these books and because they have impacted my own experiences and my own writing.
Lace, Shirley Conran. I read Lace during my final mock examinations, a time when I was going through a sort of personal crisis. The feminist, scandalous themes mixed with the relatable, flawed characters that we got to watch grow up into strong women made this book such a prominent and enjoyable read. I adored every turn of the page and felt upset when I finished it.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. I read this book for my junior certificate exams. But it became so much more than schoolwork to me. The messages of tolerance and understanding rang so loudly in my fifteen-year old head.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. I studied The Great Gatsby for my final exams. The tragedy and beauty found in this book severely changed my outlook on the world. I often think about the tragic “what if” side to this story and sometimes (ugh how dramatic I must sound) compare it to situations in my own life.
Letters to a Love Rat, Niamh Greene. Niamh Greene is an amazing, relatable writer whose books make me laugh out loud. This particular book was important to me at a time that I was very broken and extremely upset about my own situation. It made me feel a lot better about my experience but, most importantly, it made me recognise the lighter side of life again.
Yes Please, Amy Poehler. I can’t describe how wonderful this book is in a mere paragraph. I read it on the plane to Paris and couldn’t put it down in the days following. All I can say is do yourself a favour and read this book. It is fantastic.
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov. I read this book at quite a young age and I think I lost a lot of innocence when I did. The immorality and disturbing side of this story is equally fascinating and horrifying but it is all described in a beautiful way that will make you feel so many emotions.
Bossypants, Tina Fey. After finishing “Yes Please” I immediately picked up Tina Fey’s book and I did not regret it. It is fascinating, hilarious and Tina Fey is extremely down to earth.
The Help, Kathryn Stockett. I read The Help while writing this book. It is a glorious story told in an amazing way and I loved every second of it. It also told me a lot about the book writing process that has been of immense help to me while writing this.
Who Cares?, David Beattie. Oops, how did this get in here? Thanks again for buying my book.
Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden. I am currently halfway through this book but I knew from the first chapter that it would be added to this list. It is beautiful and incredibly heart-breaking.
Talk to the Headscarf, Emma Hannigan. Emma Hannigan displays so much courage and strength in this story of her many battles with cancer that she has never let defeat her. She is a remarkable person and she has inspired me so much with this book.
Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy. I read this book just before I left for college. It was a wonderful read for someone in my position and I am extremely grateful to my Mam who insisted that I read it.
Sex and the City, Candace Bushnell. I stumbled upon this book in a charity shop and immediately knew that I had to read it. The glamorous world of New York that I found inside drew me in and mystified me. I loved every juicy detail described in this book and I just know that I will regularly revisit it throughout my life.
The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger. I adore the glamour of this book. The world that it allows us to glimpse is horrifying, beautiful and mystifying. I recommend it to anyone who dreams of the New York lifestyle.
Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert. This book had a profound effect on me and my life. The journey that Gilbert takes is beautiful and inspirational and I loved every second of it. Read this book. You will learn so much.
Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding. These books are hilarious, relatable and enlightening. I adore them and cherish my copies of them.
Asking for It, Louise O’Neill. This book changed my perception of the people around me in an extraordinary way. Ireland’s society is captured with perfection. This book is haunting, disturbing and incredibly realistic. It absorbed me.
Was this chapter annoying? It probably was. I’m sorry that I’m so preachy about reading books. Honestly, I’m just glad that you’re reading this book. As you can see from the above list, I am not only passionate about the traditional, classic, amazing works of literature. I love all types of books and one of my biggest fears is dying before I read them all. I am currently reading seven books at the one time. Many people give out to me for this but it’s just how I operate. My bedrooms in both Wexford and Dublin are full of books that I’ve yet to read. I love them. But you already know that.
Read the introduction to my latest book here.
Watch my writing journey below: