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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. In this month's issue of BooksfromScotland, we invite you to stir the senses, to notice, to appreciate and reimagine the world around you with a fantastic selection of books. Here, we shine a spotlight on many genres from debut novels, nature writing and poetry to politics, short stories and childrens' books.

As part of the Year of Scotland’s Stories, we are running a series of Responses on BooksfromScotland, commissioning writers to respond to books from the Publishing Scotland membership, engaging with work in different ways. For May, Maud Rowell – author of Blind Spot: Exploring and Educating on Blindness – considers Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, and gets to the heart of the inspiration the book gives to others looking to venture out into the world.

 

The Living Mountain By Nan Shepherd Published by Canongate Books

 

‘A book is a door; on the other side is somewhere else.’

So writes Jeanette Winterson in her excellent afterword to The Living Mountain, expressing a sentiment which – to me – has never rung more true than over the pandemic years. I was a masters student when the first lockdown began and all the doors of reality were slammed shut, and my dreams of flying away after graduation froze, fixed in place some distance away from me, unmoving as desert mirages even as I marched towards them in time. The whole wide world simultaneously felt tiny (shrunk down to fit snugly around me sitting hunched over my laptop screen) and impossibly gigantic, as it must have felt in the days before air travel, before we had stripped our planet of the power of its cosmic vastness with our feats of science and engineering.

With real-life doors to carry me to far-flung places shut indefinitely, the only doors left open were books, and so I turned to some of the great works of travel writing. I flew through the audiobooks of Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia and The Songlines, and Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time Of Gifts. I fell especially in love with D H Lawrence’s Twilight in Italy and Mornings in Mexico, delighting in the imaginative rabbit holes, spun...

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Uncle Pete and the Forest of Lost Things is the second adventure in the fantasy series, this time following Uncle Pete and TM’s adventure to find their missing plane. Author David  C Flanagan has recorded an exclusive reading from the book for BooksfromScotland – check it out below.

 

Uncle Pete and the Forest of Lost Things By David C Flanagan, illustrated by Will Hughes Published by Little Door Books

 

Uncle Pete and the Forest of Lost Things  by David C Flanagan and Will ...

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ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

Only on the Weekends: Nasim Asl’s Q & A with Dean Atta click

Only on the Weekends: Nasim Asl’s Q & A with Dean Atta

‘I wanted to make it about individual characters rather than a point about anyone’s identity. It isn’t just about what they represent, it’s about who they are and how they interact with each other.’

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Q&A: The Pharmacist by Rachelle Atalla click

Q&A: The Pharmacist by Rachelle Atalla

‘As far as I’m concerned, character is story – plot can always be adapted and fixed but a novel will fail if the characters aren’t fully realised.’

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The Road Dance click

The Road Dance

‘This was the only world Kirsty MacLeod knew, but she dreamed of more. There had always been restlessness within her; it was the very essence of her. She read in her Bible of peoples and of lands so d …

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Walking North With Keats click

Walking North With Keats

‘The themes that run through Keats’s letters and poems, as well as Brown’s journal, emerged as more dramatic and intense when I looked at them again.’

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A Billion Balloons of Questions click

A Billion Balloons of Questions

‘Supporting bilingualism is crucial in allowing a child to connect with that side of their heritage and culture.’

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When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead click

When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead

‘She wandered onto the balcony, where she could peek over the trees and see ravines ravaging the landscape, just as the guidebook said. Drawing in a deep breath, a smile slipped across her lips unbidd …

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Sea Fret click

Sea Fret

‘When my shift is done, I dauner hame, in the blue gloamin.’

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David Robinson Reviews: Just Go Down the Road click

David Robinson Reviews: Just Go Down the Road

‘”I was fourteen when I was caught stealing books for the first time.”’

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Modren Makars: Yin by Irene Howat, Ann MacKinnon & Finola Scott click

Modren Makars: Yin by Irene Howat, Ann MacKinnon & Finola Scott

‘Ower excited, he waaks at crack o dawn, grabs farls fresh frae the fire, an awa til moon-rise.’

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Model Citizens click

Model Citizens

‘The air smelled hot and dusty; another scorcher in an end- less line of scorchers. Guys sold sliced fruit and canned soft drinks from barrels full of ice. Trams slid by on gleaming rails.’

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The Tick and the Tock of the Crocodile Clock click

The Tick and the Tock of the Crocodile Clock

‘But a poet is something other people identify you as. You can’t just call yourself a poet; other people have to. For other people to call me a poet I’d have to let them read my poetry. And that’s hor …

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A New Scotland click

A New Scotland

‘Our visions of justice must be integrated into our organisational practices in order to retain the energy and voices of those most marginalised and adversely affected by climate change.’

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George Bunce and the Black Wave of Fear click

George Bunce and the Black Wave of Fear

‘”Friends? Friends! You don’t have a clue.” He momentarily covered his face with both hands. “You’ve no idea how I feel. Don’t you think I’ve been punished as it is? This feels like a prison sentence …

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