2022 is the Year of Stories, a year dedicated to Scotland's stories through the themes of Iconic Stories and Storytellers, New Stories, Scotland's People and Places, Local Tales and Legends and Inspired by Nature. And as BooksfromScotland are enjoying the summer sunshine, and the latest summer book releases, we can't but help recommend the books we think you should be putting in your suitcases for your holidays. From fabulous fiction, children's picture books and brilliant poetry to engrossing history, delightful cookery books and inspiring memoir, all the books here are guaranteed to keep you thrilled while you try to keep cool.

Patrick Jamieson discovers two impressive debut novels from two of Scotland’s most successful comedians.


Meantime By Frankie Boyle Published by Baskerville

The Black Dog By Kevin Bridges Published by Wildfire


In a publishing climate dominated by celebrity memoirs and political diatribes, you could be forgiven for approaching the debut novels of Frankie Boyle and Kevin Bridges with an air of cynicism. Meantime (Baskerville, July 22) and The Black Dog (Wildfire, August 22), both written during lockdown and published this summer, have been granted pre-ordained status as major literary events thanks to the reputations of the two beloved Scottish comics. Thankfully, neither make any apologies for this, and within just a handful of pages it becomes clear that these stand-up comics are more natural authors than most influencers or stale politicians.

Of course, this should come as no surprise. Since the New Wave in the 1950s and 60s, stand-up comedy has increasingly become a narrative artform anchored by storytelling. The performance of a stand-up comedy routine requires many abilities familiar to the novelist: a sensitive consideration of audience, a sophisticated understanding of structure, and the ability to elicit pathos. More and more comics play with the rules and expectations of the form in a manner reminiscent of post-modern literature, while the authored personas of many comics speak to a deep sensitivity for character and an ability to blur fiction and reality so characteristic of much contemporary fiction. In fact, it’s a wonder more haven’t taken to writing novels.

All of these traits come to the fore in Meantime and The Black Dog, which offer different but equally impressive examples of comic-authored debuts. In Meantime, th...


Following on from his acclaimed Poverty Safari, Darren McGarvey explores Britain’s long-distance relationship with reality. The vocal and the voiceless and the powerful from the powerless feel ever more disconnected, and so questions of how to truly change for the better – for all – are all the more important. Read an extract below.


Extract taken from The Social Distance Between Us By Darren McGarvey Published by Ebury Press


To me, words are like music. When arranged in a particular way, and written or spoken with a certain conviction, an alluring harmony is produced which I find immediately arresting. What is being said, it’s meaning or, indeed, whether I agree or not comes entirely secondary to this initial capture of my fleeting attention. I am often propelled by a sudden, ferocious interest into a particular field of thought or study – not necessarily by a desire to educ...



The Book…According to Denise Mina click

The Book…According to Denise Mina

‘The truth is that structure deserves to be broken and readers are delighted and refreshed when it happens.’


Children of Paradise: A Q & A with Camilla Grudova click

Children of Paradise: A Q & A with Camilla Grudova

‘The films each chapter are named after were an inspiration. I try to hide a bit of each film in the book for people who have seen those films.’


Boy Friends: An Interview with Michael Pedersen click

Boy Friends: An Interview with Michael Pedersen

‘It is a book with grief squat in its belly, but it’s mainly about celebration.’


Free to Go click

Free to Go

‘Between mugs of restorative coffee, I turned to what I knew: my own memories of open borders, when I drove a motorbike halfway across the world with my husband.’


Nudes click


‘This was the first time I remember seeing snow in Georgia.’


The Bookseller of Inverness click

The Bookseller of Inverness

‘I had long resisted the idea of a novel on the Jacobites. Born in Inverness and brought up in the Highlands, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t know the story of Culloden and its aftermath.’


The Edge of the Plain click

The Edge of the Plain

‘A border is such a simple idea. Step across a line, whether you can see it or not, and you are somewhere else.’


David Robinson Reviews: The Last Days by Ali Millar click

David Robinson Reviews: The Last Days by Ali Millar

‘The real skill of this memoir is that the reader can see this wider picture even as Millar describes feelings which often might seem to contradict it.’


The Arctic click

The Arctic

‘We too thought our contemporaries were doing vital work.’


The Boy Who Rescued a Rainbow click

The Boy Who Rescued a Rainbow

‘What does it mean to be strong, brave and fearless?’


be/longing: A Q & A with Amanda Thomson click

be/longing: A Q & A with Amanda Thomson

‘I also held questions about the identities we perhaps each hold in a myriad of ways, and what it means to belong, and, perhaps, what might stop us from belonging.’


Creative Response: Arusa Qureshi on Brickwork click

Creative Response: Arusa Qureshi on Brickwork

‘For many, those railway arches underneath Glasgow’s Central Station will always be synonymous with the best of Scottish arts and culture and what belief, perseverance and a little bit of anarchy can …


Vestigial: Nasim Rebecca Asl Interviews Juana Adcock click

Vestigial: Nasim Rebecca Asl Interviews Juana Adcock

‘But reading Lanark while going on these lockdown walks…the city looked completely different. I noticed things I’d never seen before.’


In the Shadow of Piper Alpha click

In the Shadow of Piper Alpha

‘Pressure turns carbon into diamonds; given enough time anything can happen.’


Ginger and Me click

Ginger and Me

‘My nose was long and straight, my dad’s nose, but my smile was terrible, like I’d spotted someone across the room that I had to pretend to be pleased to see.’


A Recipe from Biting Biting click

A Recipe from Biting Biting

‘My husband will eat this in one sitting if I let him.’


Seasonality click


‘It is about what I see, what I hear and what I feel as I observe the ever-changing beauty that surrounds us all.’


The Forgery click

The Forgery

‘The pain immediately absorbs all my strength and I’m unable to endure it. It’s about to annihilate me when something surges from within my own mind and sucks me into its tiniest corner. A dark, quiet …


Scotland: The Global History click

Scotland: The Global History

‘‘Auld Lang Syne’, now often accounted the second most widely used song globally after ‘Happy Birthday to You’, has a much longer history since it appeared in Robert Burns’ version in 1796.’