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Bethanne
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Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

[ Edited ]

Maeve Binchy was born in Dalkey, Ireland. Before becoming an internationally beloved author, she embarked on several youthful adventures, including stints at an Israeli kibbutz and as achildren's camp counselor in the United States.  Her parents were so impressed with her lengthy letters hometo them that they submitted them to a newspaper, in which they were published—and so began her decades-long career as a writer of journalism, plays, nonfiction, short stories and novels.

 

Binchy was a journalist at the Irish Times for many years before turning her attention mainly to fiction, with which she has been wildly successful ever since the publication of her very first novel, Light a Penny Candle.  Circle of Friends was made into a movie starring Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver in 1995, and this past year her short story "The Hard Core" was turned into "How About You," a movie starring Vanessa Redgrave. Tara Road was an Oprah's Book Club selection in 1999, and Binchy's most recent work of fiction, Whitethorn Woods,was on the New York Times bestseller list for eight straight weeks. Heart and Soul, forthcoming from Knopf in February of this year, is already number one in Ireland, Australia and Canada.  She has written articles for magazines including Gourmet; O, The Oprah Magazine; Modern Maturity; and Good Housekeeping.

 

Binchy is married to Gordon Snell, a writer of children's books and comedy for adults. Although she and her husband have a home in London, they spend most of their time in Dalkey, near her siblings and a stone's throw away from the house in which she grew up.

 

Message Edited by Bethanne on 03-30-2009 07:40 PM
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fordmg
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

I have enjoyed many of Binchy's books.  I notice that this last one brings back some characters from earlier books.  I think the first few books were independent, and now some of the characters float in and out.  I am amazed at how Maeve Binchy can take ordinary people and life and make it interesting and riviting. 

MG

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KCHaughawout
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

My favorite book was Tara Road. I first got hooked on Binchy when looking for Irish Fiction once I confirmed some of my ancestors came from Ireland. That took 10 years. Now I am delving into Irish Fiction and Literature every chance I get. Tara Road should be an Irish Classic. It is so believable how those characters evolved. It reminded me of We were the Mulvaneys. I try to read her novels whenever they come out.
Karen


"Every burned book enlightens the world."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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kiakar
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

Oh! yes! she is definitely one of my favorite writers of all times. It seems she weaves instead of writes her novels. Every stitch is placed just right with smooth handiwork that endures for you forever. Light my penny candle was definitely a change in my reading material. She roped me right end and I delved into each one of her following novels with a raveous appetite. Maeve had me wishing so much I could visit Ireland with her vivid descriptions of the people and the fabuous landscape. We are definitely in for a luxious treat.
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kiakar
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

Oh! Maeve! I have followed you by books all around the world. I am not stalking you though! Just love to read anything about such a talented writer. I talked to you before on B&N when you were on Whitethorn forest novel. I enjoyed that book so well. Well, all of your books are top notch. I wish you could write faster, I could live and breathe your books all the time.  I love the character Claire. Oh! what a woman. You paint her so vividly vigrant. Those girls seem to drive her crazy! I know about that since I raised three daughters but they did good in the end when they grew up and graduated from college and now have families and careers.  So I guess Claire has a chance of being happy about her girls also. Some just take along time to grow to maturity. Oh! its such good reading about the heart clinic, since this is on everyone's mind these days with so many new treatments due to heart defects among the elderly and otherwise.  The care of the patient all through life is the clearest way to save that life. Teaching the way to a healthy lifestyle.
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Darendt44
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

Dear Maeve Binchy,

 

I first came upon your work via a serialization of Light a Penny Candle in Redbook magazine. It had such an impact on me that I remember reading it to this day. That was many years ago, but I've since followed all your novels and once read that you are a constant observer of people. You have incorporated your ability to observe the human condition so wonderfully in your books, and I was wondering, what, if anything, you would most like your readers to learn from your books?

 

DA

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Redcatlady
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

Dear Ms. Binchy:

 

I've enjoyed your books very much, beginning with Scarlet Feather and up to your latest.   This will probably be an odd question for you, but I'm curious about the fate of Marcella from Scarlet Feather.  Will those photos she took in London return to haunt her?

 

Redcatlady

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DONNAJG24
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

I have been a fan of Ms. Binchy's work for many years. She did not disappoint with Heart and Soul. Her characters are so lifelike, making you feel that if you were to go to Ireland you could actually meet them. Reading her books makes me want to go to Ireland!! I guess my question for her would be how does she come up with the characters? Are their characteristics taken from actual people in her life or people that she has come across over her travels?

 

I look forward to discussing Heart and Soul over the next few days.

 

Thanks!!

 

Donna Ruggles

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sgregg88
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

Ms. Binchy,

 

Like many others, your novels and short stories have captured my heart and imagination. I eagerly look forward to each new book - the joy of the new characters and often a return to a favourite old character woven in. It makes Dublin seem like such a small place in that way, although those who live there might not think so.

 

I began reading your books in the mid 90's while at University and you painted such a vivid picture of Ireland that it was one of the reasons I obtained a work visa and moved to Dublin in 1999, spending a year working in a hotel in the city. It's been one of the highlights, and I understand how the country can inspire one to write about the people.

