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Hopefully this month many of you will be packing your suitcases and heading off to wonderful destinations across the country and beyond, and you're going to need some good reading for your travels. If you're struggling to choose, let BooksfromScotland offer some recommendations of the best new releases in fiction, crime writing, YA, travel and picture books. You might need a bigger suitcase!

We don’t mind admitting that BooksfromScotland have been on tenterhooks all year for the publication of Lucy Ellmann’s new novel, Ducks, Newburyport. The more we heard about it, the more we were intrigued. So we’re so thrilled it’s now on the bookshelves, and even more thrilled that  Lucy Ellmann agreed to speak to Lee Randall about her thoughts on the writing life, and particularly on the conflict between the private world of creating and the public world of promotion.

 

Ducks, Newburyport By Lucy Ellmann Published by Galley Beggars Press

 

Ducks, Newburyport is full of love and grief. Its 1020 pages of stream-of-consciousness plunge in and out of the lives of a middle-aged American woman and a mountain lion. I’d just finished it when Lucy Ellmann emailed to say she’d prefer to let the book speak for itself and talk instead about the custom of sending writers to public readings and book festivals.

Fine—but I predicted we were destined to disagree. Book events are my natural habitat. I programme the Granite Noir festival, on behalf of Aberdeen Performing Arts, and frequently chair book events.

Lee Randall: I was struck by the strength of your feeling that festivals and other events don’t serve writers. Why not?

Lucy Ellmann: For one thing, writers need money. If you entice writers away from their desks, at least use it as an opportunity to shove money at them. It would also be good to give them a chance to talk to each other more. I don’t think most festivals provide for that enough, except maybe in the green room, by accident.

Randall: What would constitute a useful dialogue?

Ellmann: A conference for only writers, where you have time to talk to each other about books and the book business, and how it’s all gone to pot. The collapse of the ...

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Scotland’s excellent crime writing community have been knocking it out the park in 2019, so if you’re really having trouble deciding what book to take to the beach, the hills, the tent, the caravan, or the swanky hotel (if you’re pushing the boat out), then look no further than this dazzling dozen . . .

 

Breakers by Doug Johnstone (Orenda Books)

Doug Johnstone’s latest novel has been generating the kind of reviews every writer dreams of, has been longlisted for the McIllvanney Prize, and comes recommended from the likes of Mark Billingham, James Oswald and Ian Rankin – we’re not going to argue with those plaudits!

The novel follows the troubled seventeen-year-old Tyler, who lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas, is caring for his sister and his drug-addict mum, and is bull...

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