After the revels of the summer and before preparing for the winter festive season is the time to step back, take a breath, and enjoy home, hearth and friends. Once again, we take comfort in the familiar and get back to a routine. For many, this change to autumn is a favourite time of the year and the perfect time to introduce yourself to new books.

In this month's issue we've gathered together a selection of titles that celebrate the wonder of the seasons and remind us that despite Tolstoy's famous quote 'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,' we wouldn't be without them.

On 31 December 1918, hours from the first New Year of peace, hundreds of Royal Naval Reservists from the Isle of Lewis boarded the HMY Iolaire at the Kyle of Lochalsh to return home. As the boat headed into Stornoway pier, she piled onto rocks off the coast. 205 men drowned, on their own doorstep, in front of their loved ones. In one of the most eagerly-anticipated novels of year, As the Women Lay Dreaming explores the aftermath of this worst peacetime British disaster at sea, the grief, the survivors’ guilt, and the changes over time to a close-knit community. The novel will be released for Remembrance Day in November, and BooksfromScotland are thrilled to bring you an exclusive pre-publication extract.


Extract taken from As the Women Lay Dreaming By Donald S Murray Published by Saraband


It took me years to look at my grandfather’s journals. For decades they remained with me, undisturbed and unopened for fear that if I ever prised open their covers, the ghosts and demons of my own childhood, their sense of loss and sorrow, would leap out and overwhelm me, emerging from the darkness of my dreams. Besides, there was always so much to get on with. The everyday business of my own existence. My work as an art teacher in a secondary school in Glasgow. The joys and travails of my own family life, one that seemed, on occasion, to follow the pattern of my grandfather’s days. I, too, have had two marriages. Getting on in years now – already older than he was back then – and finding it hard to cope with the energy of my son, Jamie, I have often looked back with envy at the tolerance, patience and love my grandfather showed me. There have all too often been times when I could muster none of these, when I longed to be free of Jamie’s shadow, when I wanted to escape the hold that duty and obligation had over my life.

It was, perhap...


In Who Built Scotland: 25 Journeys in Search of a Nation, five of Scotland’s most prominent writers and historians rediscover Scotland’s history through their appreciation of some of Scotland’s most iconic buildings. In one chapter, a rumination on Scotland’s most famous church – Auld Alloway Kirk – sends James Robertson on a journey back into his own family history.


Extract from Who Built Scotland? 25 Journeys in Search of a Nation By Kathleen Jamie, Alexander McCall Smith, James Robertson, Alistair Moffat and James Crawford Published by Historic Environment Scotland


Near the village of Evanton on the north side of the Cromarty Firth, is yet another ruinous church. You leave the A9 and go down a single-track road to the burial ground of Kiltearn, right on the shoreline. There is a new cemetery here, but the one that interests me surrounds the now derelic...



Fishnet Returns: An Interview with Kirstin Innes click

Fishnet Returns: An Interview with Kirstin Innes

‘I’m here. I’m here. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone, and yet my sister has found a way of removing herself completely from this matrix of nosiness, has wiped her fingerprin …


David Robinson Reviews: Transcription by Kate Atkinson click

David Robinson Reviews: Transcription by Kate Atkinson

‘There was a trollish look to him, as if he had been put together from leftovers. He could have been sent over from Booking [a department at the BBC, where Juliet works] to play one of the dispossesse …


‘Amber’ – A Short Story taken from New Writing Scotland click

‘Amber’ – A Short Story taken from New Writing Scotland

‘I met her gaze, knowing as I did that it was a her, not just any her, but you. Then as I moved forward, very slowly, socks sliding over the grey linoleum, you moved back towards the door, silent as a …


The Sound of Iona click

The Sound of Iona

‘I need nothing:  all I want is where I am.’


A Scots Dictionary of Nature click

A Scots Dictionary of Nature

‘Other words, however, might point to future ways of seeing the world, where we might take the time just to pause and look more, and see anew, or perhaps recognise familiar complications, joys and the …


The Last Wolf click

The Last Wolf

‘But things were not good at the castle. My father was very ill. He’d had a minor stroke, followed by a more serious one and was confined to bed. He was being looked after by nurses. His condition was …


Into the Peatlands: A Journey Through the Moorland Year click

Into the Peatlands: A Journey Through the Moorland Year

‘She was taken out onto the moor where the family had for generations cut the thick, muddy peat to burn as fuel. At a particular spot the top turf was removed for her and there, preserved in the peat, …