The Best St. Patrick's Day Reading List

Parades not your thing? Then celebrate by reading a book by a famous Irish writer

01 of 13

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern


The inspiration behind the tear-inducing movie of the same name, P.S. I Love You is an epic love story — with a twist. Gerry dies just before Holly turns 30, and he leaves her letters to guide and console her as the year after his death unfolds. Slowly, Holly transforms from a grieving widow to a woman bursting with creativity and strength, with Gerry's spirit there every aching step of the way.

Buy It! P.S. I Love You, $7.20;

02 of 13

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Courtesy Amazon

A young girl from a small town in Ireland unexpectedly finds herself sponsored by the family priest for emigration to America, where she finds love with a local Italian-American boy. Just as she's starting to foresee her future in America, she finds herself unexpectedly and suddenly called back home, where another possible future awaits. A book (turned into an Oscar-nominated movie with Saoirse Ronan) that explores what home really means.

Buy It! Brooklyn, $8.93

03 of 13

In the Woods by Tana French


This gripping debut novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series is a tightly-plotted psychological thriller following an Irish detective as he attempts to solve the murder of a local 12-year-old girl - and to keep the terror of his childhood memories of a similar crime at bay.

Buy It! In the Woods, $15.30;

04 of 13

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Courtesy Amazon

This hugely successful classic memoir chronicles the author's "miserable Irish Catholic childhood" in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. McCourt manages to spin truly tragic tales of poverty, cruelty and near-starvation into profound and often funny anecdotes that make this book impossible to put down.

Buy It! Angela's Ashes, $12.14;

05 of 13

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift


Adults and children have loved this satire by Jonathan Swift since it was first published in 1726. It follows Lemuel Gulliver, who finds himself shipwrecked on an island of people "not six inches high." He later encounters giants and other creatures that reflect the worst parts of human nature. Filled with wit, snark and fantasy, Gulliver's Travels is a tale that will be relevant as long as the human race remains problematic.

Buy It! Gulliver's Travels, $5.40;

06 of 13

Ulysses by James Joyce


One of literature's most important novels, Joyce's tome is an ode to Dublin as well as a hugely influential work in Modernist fiction. Following the lives of Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly and Stephen Dedalus during one day in June 1904, Joyce breaks the rules in every way. He plays with words for their sound — not just their meaning — and brings humanity to the most mundane of humans and human acts. Scandalous and satirical, Ulysses is a novel that continues to inspire and challenge readers.

Buy It! Ulysses, $9.96;

07 of 13

The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen


Set in the 1930s, this is the story of Portia, an orphan who stays at her well-to-do half-brother's home, where she ultimately meets her downfall. Eddie is handsome. He's also good for nothing, which Portia learns when a lighter flashes in the dark. Portia is betrayed, and it's a hurt that cuts so deep that she's scarred forever.

Buy It! The Death of the Heart, $12.90;

08 of 13

Dracula by Bram Stoker


This is the novel that first introduced the beloved-and-bloodthirsty Count Dracula, a vampire who tries to move from Transylvania to England to spawn more of the undead. His fight with Professor Van Helsing — the one mortal leading the battle against him — has inspired myriad adaptions on the stage and screen.

Buy It! Dracula, $5.50;

09 of 13

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis


The Chronicles of Narnia is a seven-book epic fantasy about Narnia, a make-believe kingdom ruled by the lion Aslan. The books narrate the history of the kingdom, which serves as a sanctuary for children who come from the real world. They adore the magic and talking animals, but Aslan needs their help so he can defeat the evil that threatens them all.

Buy It! The Chronicles of Narnia, $29.99;

10 of 13

The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by W.B. Yeats


Yeats was born in Ireland and later became known as one of the most influential poets of the 1900s, both in his country and across the English-speaking world. As he once famously said: "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."

Buy It! The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats, $7.99;

11 of 13

Country Girl by Edna O'Brien


When O'Brien's novels were first published, they were so shocking that some of them were burned. The story of her life is just as scintillating as her books. In her memoir, the novelist tracks her beginnings in County Clare to her divorce and life as a single mother. O'Brien also recounts stories of wild parties in London, where she met stars like Princess Margaret and Sean Connery. She writes of a number of famous men who tried to seduce her (like Marlon Brando and Richard Burton). "You might come to Country Girl for the gossip," writes Dwight Garner of the New York Times, "but you’ll stay for this memoir’s ardent portrait of a young woman struggling to find her identity both as a human being and a writer."

Buy It! Country Girl, $9.99;

12 of 13

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy


Irishwoman Ria Lynch is delighted with her child and her husband — until she learns he's having a baby with someone else. To avoid the sea of hurt that swells up around her, Ria decides to switch houses with a woman from the United States. It is in these faraway places that the women finally learn who they are.

Buy It! Tara Road, $7.99;

13 of 13

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Arkham cover D final

This is Wilde's only novel and it's both creepy and beautiful — just like its main character. Dorian Gray is handsome and full of vigor, but with each depraved act his portrait decays. It serves as a record of his misdeeds that he keeps hidden away. A mix of sensuality and suspense, this philosophical novel has been a hit since its publication in 1890.

Buy It! The Picture of Dorian Gray, $3.50;

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