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."

July 29: On this day in 1878 Don Marquis was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).