Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#18: The Heather Blazing (Colm Toibin)

on November 13, 2014

I was so inspired by Phyllis Rose’s The Shelf that I decided to begin my own version of the project. I planned to select a random shelf in the library that contained at least one classic novel and had no more than 5 books representing a single author. The selection process was much more difficult than I expected. The main branch of the Memphis Public Library shelves most of its classic novels in an area separate from general fiction. So, on Halloween Day, I made my way to the White Station branch and found my shelf:  THO – TRE.  (At the end of today’s post, I will include a complete list of the books included on my shelf on that day.)

Randomly, I chose my first book from my library shelf project — The Heather Blazing. The story centers around Eamon Redmond, an Irish judge whose life has been plagued by immense loss. As a child, he lost both of his parents. Although still living, he has a decaying relationship with both of his children. The two great loves of his life — his beautiful wife and his childhood home that overlooks the sea — are both facing dire circumstances and will be removed from his world very quickly.

While the novel contains immense tragedy for Eamon, the book is quite beautiful. The descriptions of the Irish landscape are riveting. Toibin weaves a thread of hope throughout the plot and provides an ambiguous conclusion to the novel that allows the reader to determine for himself Eamon’s ultimate outcome. Although I would have never picked up The Heather Blazing on my own, I am happy that I encountered this charming book through my library shelf project.


White Station Branch of Memphis Public Library – October 31, 2014

  1. Takedown – Brad Thor
  2. Reboot – Tintera
  3. The Good Thief – Hannah Tinti
  4. The Barbarian Nurseries – Hector Tobar
  5. A Complicated Kindness – Miriam Toews
  6. Brooklyn – Colm Toibin
  7. The Empty Family – Colm Toibin
  8. The Heather Blazing – Colm Toibin
  9. The Masters – Colm Toibin
  10. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  11. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  12. Tomahawk – David Poyer (This book appears to have been shelved incorrectly. Since it was on the shelf on this day, however, I will include it in my reading project.)
  13. Masked Innocence – Alessandra Torre
  14. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned – Wells Tower
  15. The Key – Simon Toyne
  16. The Oriental Wife – Evelyn Toyston
  17. Sanctus – Simon Toyne
  18. Off the Grid – P.J. Tracy
  19. The Legacy – Kirsten Tranter
  20. The Colour – Rose Tremain
  21. The Crazyladies of Pearl Street – Trevanian

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