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    February 2023
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    The Sense of Place in Scottish Magazines

    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.

    A Sense Of Place In Scottish Magazines

    A Sense Of Place In Scottish Magazines

    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 greysscots-magazine-august-2009-poem-awm520

    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.


    The 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…

    Knotts And Crosses - Inspector Rebus series - Ian Rankin

    Knotts And Crosses - Inspector Rebus series - Ian Rankin


    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 ?

    A bientôt.


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    2 comments to The Sense of Place in Scottish Magazines

    • Let me know if you would like a complimentary copy of the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club Bulletin. Lee

      • Thank you Mr Simpson for visiting our site and for your kind offer! We would be delighted to receive a copy of the Walter Scott Club Bulletin as Janice does not have a copy. We intend to write a post in a near future on your very interesting publication.

        Our reading of Sir Walter Scott’s novels is coming along “lentement mais surement”, and will write about “The Magician of the North” on Scotiana shortly. Looking forward to going back to Abbotsford and Edinburgh in 2010.

        Best regards and kindly transmit a Bonjour from our part to Mr Elgin Fraser with whom we had a very nice correspondance in 2008. Mairiuna and Janice.

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