"I didn't want people to read in the same way they might eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but because I wanted them to know the mind-expanding privilege of walking a mile in someone else's shoes." Cathy Rentzenbrink
Posts tagged "Scotland"
Kirstin Innes: Infinite variety

Kirstin Innes: Infinite variety

Scabby Queen is a Scottish version of the Old Maid card game in which “the queen goes round and round, and the object is to get rid of her – pass her on to the next one as quickly as you can” – and the person left with the queen is hit over the knuckles...
How Boris Johnson ruined my book launch (and Vladimir Nabokov restored it)

How Boris Johnson ruined my book launch (and Vladimir Nabokov restored it)

There’s a persistent aftertaste to bad timing. Just ask someone born on 11 September 2001, or the brides and grooms of late November 1963, after JFK’s visit to Dallas. Better yet, consider Vladimir Nabokov, whose novel The Real Life of Sebastian Knight – not nearly as famous as Lolita but arguably on par with it...
Back from the future

Back from the future

If I make a circle it doesn’t matter where I start, so let’s begin with Aaron appearing from the future. How does a time traveller arrive? By buzzing the entryphone. It halts me during Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor for organ – or rather, a piano transcription that seems too thin, too sterile – and...
Unflinching and unforgettable

Unflinching and unforgettable

Catriona Ward’s superbly crafted, atmospheric new novel Little Eve continues to expand her oeuvre as one of the most interesting writers in Britain today. Following on from her stunning gothic debut Rawblood (winner of the Best Horror Novel at the 2016 British Fantasy Awards, and shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award), Little...
Around the world in 80 trees

Around the world in 80 trees

Trees are one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. From India’s sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – as well as raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup. In Around the World in 80 Trees, Jonathan Drori uses plant science and natural history...
Morrissey built my bookshelf

Morrissey built my bookshelf

I didn’t read a lot as a child and, to a certain extent, I still don’t. Time being the most valuable commodity there is, ideas for my own writing – and the things that inspire me creatively – usually come from other sources; from visual media and, above all, from music. I’m someone who gets...
Land of the bens and the glens

Land of the bens and the glens

The Scottish clan that I belong to – or would belong to if it were now anything more than a sentimental myth – was broken a great many generations ago by a party of MacDonalds, who hunted down the last chief of my clan, captured him, refused him mercy, saying that a man who had...
Connections

Connections

When I arrived at Rose Cottage, I made sure broadband was working before the hot water. I’m medieval with Wi-Fi: concentrating on the fundamentals of making fire and baking bread while becoming increasingly reliant on my smartphone. Wherever I am, I spend most of my time with a laptop online, so I might as well...
Amy Liptrot: Wired and watchful

Amy Liptrot: Wired and watchful

Amy Liptrot’s astonishing debut memoir The Outrun is a brutally honest tale of inglorious addiction in hipster-central Hackney, and a lyrical meditation on the long path to recovery after she washes up back home on the clifftops of Orkney. Plunging into nature on the remotest islands, she dissects her desperate descent into alcoholism and the...
Made-up worlds (and a worldie maid)

Made-up worlds (and a worldie maid)

It’s a bit ridiculous to choose only ten examples of how world mythology has inspired popular culture, as the examples range into the thousands across books, films, TV, comics, games, music, fashion, and more. Any Top 10 can only be an intensely personal one, so that’s what I’ve chosen: ten of my personal favourites, taken...