Maeve Binchy, beloved Irish novelist who died in 2012, got her writing start as a reporter and columnist for The Irish Times. Maeve’s Times: In Her Own Words is a selection of her columns and stories that appeared in The Irish Times over five decades. These brief essays are as heartwarming and funny as her novels, but also contain serious commentary about the world around her. She reminds me of the American political writer Molly Ivins (who also died too young).
Binchy served as the “Women’s Editor” at The Irish Times in Dublin from 1968-1973; she was then transferred to London where she worked as a reporter and columnist. She resigned her staff position in the 1980′s but continued as a regular contributor to the newspaper.
Her reprinted columns are divided into groups by decade, and chart many societal changes you will recognize from the sixties to 2011. She observed and recorded everyday life, from conversations at the bus stop and in the neighborhood to giving the commoner take on national politics and the royal family. She was self-deprecating about her appearance and social skills, which just makes her easier to relate to and trust. And as is the case in her novels, the relationships among people are her best subject.
If you have enjoyed Maeve Binchy’s novels, I predict you will like this book too. But if her fiction was not quite your cup of tea, I encourage you to give her nonfiction writing a try. It is informative, observant and often funny–and always enjoyable.