Interview with Mary McAleese, author of Here’s the Story: A Memoir
I'm very excited to publish this interview! It is an honour to have former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, author of Here’s the Story: A Memoir, talk to us about her favourite books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Mary's book:
When a young Mary McAleese told a priest that she planned to become a lawyer, the priest dismissed the idea: she knew no one in the law, and she was female. The reality of what she went on to achieve - despite those obstacles, and despite a sectarian attack that forced her family to flee their home - is even more improbable.
In this luminous memoir, Mary McAleese traces that astonishing arc: from the tight streets of north Belfast, to a professorship in Dublin while still in her twenties, behind-the-scenes work on the peace process, and two triumphant terms as President of Ireland. She writes of her encounters with prime ministers, popes and royalty with the same easy candour and intimacy with which she describes her childhood. And her account of the latest act in her remarkable career - quietly pursuing a doctorate, and loudly opposing the misogyny of the Catholic Church - is inspiring.
Here's the Story is warm, witty, often surprising and relentlessly fascinating: an extraordinarily intimate memoir by one of the most remarkable public figures of our time.
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Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
Ian Hughes book Disordered Minds: How dangerous personalities are destroying democracy. The author is a phenomenal communicator and he managed to frighten the living daylights out of me with his perceptive analysis of the scary rise and rise of the narcissistic leader across the world and in our time. It made me realise how essential it is to stand our ground to protect the fundamental rights so hard won and yet still so vulnerable.
Disordered Minds: How Dangerous Personalities Are Destroying Democracy
Review From Book Depository:
Disordered Minds offers a compelling and timely account of the dangers posed by narcissistic leaders, and provides a stark warning that the conditions in which this psychopathy flourishes - extremes of social inequality and a culture of hyper-individualism - are the hallmarks of our present age. 'An excellent account of how malignant narcissism is evident in the lives of the great dictators, and how the conditions in which this psychopathy flourishes have returned to haunt us.' Dr Kieran Keohane, editor of The Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization
Review From Book Depository:
Loch na h-Iolaire, the Loch of the Eagle, was not large-little more than a mile long, and at its greatest breadth perhaps a quarter of a mile wide. It lay among the encircling hills like a fairy pool come upon in dreams; yet it had not the desolate quality of the high mountain tarns, whose black waters lie shoreless at the foot of precipices.
Loch na h-Iolaire was set in a level space as wide as itself. At one end was a multitude of silver-stemmed birches, of whom some loved the loch (or their own reflection) so dearly that they leaned over it until the veil of their hair almost brushed its surface; and with these court ladies stood a guard of very old pines, severe and beautiful, and here and there was the feathered bravery of a rowan tree.
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Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
If I am at home then it is paper books all the way but if I am travelling then Kindle is terrific for it is so easily packed and lightweight. I have not yet used audiobooks.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
I love Hodges Figgis in Dublin's Dawson Street. It has an air of venerable age about it which it is entitled to have having been in business since before the French Revolution. It is cavernous and the staff are wholeheartedly helpful. It caters for all ages and tastes so my children have also grown to love it and many a happy browsing hour has been spent there over the years as well as a small fortune - worth every penny!
Smart Thinking Books was born to shine a spotlight on books that can fuel your mind! Many smart thinking books have changed the way I look at the world for the better, so I started this site to help spread the word. - Daryl Feehely
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