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Bookbound’s Books of 2023

Written by on 20/12/2023

Paul O’Doherty of Bookbound has shared his favourite books of 2023 with us all. It’s an impressive and comprehensive list. We know that you’ll find something special in here for someone special!


  • Jackie Wullschläger’s Monet – The Restless Vision (published by Allen Lane)
  • Richard Bradford’s Tough Guy: The Life of Norman Mailer (published by Bloomsbury)
  • Tim Foley’s Crean – The Extraordinary Life of An Irish Hero (published by Merrion Press)
  • Fiona Maddocks’s Goodbye Russia – Rachmaninoff in Exile (published by Faber)
  • Paul Bew’s Ancestral Voices in Irish Politics – Judging Dillon and Parnell (published by Oxford University Press)


  • Luke Harding’s Invasion – Russia’s Bloody War and Ukraine’s Fight for Survival (Paperback edition) (published by Guardian Faber)
  • Serhii Plokhy’s The Russo-Ukrainian War (published by Allen Lane)


  • Marilynn Richtarik’s Getting to Good Friday – Literature and the Peace Process in Northern Ireland. (published by Oxford University Press)
  • Jon Gower’s The Turning Tide – A Biography of the Irish Sea (published by Harper North)
  • Gwen Wilkinson, The Waters and the Wild: The Trials and Tranquilities of a Journey on Ireland’s Waterways (published by Merrion Press)

Irish politics and Irish history

  • Peter Taylor’s Operation Chiffon – The Secret Story of M15 and M16 and the Road to Peace in Ireland (published by Bloomsbury)
  • Aoife Moore’s The Long Game – Inside Sinn Féin (published by Sandycove)
  • Malachi O’Doherty’s How to Fix Northern Ireland (published by Atlantic Books)
  • David Jameson’s The Tilson Case – Church and State in 1950s Ireland (published by Cork University Press:)
  • Timothy Murtagh’s Spectral Mansions – The Making of a Dublin Tenement, 1800-1914 (published by Four Courts Press)
  • Martin Doyle’s Dirty Linen – The Troubles in My Home Place(published by Merrion Press)


  • Joachim C. Häberlen‘s Beauty is in the Street: Protest and Counterculture in Post-War Europe (published by Allen Lane)
  • Jonathan Sumption’s The Hundred Years War Volume 5 Triumph and Illusion (published by Faber)
  • Jonathan Mile’s Once Upon a Time World – The Dark and Sparkling Story of the French Riviera. (published by Atlantic Books)
  • Nigel Townson’s The Penguin History of Modern Spain – 1898 to the Present (published by Allen Lane)
  • Julian Jackson’ s France on Trial – The Case of Marshal Pétain (published by Allen Lane)
  • Roger Moorhouse’s The Forgers – The Forgotten Story of the Holocaust’s Most Audacious Rescue Operation (published by The Bodley Head)


  • Miles Johnson’s Chasing Shadows – A True Story of Drugs, War and the Secret World of International Crime (published by The Bridge Street Press)
  • Rory Cormac’s How to Stage a Coup – And Ten Other Lessons from the World of Secret Statecraft (published by Atlantic Books)
  • Calder Walton’s Spies – The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West (published by Abacus Books)


  • John Sellars’s Aristotle – Understanding the World’s Greatest Philosopher (published by Pelican)

The Environment

  • Heriberto Araujo’s Masters of the Lost Land – The Untold Story of the Fight to Own the Amazon (published by Atlantic Books)


  • Peter Bills, Le Coq – A Journey to the Heart of French Rugby (published by Allen and Unwin)
  • Conor Curran, Soccer and Society in Dublin – A History of Association Football in Ireland’s Capital (published by Four Courts Press)
  • Carlton Kirby’s Sticky Bottle – The Cycling Year According to Carlton Kirby (published by Bloomsbury)
  • Sam Peters’s Concussed – Sport’s Uncomfortable Truth (published by Atlantic Books)
  • Richard J King’s Sailing Alone – A History (published by Particular Books)


  • Terry Prone’s Caution to the Wind (published by Red Stripe Press)

The Middle East

  • Toby Matthiesen’s The Caliph and the Iman – The Making of Sunnism and Shiism (published by Oxford University Press)
  • Con Coughlin’s Assad – The Triumph of Tyranny (published by Picador)

Predictability and Unpredictability

  • Kit Yates’s How to Expect The Unexpected – The Science of Making Predictions and the Art of Knowing When Not To (published by Quercus)


  • Caroline Campbell’s The Power of Art – A World History in Fifteen Cities (published by The Bridge Street Press)


  • Clive Oppenheimer, Mountains of Fire – The Secret Lives of Volcanoes (published by Hodder and Stoughton)


  • Andy Borowitz’s Profiles in Ignorance – How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber (Paperback edition) (published by Simon and Schuster)


  • David Stubbs’s Different Times – A History of British Comedy (published by Faber)


  • James Read’s Of Cabbages and Kimchi – A Practical Guide to the World of Fermented Food (published by Particular Books)


  • Gerald Dawe’s Balancing Acts – Conversations with Gerald Dawe on a Life in Poetry, edited by Frank Ferguson (published by Irish Academic Press)
  • Sarah Ruden’s Vergil – The Poet’s Life (published by Yale University Press)
  • Mark Wormald’s The Catch – Fishing for Ted Hughes (published by Bloomsbury)


  • Prophet Song by Paul Lynch (published by Oneworld)
  • Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry (published by Faber & Faber)
  • How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney(published by Harvill Secker)
  • The Bee Sting by Paul Murray (published by Hamish Hamilton)
  • Resurrection Man by Michael Connelly (published by Orion)

Books for Children

  • The Truth Detective: How to make sense of a world that doesn’t add up by Tim Harford – illustrated by Ollie Mann (published by Wren & Rook)
  • The Forgettables: Remarkable Irish People (and Animals) you’ve Never Heard of by Myles Dungan illustrated by Alan Dunne (published Gill Books)


  • Quercus: Owen Hopkins, Reading Architecture: A Visual Lexicon/ introduction to David Watkin’s A History of Western Architecture Seventh Edition