The Second Spring
The best books for autumn
To author Albert Camus, autumn is 'a second spring where every leaf is a flower'. Featuring new books across fiction, non-fiction and children's, this special bumper Issue showcases the abundant new publishing in the second spring of 2017. So pop the kettle on and enjoy...
Extract from Who Built Scotland By Kathleen Jamie, Alexander McCall Smith, Alistair Moffat, James Robertson and James Crawford Published by Historic Environment Scotland
Far From Home: The Italian Chapel by Alexander McCall Smith
I went to the Italian Chapel on the Orcadian island of Lamb Holm on an egregiously raw spring day. Orkney is well known as a place of winds, and that week gales had roared in from the west, lashing the Pentland Firth into a maelstrom of angry waves. These gales lasted for several days, with only occasional periods of calm while the weather gods regrouped for a fresh onslaught. Going through my mind was that irredeemably dyspeptic poem by a naval officer, Hamish Blair, posted to Orkney during the Second World War. Entitled ‘Bloody Orkney’, it is a rant against everything in Orkney, including the weather, and includes the memorable lines: ‘All bloody clouds, and bloody rains’. Blair was obviously a churlish guest of these charming and friendly islands and would seem to have deserved the anonymous reply penned by one of his Orcadian hosts: ‘Captain Hamish “Bloody” Blair / Isna posted here nae mare / But no-one seems to bloody care / In bloody Orkney.’
In June, far too late to include in Moscow Calling, his new book of memoirs, Angus Roxburgh found himself under arrest in a police station in Nizhny Novgorod.
These days, he no longer works as a foreign correspondent. Those stories he once filed for the Sunday Times and the BBC about the spectacular collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the Wild West capitalism that replaced it, are old news. But every summer for the last few years, for those with enough money and interest, he has led political study tours to Russia, and that’s what he was doing, chatting over a hote...
‘An old man used to live close to this place on a raised beach, a chin on the west face of the island.’
‘The end of a book creates the feeling that the reader takes away, the last memory and enduring sense of the story.’
‘Take a look at the botanicals and it’s clear how strong an influence Colonsay’s landscape has had on this gin.’
A haunting new sci-fi story by Jack Lothian and Gerry Mac.
‘Concerned by the lurid press accounts of the time, I resolved to investigate the entire history of Little Ross Island.’
‘Silver provides a valuable path through a period of transition and social change, a time when historical sources give us few clues…’
‘The breadth of the appeal of Landseer’s work as an animal painter is hard to recapture.’
A vibrant visual showcase giving a taste of the heartwarming forthcoming book by Jonathan Meres.
‘Nae man wha loves the lawland tongue / But warsles wi’ the thocht’
‘I love the whisky term Skalk. It’s one of these great words that is shared across Scotland’s languages.’
‘I became the orraman, defined in the dictionary as ‘a farm worker kept to do any odd job which might occur’.’
‘They were hot. They were fuzzy. And Mum wanted her to wear two of them!’
‘This view of Edinburgh from Salisbury Crags clearly shows the lessons Crozier had learnt from his time studying with André Lhote in Paris.’
‘He shot a sea bird, and we landed on a sand bank where I obtained specimens of shell fish. In the evening we reached Kyles of Uist.’
Introducing Floris Books’ latest prize nominee, illustrator Kasia Matyjaszek.
‘Already the dawn is filled with their white flashing wings and their shrieking cries.’
‘Glass is easily ignored. We look through it, drink from it, admire our reflection in it, adjust our lenses and take it for granted.’
‘Flashes of fire, the frantic pace of a young runaway, flashes of landscape and of the world of travelling entertainers.’
‘Expansive as the universe / on winter’s longest night.’
Adventuring on the River Clyde on the Red Gauntlet with Captain Bobo and his crew.