Fewer books read than last year but some really fine tales none the less. Here’s the complete list…
- The crow road – Iain Banks, 1992 – the story bounces around through the personal timelines of various characters but it’s usually fairly easy to keep track. Oddly, the parts set in ‘the present’ seemed the most dated to me – 1990 was sooo long ago!
- The wild places – Robert Macfarlane, 2007 – a journey through the wildest places in the British archipelago – some of the best of which are in my own, dear Scotia
- Sunset Song – Lewis Grassic Gibbon, 1932 – volume one in the trilogy A Scots Quair. I cried when I first read it as a teenager. I sobbed (on the train!) as I finished it this time. This is a beautiful and moving book full of wonderful language, providing a glimpse into a rural life that’s long gone
- Bedlam – Christopher Brookmyre, 2013 – Brookmyre forays into the realm of sci-fi. Jolly fine work!
- And the Land Lay Still – James Robertson, 2010 – a history of Scotland pretty much covering my mum’s lifetime. It somehow manages to be simultaneously epic and intimate
- As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning – Laurie Lee, 1969 – one of my favourite books – lyrical and inspiring
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain, 1876 – I read (and enjoyed) this years ago but did not then appreciate Twain’s glorious use of language: “…the old man laughed loud and joyously, shook up the details of his anatomy from head to foot, and ended by saying that such a laugh was money in a man’s pocket…” – isn’t that wonderful!
- Calum’s Road – Roger Hutchinson, 2008 – not the most well written of books (the writer was originally a journalist) but full of interesting historical details
- Sightlines – Kathleen Jamie, 2012 – a wonderful, lyrical book. The perfect thing to read while wandering the Highlands and Islands
- Reminiscences of a Voyage to Shetland, Orkney and Scotland in the summer of 1839 – Christian Ployen (translated by Catherine Spence), 1896 – I love this book. An insight into life in Scotland nearly 300 years ago
- Stone of Destiny – Ian Hamilton, 1954 – Ian Hamilton, Kay Matheson and their gang go a-reeving down to Westminster to bring back oor wee magic stane. A right rollicking read
- Whisky Galore – Compton Mackenzie, 1951 – Tha e uabhasach math, nach eil?
- Standing in Another Man’s Grave – Ian Rankin, 2013 – Rebus is back! (thank the gods of
my book of the year
fiction). Mr Rankin, your Malcolm Fox character is far better suited to the role of semi-villain than hero. We love Rebus – deal with it
- Flesh Wounds – Chris Brookmyre, 2013 – the third Jasmine Sharp Investigations novel. Not sure if this is intended as the last in a trilogy but it has that feel – many loose ends are nicely tidied away. Yay Jasmine!
- Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886 – another of my very favourite books, one I read every year or so. The perfect accompaniment to one of my own wee Highland adventures
- Poor Things – Alasdair Gray, 1992 – always one to judge a book by it’s cover, I’ve avoided this book because I didn’t like the artwork. However, I was very wrong to do so. This is a glorious story – reminiscent of Frankenstein and the early, supernatural stories of Conan Doyle – it is also funny and feisty and a perfect book to read in the run-up to the Independence Referendum
- Blossom: What Scotland Needs to Flourish – Lesley Riddoch, 2013 – a wonderful, glorious and feisty book. Inspiring and fabulous – another must read during 2014, I’d say
- Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett, 2013 – sadly dull for a Discworld novel