How are we going to cope with our Scottish reading list, that’s what I wonder Janice… we’re adding new authors and new books everyday, in all genres, from all times and not only Scottish books of course, though these ones do appear to be on the top of our list ! Not to mention our favourite Scottish magazines : Scots, The Scots Magazine, History Scotland, the ASLS publications and so on and so on…
To begin with, let us choose one feature in the following magazines to introduce them. A very difficult choice indeed and most frustrating too ! It will take several posts to introduce each of them and then we’ll come back to speak about other articles we’ve read in them.
Sounds fair to begin my study with the small-format mythical Scots Magazine. Being a reader of it since several years, I couldn’t do without it now and I’m always looking forward to receiving it in my “boîte à malle” as you say in Quebec, Janice. In the welcoming page of the magazine website the editor introduces it in these words :
The world’s most widely-read Scottish interest publication. First published in 1739 , The Scots Magazine has evolved into a colourful, authoritative, thought-provoking monthly periodical with many thousands of readers worldwide. Scotland: the country, the people, the culture are all in The Scots Magazine.
There is one page that comes immediately to my mind when I think of it, and that’s a beautiful one illustrating a printed poem. Indeed that’s always the first I read when I receive my copy of the magazine. See below the one published in the last issue of The Scots Magazine, in August 2009. Whether you already visit Scotland or not, you will immediately feel the very strong “sense of place” which is expressed in it. I like it very much.
LEAVING behind the graduated greys
Of slow-mo clouds at down
We drove, then walked
Towards the indigo horizon
Deep in Highland heart.
Dipping in at times to bathe
In thousand-variation purple-greens
We walked on, lapping up
The distant whites of burns
And feldspar falls.
Rain came down in quick time,
Then andante, turning
Granite stones to red
But the cold, grey scree by Devil’s Point
Stayed ecclesiastic black…
Until, from summit cairn we saw
A rainbow – rich, radiant, bright –
Grow and spread out,
Summing up today’s delight,
This day of coloured light.
“Colourings” David Elder. Illustration : Norma Maclean. The Scots Magazine – August 2009 -
Soon, I’ll tell you a few words about the other magazines which are listed above and also about the medieval-looking publication you can see below which is edited by the distinguished Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club.
I had no idea when we embarked on our Scottish Literary Quest that we were about to discover so many paths and that they would lead us so far. That was like entering a deep and mysterious forest with lights twinkling here and there… quite fascinating !
I invite our reader to follow us on our path into the Caledonian forest to try and discover what kind of people are hiding there…
Maybe it could be helpful to establish a list of the Scottish books we’ve already read. We promise one soon. Now, on my desk I have:
Ian Rankin’s Knots & Crosses with a bookmark at the beginning of chapter 9. That’s the first book on our Rebus list, though we’ve already read Set in Darkness (can’t help thinking about Conrad’s Heart of Darkness when reading the title) and McLure’s White Death still opened at page 45. A medical thriller, “absolutely enthralling” as described by the Medical Journal on the back cover of the book. Shuddering. And it rings a bell ! I can’t help feeling when reading Mr McLure, that what he describes in his novel, sounds like what’s happening today with the H1N1. Very humane story. That little boy, Keith Taylor, could be our child. A horrible fate indeed. One moment of relief however for my nerves … the unexpected and funny note in a most tense atmosphere: while I was in the garden, reading the sad story of poor Trish Lyons, a butterfly landed on my page.
Well, a detective novel and a medical thriller. They should be finished soon. “Vite dépêchons-nous!”. After reading your last post about Christopher Brookmyre, Janice, I already feel like buying his books. I would like to know more about his interest in ghosts.
You said he won the Sherlock Award for Best Comic Detective ? Could you tell us more about that Sherlockian award, Janice ?