This is my 500th post! I began very tentatively in July 2006, when I wrote my first post beginning “This is my first attempt at writing a blog.” It wasn’t much of an attempt and I wrote nothing more until April 2007. I never thought then that I’d keep going for another two years and reach 500 posts! To celebrate I’m holding a giveaway – see below.
Last week we were in Scotland staying with our son and his family and whilst there we visited Linlithgow and found a really great little bookshop called, not surprisingly, the Linlithgow Bookshop. It’s on the High Street in a 16th century building, the entrance being down some steps through a small door – if you’re taller than me you have to duck your head! I’m sorry I didn’t take any photos but their website shows what it’s like. It has very friendly, helpful staff and a really good range of books, specialising in Scottish authors, children’s books, travel and fiction. In fact it’s packed with books, cards and gifts – a book lover’s heaven. We bought several books and I could have bought plenty more:
- Be Near Me by Andrew O’Hagan – an award-winning Scottish author. This book was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2006. It’s about a priest assigned to a small Scottish parish. The title attracted me first, taken from Tennyson’s “In Memoriam” and when I read the first paragraph I was hooked:
My mother once took an hour out of her romances to cast some light on the surface of things. I was just back from Rome and we stood together on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, watching the sky go black above a warship anchored in the Firth of Forth. Picture that time of day in the old city when the shop windows stand out and the streets of the New Town begin to glow with moral sentiment. She took my arm and we rested like passengers bound for our distant lives, warm in our coats and weak in our hearts, the rain falling heavily on the stone.
- Star Gazing by Linda Gillard – I wrote very briefly about her book Emotional Geology in my second post. I’ve been meaning to read this one for ages. Linda now lives in Glasgow, having spent six years living on the Isle of Skye. This book was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year 2009. It is set in Skye with a blind heroine exploring the beauty of the island, in particular the stars in the winter night sky.
- Doors Open by Ian Rankin – the award-winning Scottish crime author famous for the Inspector Rebus books. Now D I Rebus has retired this is a stand-alone thriller about a plan to steal paintings from the National Gallery of Scotland. I couldn’t resist this one either.
- Southern Uplands by Nick Williams – this was my husband’s choice. It’s a pocket mountain guide. It’s a small book but filled with beautiful photos and sketch maps. I think I’ll only be attempting the gentler walks and content myself with reading about the others. The book features
40 circular hill routes from the remote Galloway Hills and the rolling Cheviots to the folding valleys of the Borders and Edinburgh’s own Pentland skyline, this region is rich in history and diverse in topography, inspiring great days out for walkers of all levels.
- Making History by Stephen Fry (a present for our son) – what can I say about Stephen Fry? He makes me laugh and he makes me think; both are good for you. I love QI, he was wonderful as Jeeves in Jeeves and Wooster with Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster, and even further back I enjoyed the show A Bit of Fry and Laurie. His documentary The Secret Life of a Manic depressive was very good and his TV series Stephen Fry In America was fantastic (I have the book of the series) and that’s only mentioning a few of his achievements. If you follow him on Twitter you’ll be amazed at the amount of travelling he’s been doing recently – currently he’s island hopping around Indonesia (I think).
Everyone is welcome, wherever you live. Just put a comment on this post giving the title of the book you’re currently reading and whether you would recommend reading it or not and I’ll enter your names in a draw next Thursday to win a copy of Ian Rankin’s last Inspector Rebus novel Exit Music and a magnetic bookmark from the Linlithgow Bookshop.