Books on Scotland

Old Jan 27th, 2005, 09:17 AM
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Books on Scotland

Going through my books I realizze I have nothing on Scotland except a beautiful little book my friend in
London gave me. He liked to fish until he was struck with Parkinson's. The book has lovely illustrations.
" Days on Sea Loch And River."
Can anyone suggest a book of fiction that makes you get a taste of the land?
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 09:40 AM
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Scottish novels--where to start?? If it's historical fiction, start with Scotland's greatest novelist, Sir Walter Scott, and his Waverley novels. Some of Stevenson's novels, such as Kidnapped, are also set in Scotland.

I've always enjoyed Sir Compton Mackenzie's "Whiskey Galore" (based on a true incident), set on a fictional island.

You could also look at some of Muriel Spark's novels such as "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie", and John Buchan's "The 39 Steps"

For modern fiction, there's Ian Rankin's INspector Rebus novels, and if you want the grittier side of things, Irvine Welsh. However, these two are urban novelists, so if a "taste of the land" means the countryside, you might not find them very satisfying.

I'm sure there will be many more suggestions, but this is a start.
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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Hi, laverendye,
those I have read, I want something more recemt. But I'll try your recent ones
Have you seen the old film Whisky Galore?
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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i'm very fond of "bride of the mchugh," set in the days after the battle of culloden. the book led me to visit castle campbell.
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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how could i have forgotten h.v. morton's wonderful in search of scotland?
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 10:17 AM
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Cigalechanta: I know you were looking for fiction, but the mention of H.V. Morton brings to mind David McFadden's wonderful "An Innocent in Scotland: More Curious Rambles and Singular Encounters", published in 1999, in which the author recounts his travels through Scotland, with Morton as his guide. It is a sequel to his "An Innocent in Ireland", which is equally delightful.
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 10:21 AM
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P.S. I have seen and enjoyed the film, also released as "Tight Little Island". I think the book is even better.
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 10:26 AM
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And here's a dissenting view on the Morton book. ALthough I'd read and liked a number of his other books, "In Search of Scotland" set my teeth on edge. I found it condescending to the Scots, whom he portrayed mainly in stereotypical terms. However, that's just my opinion -- I realize that the book is still popular, so obviously not everyone agrees.

Do you have anywhere particular in Scotland in mind? For dated, but still excellent descriptions of the northeast and the Highlands, I recommend Neil Gunn. For Orkney, George Mackay Brown. For Edinburgh and sheer anti-fundamentalist vitriol, there's James Hogg's classic Private Memoirs and COnfessions of a Justified Sinner.

There's also tons and tons of more contemporary fiction, but I'm afraid I'm not really au courant with most of it, aside from things like Ian Rankin's mysteries. I'll try to give it some thought, though.
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 01:12 PM
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I, on the other hand, am.

Mimi, the range is immense, and the stles eclectic.

I've just finished a modern novel called "The Blue Moon Book" which is super; before that I read "It's no wonder I take a Drink"; which is a hoot. You have the works of James Fenton and Alasdair Gray, and Fergus Lamont and Robin Jenkins.

Don't forget Lewis Grassic Gibbon and his fantastic "Scots Quair". James Kennaway and his "Tunes of Glory" (another movie) and anything by William McIlvanney.

I might mention one J K Rowling (although she's an incomer), and then there's the new talent, Ruaridh Nicoll. Mira Dennis's Glasgow crime fiction and "Official and Doubtful" by Ajay Close.

Jessie Kesson and James Kelman, Janice Galloway "Oranges are not the only Fruit", Alan Warner and Iain Banks, Christopher Brookmyer, Gavin Maxwell, A L Kennedy.

"The Warlock of Strathearn"- can't remember the writer- and there are tose who say that Geoge Macdonald's fairy stories are the inspiration for Tolkein.

John Lister-Kaye's "Song of the Rolling Earth".

God the list is endless. Robertson's Fanatick, or "Joseph Knight". I must go to bed with a book now.
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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Sheila, lass, I'll take note of your list for my own reading (thank you!), but I do have a correction. "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" is by Jeanette Winterston, and both she and the book are non-Scottish. I'll bet the Janice Galloway book you're thinking of is "The Trick Is To Keep Breathing".
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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WHAT RICHES!!! Thanks ALL!!
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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Does it have to be a fiction book...if you can find H V Morton 's In Search of Scotland and In Scotland Again, you will have read something that will remain with you for a very long time. They don't make travel writers like him anymore!
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Old Jan 28th, 2005, 02:12 AM
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Sheila, by "Mira Dennis's Glasgow crime fiction", do you mean Denise Mina ? I enjoyed her Garnethill trilogy.

There is also Louise Welsh's 'The Cutting Room'.
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Old Jan 28th, 2005, 02:14 AM
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Duh!
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Old Jan 28th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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No one has mentioned Diana Gabaldon, and we used to have such a following for her Jamie Fraser.
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Old Jan 28th, 2005, 11:32 PM
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Not here, she didn't!
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 08:34 AM
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I love "Lady of the Glen: A Novel of 17Th-Century Scotland and the Massacre of Glencoe" by Jennifer Roberson. It is a historical romance novel. Don't let the romance put you off - it's not a cheesy romance, and the setting and characters are very evocative of Scotland. And I've heard the historical parts are accurate.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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A book I loved, which is not fiction, is Adam Nicholson's "Sea Room", about life in the Hebrides, as seen in the history of some very small islands he inherited.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 06:49 PM
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Excellent history of Scotland - HOW THE SCOTS INVENTED THE MODERN WORLD by Arthur Herman. Intriguing.

Enjoy! Helen
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 10:16 PM
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A non-fiction book that I really enjoyed is Dear Francesca by Mary Contini. It's actually about Italy as well as Scotland (and about Italians in Scotland).

It is written in the form of a letter from mother to daughter and is part cookbook, part family history, telling the story of one of the many Italian families to make the move to Scotland in the early 20th century. There is still a large Italian population in Edinburgh, and Contini is related to the Crolla family, a branch of whom started the famous Edinburgh deli, Valvona and Crolla.
Admittedly, I don't know whether it could really be called a "book on Scotland", but it is a great read and the recipes (mainly Italian with some Scottish thrown in) are lovely.
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