Lisa Hannigan

Great works of fiction and memoir from the singer's bookshelf.



Irish singer/songwriter Lisa Hannigan first made a name for herself as the musical partner of Damien Rice, lending her sultry vocals to the albums O and 9. After the two parted ways, Hannigan began releasing music as a solo artist, including the eclectic Sea Sew and, more recently, Passenger, an album as disarmingly sweet as it is defiant. This week she points us to three favorite books that pained her to put down.


Music by Lisa Hannigan



Let the Great World Spin

By Colum McCann


"I read this book a few years ago and it has stayed with me ever since. It is one of those that makes you wish you had nothing else to do but read it and, as you near the end, makes you wish that it would last a bit longer. The story is vast in scale and the characters numerous and seemingly unconnected. He weaves them all together with such heartbreaking grace and beautiful prose that it seems strangely effortless and true."



Skippy Dies

By Paul Murray


"I was reading this book while writing my second record, Passenger, and one of the songs in particular, 'Home', was heavily influenced by it. Set in a boys boarding school in South County Dublin, it tells the story of a group of 14-year-old boys as they negotiate their way through teenage life. It is both beautifully written and uproariously funny, and, like the book above, I hated when it came to an end."



Just Kids

By Patti Smith


"This stunning memoir is an elegy to a life lived in the service of art."

April 17: "In less than three years, both GM and Chrysler would be bankrupt, and a resurgent Ford would wow Wall Street..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.