Feast Your Eyes
We may have to spend more time in our houses just now, but that doesn't mean we have to forego treats, and this issue of BooksfromScotland is full of 'em. From fiction to cooking to nature, hobbies and football, we hope you'll find joy and inspiration, and a whole lot of good reading.
Canongate have a beautiful collection of books about food on on their list and one of BooksfromScotland’s recent favourites is the wonderful Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community and the Meaning of Generosity by Priya Basil. It’s a brilliant gift to anyone who loves to entertain. She writes:
In English ‘to cook something up’ means to prepare food, but also to invent stories or schemes, to concoct something out of fantasy. When I first started writing I also baked a lot, mostly on days when the writing wasn’t going well. It soothed me, alongside the slow and intangible creation of a novel, to cook up something that was quickly ready and edible. A cake can bring simple, instant self-gratification and appreciation from others, whereas writing – for all its rewards – is always accompanied by self-doubt. Moreover, the reactions of others, even when positive, are rarely enough for me. I’m perpetually hungry for some extra validation, which nobody in the world can give. Only in the act of writing is that hunger satisfied, for I become, briefly, bigger than myself, capable of hosting the entire universe and yet treating every single person in it as if they were my only guest. This feat feeds and sates my ravenous self, my need to be and to have everything.
Stories enact a form of mutual hospitality. What is story if not an enticement to stay? You’re invited in, but right away you must reciprocate and host the story back, through concentration: whether you read or hear a narrative – from a book or a person – you need to listen to really understand. Gr...
Extract taken from The Unremembered Places: Exploring Scotland’s Wild Histories By Patrick Baker Published by Birlinn Ltd
Of all of Scotland’s wild places, its wild islands enthral me the most. Perhaps it’s some relic from childhood. The consequence of reading so many children’s books that imbued islands with a sense of mystery and adventure. They were the realms of exploit and exploration, wondrous territories described in a tantalising prose of danger and discovery. Places such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, that could claim ‘latitude...
‘The growing season, such as it is, is fast and brief.’
‘if you want war, peace, dark secrets and edgy characters you can believe in, Lesley Glaister is in it for the long haul.’
‘There are fights and misunderstandings and new relationships (and a happy ending).’
‘As well as LeithLate’s mural map, I’ve come across a few unofficial murals dotted around the neighbourhood.’
‘I’m not sure that I agree that youth is wasted on the young, but I do think it a pity that when you’re young you’re not old enough to enjoy it.’
‘They’d become friends. More than friends. Wilma loved her, of that Maggie was sure. And – the realisation hit home – she loved Wilma.’
‘most of your mother’s songs are still worth singing’
‘What she doesn’t tell him is that Marie was terrified of the ordinary, the mundane, of being sucked into mediocrity and disappearing without a trace. She didn’t watch TV, she didn’t do small talk, sh …
‘But, of course, after some prompting, they all recall the goal. Who wouldn’t in a Cup Final?’
Todd Westbrook graduated from the University of Vermont in 1987 and the University of Strathclyde in 1993. He is an experienced writer, editor and reporter with more than a million words published to date. He has lived in Scotland for many years. This …
Historic Environment Scotland Historic Environment Scotland is the lead public body for Scotland’s historic environment: a charity dedicated to the advancement of heritage, culture, education and environmental protection. Our books tell the stories of …