A good book often leaves you with a glint in your eye; you've seen the world in a new way and that is EXCITING. This month BooksfromScotland bring you the best in fiction, memoir, history, childrens' books, art and nature writing that we hope will enliven you, get your synapses snapping and generate fresh ideas.

The environmental consequences of technological progress is an ever-present topic of conversation now as we try to counter climate change. In her book, Incandescent, Anna Levin, explores our relationship with artificial light and its affect on our health and wellbeing.


Extract taken from Incandescent: We Need to Talk About Light By Anna Levin Published by Saraband


Light wakes the world gently at this latitude. The sky softens as it ever so slowly brightens, easing from a rich, deep blue into a curious green. The stars dim gradually – like music faded so skilfully that you feel a pang for its passing but listen all the more attentively as it quietens.

Back home I’m not one for prising my sleepy body from my quilt a single moment before I must, and so the magic of dawn too often passes me by. But here – in Glen Affric in the Scottish Highlands – I wake in the darkness, and, momentarily disorientated, I reach out to feel for the campervan curtains. Then gasp out loud at the clarity and density of the stars.

I’m not used to real dark anymore – the sky around my home on a slope of central Scotland is stained from the lights of industry and the sprawl of nearby towns – so the darkness that greeted me when I arrived at this Highland loch last night was unnerving, but welcoming too. It was cloudy, and I realised – or remembered – that real dark is sometimes described as “velvet”; there is that texture to it, soft and alluring. But now the clouds have dispersed and that dark is just a canvas, a backdrop to the exhilarating star-scape that adorns it. More vocabulary takes on refreshed meaning: “a pristine sky”. That’s exactly right – it’s clean, as if the stars have been polished. And another one: “gaze” – a sense of awe enshrined in the language; we watch birds and even whales, but we gaze at stars....


When contemplating the new year, Esther Rutter decided she couldn’t face going back to her office job. An avid knitter, she decided instead to travel round Britain discovering how wool and textiles had shaped the country. This Golden Fleece is the result of that journey, and David Robinson finds there is much to offer to those who don’t know how to cast off too.


This Golden Fleece: A Journey Through Britain’s Knitted History By Esther Rutter Published by Granta


Here’s a code I never cracked but you might. Have a go.  UU/OOO, UOU/OUOO/UUOOUU/OOUUOO. Any ideas?

Once you’ve worked out that O is for over and U is for under and the slash means a turn or change in the needle direction, you might have worked out that what we are talking about are shorthand instructions for nålebinding. Nålebinding? you ask. Of course: any book about the British knitting that didn...



The Secret Life of Books click

The Secret Life of Books

‘Our books are leading a double life. As well as being containers of words, they are things imbued with their own significance.’


Surfacing click


‘The sea on one side, fields on the other. I’d been daydreaming, but I came to my senses to notice that a shining spread of sea had appeared in my window, superimposed over the fields of brown earth. …


Kristian Kerr Reviews: To Calais, In Ordinary Time click

Kristian Kerr Reviews: To Calais, In Ordinary Time

‘When travelling towards the pestilence was a theoretical possibility, I had fortitude. Now I may actually go, I am terrified.


Scottish Art in an Age of Radical Change click

Scottish Art in an Age of Radical Change

‘We wanted to experiment, try things out and see where they might lead. We still don’t know if what we do is art. That issue seems superfluous.’


The Boy With The Butterfly Mind click

The Boy With The Butterfly Mind

‘Maybe I’ll be able to have an operation to fix my brain so I can concentrate and think like normal people.’


Cut and Paste click

Cut and Paste

‘All of a sudden, the age-old relationship between the subject and the artist’s representation of it has been turned upside down and inside out.’


A HarperCollins History of Crime Fiction click

A HarperCollins History of Crime Fiction

‘Due to the unwavering popularity of crime stories, Collins have amassed a collection of some of the greatest writers in history.’


The King Over The Water click

The King Over The Water

‘Found guilty, the doctor was forbidden to preach for three years, his sermons being burned by the common hangman, but it was a Pyrrhic victory for the government.’


Enigma click


‘Balme’s pinch saved countless Allied ships and lives, and brought about the end of numerous U-boats and their crews.’


The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow click

The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow

‘Gail fought to make her legs move faster but the shadow was always ahead of her.’