Books read (or re-read) in 2014

The list so far…

the true origins of the once and future king
  1. Finding Arthur – Adam Ardrey, 2013 – a most enjoyable book detailing how, during the course of his own genealogical research, the author stumbled across proof of the legendary King Arthur’s actual existence in Scottish history. Evidence is drawn from clues found in historic writings, ancient place names and geography
  2. Finn McCool Rises (part 1) – Mark MacNicol, 2013 [Kindle edition] – a journalist uncovers a secret and finds herself in danger. Her only protector is Celtic hero Finn McCool, sent to her by the mysterious Ancients! The story moves between modern day Scotland and Finn’s realm of heroes and magic. Due to be released in three parts during the run up to the Scottish independence referendum. I’m pure gantin to find oot whit happens!    #indyref
  3. Jaggy Splinters – Christopher Brookmyre, 2012 [Kindle edition] – short stories. Featuring two Jack Parlabane tales and a sequel to the excellent A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away. All stories are great, in the classic Brookmyre-stylee 
  4. State of Independence – Alistair Strang, 2011 [Kindle edition] – a rather unpleasant book. Seems to be overtly anti-english but is in fact insidiously anti-scottish, full of negativity about the Scots and all their works. The hide and seek chase through the Highlands is somewhat entertaining – if it had been just a short story about that it might not have been so utterly heinous 
  5. Coconut Badger – Mark MacNicol, 2011 [Kindle edition] – a brilliant book. Edgy, funny and surprisingly moving. All the dialogue is rendered in Glesga Scots. Nasty but great!
  6. Diary of a Pilgrimage – Jerome K Jerome, 1919 [Kindle edition 2009] – a typically quirky and enjoyable story of Jerome’s journey to Germany to watch the Passion Play performed every 10 years at Oberammergau  
  7. Master of Ballantrae – Robert Louis Stevenson, 1889 [Kindle edition] – the only RLS story I’ve read but not enjoyed. An overwritten, Dickensianly-dull tale of a tedious family feud. Features the most boring pirates ever
  8. Raven Black – Ann Cleeves, 2006 [Kindle edition 2009] – first in the Shetland Island series featuring Detective Jimmy Perez. Fairly entertaining but I’m not sure I’m mad to read any more
  9. Tombstoning – Doug Johnstone, 2006 [Kindle edition 2012] – a tale of a school reunion, love and murder …in Arbroath! A really entertaining book. I’ll be looking out for more by this guy
  10. Crocodile on the Sandbank Elizabeth Peters, 1975 [Kindle edition] – first in the series about formidable victorian egyptologist Amelia Peabody and her wonderful, grumpy Emerson. Like comfort food for my brain  🙂 
  11. Around the World In 80 Days – Jules Verne, 1873 [Kindle edition] – I’m obsessed with this book. I buy every copy I come across (I had 6 or more at one time!). So, what was one of the first things to be downloaded onto my shiny new Kindle?… A glorious trans-global adventure. I love it!
  12. A Thousand-mile Walk to the Gulf – John Muir, 1916 [Kindle edition] – this should have been, and mainly was, just my sort of book. A lone wanderer, armed with nothing but a backpack and an adventurous spirit, takes a very long walk in days of yore. Sadly it was marred a good deal in the middle by the author’s constant, sickening and obviously entirely casual racism towards any and all “negroes” he encountered as he journeyed through America’s southern states. That (pretty large) fault aside it was quite a nice book
  13. Gods and Fighting Men: the story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland – Lady Augusta Gregory, 1905 [Kindle edition] – a fine book, written in english but with very gaelic-style sentence structure. An enjoyable read, though the stories of Finn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna became a bit samey after a while… Guys! How many times must you go chasing after enchanted fawns before you get the message? It’s never going to end well for you! 
  14. Gone Again – Doug Johnstone, 2013 [Kindle edition] – Excellent. At first the story is moving, heartbreaking even, but halfway through it becomes a very different book – the climactic chapters left me breathless! Highly recommended
  15. Flee – J.A. Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson, 2012 [Kindle Edition] – very exciting, almost exhausting to read. First in the Codename: Chandler series. A highly trained, very secret agent finds her cover blown. She’s fighting for her life but her enemies seem to know all her moves… Somewhat far-fetched but super entertaining nonetheless
  16. Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland – John Gregorson Campbell, 1900 [Kindle Edition 2012] – an entertaining but scholarly work, mainly concerned with tales of the Daoine Sìth (the Fairy Folk). It is at times repetitive, since the author gives variant version of some stories, but interesting and enjoyable (in an old fashioned, slightly stuffy kind of a way)
    frontispiece summarising the story 
    of my very favourite book
  17. Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, Robert Louis Stevenson, 1907 [Kindle edition 2004] – my very favourite book. Ever. I’ve read this countless times but I  always get something new – the chapter ‘A Night Among the Pines‘ is still the best though
  18. Benny & Shrimp (Grabben i graven bredvid), Katarina Mazetti, 2010 [Kindle edition] – a Swedish book recommended to me by Mo (and recommended to her by a Swedish friend). A love story written from both perspectives. Mo thought it had a ‘good ending’ but it seemed shocking to a chick reared on Hollywood romance. Mo felt she must be very hard-hearted as she watched the tears roll down my cheeks… 
  19. Walking, Henry David Thoreau, 1862 [Kindle Edition] – this essay is more a philosophic discussion of nature and civilisation than walking but enjoyable nonetheless
  20. On the West Highland Way, Jimmie Macgregor, 1985 – only the second paper book I’ve read this year. A very nice wee book – surprisingly interesting, informative and well written. The travelogue style is interspersed with history, stories and songs

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