 

Although many characters in your books have travelled or come from other countries, most of your books take place in Ireland. Have there been other places you have travelled that you hope to be able to set your books in - similar to Greece in Nights of Rain and Stars?

 

Warmly,

 

Shelby

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sgregg88
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

For those of you in this discussion, what are some of the things that happen in this novel that delighted you? That made you angry? That made you cry?
Inspired Correspondent
Bethanne
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3


KCHaughawout wrote:
My favorite book was Tara Road. I first got hooked on Binchy when looking for Irish Fiction once I confirmed some of my ancestors came from Ireland. That took 10 years. Now I am delving into Irish Fiction and Literature every chance I get. Tara Road should be an Irish Classic. It is so believable how those characters evolved. It reminded me of We were the Mulvaneys. I try to read her novels whenever they come out.
Karen, I appreciated your comment, because I think Binchy's careful work at her writer's loom is easily underestimated. Her ability to weave together very different characters' stories -- and make the pattern plausible -- really does make a book like Tara Road a classic example of Irish fiction. 

 

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Bethanne
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3


kiakar wrote:
Oh! yes! she is definitely one of my favorite writers of all times. It seems she weaves instead of writes her novels. Every stitch is placed just right with smooth handiwork that endures for you forever. Light my penny candle was definitely a change in my reading material. She roped me right end and I delved into each one of her following novels with a raveous appetite. Maeve had me wishing so much I could visit Ireland with her vivid descriptions of the people and the fabuous landscape. We are definitely in for a luxious treat.
Kiakar, great minds must think alike, since I wrote my previous response, with all of its weaving imagery, before reading your post! I think you will definitely find Heart and Soul a luxurious treat (best enjoyed with a cuppa and a scone!). 

 

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Bethanne
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3


sgregg88 wrote:
For those of you in this discussion, what are some of the things that happen in this novel that delighted you? That made you angry? That made you cry?
sgregg88, I'm so glad you asked this to the group. I'll tell everyone one thing that delighted me -- the reappearance of those wonderfully odd twins, Maude and Simon. I hope Maeve Binchy writes an entire novel focusing on them in the future. 

 

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Bethanne
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3


fordmg wrote:

I have enjoyed many of Binchy's books.  I notice that this last one brings back some characters from earlier books.  I think the first few books were independent, and now some of the characters float in and out.  I am amazed at how Maeve Binchy can take ordinary people and life and make it interesting and riviting. 

MG


fordmg, I've been reading Binchy for a long time, and I've noticed that she's letting characters "float" more and more, too. Do you like this, or did you prefer the standalone books? 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

I've read all but Maeve Binchy's most recent books, and those are in my TBR pile.  It would be very difficult to choose a favorite, but I would have to put The Copper Beech, The Lilac Bus, Tara Road and Circle of Friends near the top.
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Bethanne
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3


becke_davis wrote:
I've read all but Maeve Binchy's most recent books, and those are in my TBR pile.  It would be very difficult to choose a favorite, but I would have to put The Copper Beech, The Lilac Bus, Tara Road and Circle of Friends near the top.
Becke, I highly recommend Scarlet Feather. And Quentins! But really, Circle of Friends is still near the top of my list. 

 

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momgee
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

Well, now if you're talking favorites, I think mine would be Light a Penny Candle and then Tara Rd, Scarlet Feather, Quentins. Okay, actually I've loved every one she has written. Such incredibly enjoyable characters, descriptions of settings and plot lines. It is hard to think these are just fictional characters. What a wonderful gift Ms. Binchy has. Storytelling at it's finest.


becke_davis wrote:
I've read all but Maeve Binchy's most recent books, and those are in my TBR pile.  It would be very difficult to choose a favorite, but I would have to put The Copper Beech, The Lilac Bus, Tara Road and Circle of Friends near the top.

 

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
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sgregg88
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3


becke_davis wrote:
I've read all but Maeve Binchy's most recent books, and those are in my TBR pile.  It would be very difficult to choose a favorite, but I would have to put The Copper Beech, The Lilac Bus, Tara Road and Circle of Friends near the top.

 

Becke,

 

I have trouble deciding on a favourite as well, but The Glass Lake, Light a Penny Candle and Firefly Summer always seem to be on my Must Read Again pile...

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sgregg88
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3


Bethanne wrote:

sgregg88 wrote:
For those of you in this discussion, what are some of the things that happen in this novel that delighted you? That made you angry? That made you cry?
sgregg88, I'm so glad you asked this to the group. I'll tell everyone one thing that delighted me -- the reappearance of those wonderfully odd twins, Maude and Simon. I hope Maeve Binchy writes an entire novel focusing on them in the future. 

 


 

Bethanne,

 

I had the same thought!

 

shelby

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Krissy519
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Re: Maeve Binchy, March 30-April 3

Ms. Binchy,

 

I have loved your writing style since I read my first Binchy book and then I was hooked. You are the only author that pulls me into the story. Anytime I read one of your novels, I feel like all the characters are my friends, and I am living the story myself. Quite an accomplishment.

 

So, I must thank you for bringing so much joy to so many people, and taking us places around the world we may never see but through your eyes.

 

My question for you is: What is your favorite book that you have penned, and your favorite that you have not?

 

Thanks for all you have given us.

Kris