Des Kenny's family has run bookshops in Galway since 1940, and like his parents before him he's been a bookseller all his working life. Educated in his native city and also at the Sorbonne in Paris, Kenny recently hit on the fascinating idea of releasing a list of 101 Irish authors who, in his own words, demand to be read. This is a democratic selection, well in keeping with the philosophy of his famous shop, and there is obvious joy in the making of it. From J.M. Synge to Maeve Binchy to Patrick Kavanagh to William Butler Yeats, the thrilling diversity of Irish letters has rarely been more authoritatively sampled. As enjoyable to read as it is to refer to, Kenny's evocative list deserves to be read and reread in its own right. Dufour Editions, $34.95.
Ancient Celtic Irish symbols meanings