The Christmas Issue
The best books for festive gifting
Planning to gift books to friends and family for Christmas but need some inspiration? Then look no further as we've got it covered. Our Issue spans Christmassy crime, nature writing, stories in Scots, award-winning novels, bold translated fiction, epic adventuring across continents, cookery and much more. With books to suit all tastes across non-fiction, fiction, and children's publishing, all that remains to be said is merry Christmas. We wish you happy yuletide gifting and reading!
Memory and Straw By Angus Peter Campbell Published by Luath Press
It started simply as part of my work. Technology has developed so rapidly that it’s difficult to remember we grew up without any of this assistance. My dad used to take me fishing, and the best thing was simply making the rods: gathering fallen bits of branches from the forest, then whittling them down by the stove on the Friday evening.
‘Splice forwards,’ he’d say, holding my hand steady as I cut the knife through the wood. ‘And always go with the grain.’
Hazel was best. It was pliable, yet firm. After a while it moulded into the shape of your hand.
I now know that my ancestors had other means of moving through time and space, and the more I visit there the simpler it becomes. For who would not want to fly across the world on a wisp of straw, and make love to a fairy woman with hair as red as the sunset?
The more I discover, the more I like the precision of their world: to dream of your future husband, you pluck a few ears of corn with the stalk and place them with your right hand under the left side of your pillow. Threshed corn will not do. Exactitude was important. Otherwise, the magic wouldn’t work. If you made a clay corpse it had to be in the image of the person you wanted to harm. You pierced the body exactly where you wanted the ailment to strike. Curses, just like blessings, were specific. Once extracted from their native heath and time they don’t work.
I work in nanotechnology, which is where my drive for precision found its home. The...
Expressive Exploration: Mapping Scotland’s New Nature Writing
In August, at the 2017 Edinburgh International Book Festival, Scotland’s greatest living nature writer launched his memoir. Even in 1969, ten years after he wrote Ring of Bright Water (Longmans, 1960), Lister-Kaye’s mentor Gavin Maxwell would never have dreamed of writing about how the psychodramas of his own repressed homosexuality found expression in a deep love of otters. Back then, nature writing was a fusion of enchanted lyricism and descriptive accuracy, nothing at all to do with the wri...
‘Explorers often took on many roles […] as scientists, cartographers, ethnographers, even negotiators and diplomats.’
‘The 8 skaters skooshin were unashamedly a homage to Henry Raeburn’s iconic painting.’
‘Now the oldest curry house in Glasgow, the Koh-I-Noor is over fifty years old.’
‘The questions asked that Christmas perforated me with more force than hunters’ bullets.’
‘A shift away from storytelling towards an art that is self-referential and critical of its own means of production.’
A vibrant glimpse into running South America – 6,504 miles over 15 months.
‘He stared down at me like he was Father Christmas and I the little helper who’d sold Rudolph to a venison farm.’
A snapshot of a beautifully illustrated tale, of Jack Frost’s moonlight capers, told in Scots.
‘This boy knows that he’s found something he’s always going to love: holding onto a rope, and starting out on an adventure.’
‘Moon gardening is simply about adapting your daily gardening tasks in order to benefit from lunar patterns.’
John Byrne, David Hockney and more feature in this colourful exploration of Bill Hardie’s influential life in art.
A visual gallery of Chris Riddell’s artwork from I Killed Father Christmas.
Insight into circumnavigating the Mediterranean by sea kayak, foot, ocean rowboat and bike.
‘Henry must have exhibited an early fascination with flowers.’
‘We stayed in the town of Tigre on the Paraná Delta the whole winter, engulfed by the fog from the river.’
A fun guide to knitting Scotland in miniature from William Wallace to Nessie and more!
‘I became determined to recapture some of the atmosphere of what was a lost era, unlikely to return.’
‘A few decades after Union, numerous market towns were planned and (re)built.’