500th Post! And a Giveaway

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.

linlithgow-bookshopLast 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).


Because this is my 500th post I’m having a book giveaway.  It has a Scottish connection as I’ve been reading books by Scottish authors or set in Scotland recently (and our son lives there). exit-music

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.


42 thoughts on “500th Post! And a Giveaway

  1. 🙂 yay contest.
    I just finished reading The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies, and yeah I could recommend it. It was well written.
    Haven’t started on anything new yet.


  2. Congrats on the 500th post Marg. I’ve just finished what I think is the best book I’ve read so far this year. Author: Richard Montanari
    Title: PLAY DEAD (aka BADLANDS). I’ll put my review up in a couple of days. Don’t include me in your giveaway though, I’ve read EXIT MUSIC


  3. Thanks for mentioning STAR GAZING on your blog, Margaret. I’m the author. 🙂 I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it.

    I’m currently reading MY PERFECT SILENCE by Penelope Evans, an author new to me. I’d recommend it with one reservation. It’s extremely well written and makes for compelling reading, but I’m finding the plot a bit predictable. I shall certainly try some of her other books because of the quality writing. IMHO Evans is in the same league as Sophie Hannah and Frances Fyfield.


  4. Congrats for the 500th post.

    Right now, I am reading The Farwalker’s Quest by Joni Sensel…..a YA fantasy book. I find that I am liking it.

    And also reading Beloved by Toni Morrison. Her prose is marvellous.

    Recommend both.


  5. Congratulations on blogging 500 posts over two years!

    I love Stephen Fry as well- his The ode less travelled convinced me to read more poetry, and I really enjoyed his Gutenberg and maniac depression docos.

    Please enter me in the draw for Exit music- I’m currently reading Set in darkness by Ian Rankin and would certainly recommend it. The Rebus series gets better as it goes on, I’ll be sad when I’ve read them all. I’m also more slowly reading the fascinating Proust and the squid: the story and science of the reading brain by Maryanne Wolf.


  6. Congratulations on your 500th posting! I’m new to your blog and enjoy your entries.

    I just finished A DARKER DOMAIN by Val McDermid and thought it was excellent.

    Would love to win the Rankin book.


  7. This is a fun post! I would love to be considered in the give away. I just finished reading ‘Sunday at Tiffany’s’ It was a good read. It was a very light and interesting love story. Congratulations on your 500 posts.


  8. Congrats on your 500th post!

    I’m currently reading The Tenth Cast by Joseph Teller, it’s been very interesting so far so I would definitely recommend it.

    I’m also reading Isolation by Travis Thrasher and enjoying it immensely too.


  9. A week ago I started to read William Faulkner’s “Absalom- Absalom” but I really had a problem getting into it. After a few chapters,I gave it up, promising to return when my mood changed ( I always feel like such a quitter when I give up on a book!. )
    I quickly found ,sleeping on my bookshelf ,an unread copy of Jeffrey Meyers’ “A Life”, a bio of Somerset Maugham . I’ ve since become consummed with it and will probably finish it tonite…a speed reading record for me!
    I would very enthusiasticaly recommend it to anyone although It would probably fit better with Maugham fans such as myself.
    Hope I’m not too late for the drawing.
    Please have a very happy 500th post celebration.
    Wally Jenkins New York


  10. Congratulations on your 500th post! That bookstore looks great! I am currently reading The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. I am loving it so far. It’s about the “true” story of Alice in Wonderland. Very cool. I would definitely recommend it. Thanks for the giveaway!


  11. Huge congratulations on your 500th post! I really enjoy reading your blog. I’m bingeing on Oxford books at the moment, having just got back from there, and reading Barbara Pym’s Crampton Hodnet, which is deliciously funny.


  12. Congratulations on 500 posts!
    I’d love to read more Rankin so please enter my name in for the giveaway. Thanks!
    I’m currently reading The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy. It’s Biblical fiction and while I’m not terribly knowledgeable about the Bible, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of it so far.


  13. congrats on 500 posts! that is quite the achievement.

    i’m currently reading Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust. it is a read-along with a few other bloggers – hosted by Frances of Nonsuch Book.

    thank you for hosting the giveaway! 🙂 good luck to all who enter.


  14. Congrats on your 500th post. Your blog is one of my favourites that I visit daily.

    I am currently reading Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert and I am enjoying it so far, although I’ve only just started it so it’s early days.


  15. I love Stargazing as did several of my friends, a special book. I am currently reading Have a Nice Day by Justin Webb, the BBC North America Editor. I am enjoying it, but it is aimed mainly at those people who are anti-american. I am not, I love the country. I can imagine the book sparking lively discussions round a dinner table.
    Many congratulations on your birthday.


  16. Congratulations on your 500th post. I am currently reading Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich. I am not really into to it but I will finish it. Thanks.


  17. I am currently reading A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George, and yes, I would recommend this book. Congratulations on 500 posts!


  18. That’s a lot of blogging. I just finished Wind in the Willows which I hadn’t read for 55 years. It was lovely. He seems to have a lot of insight about animals.


  19. I am reading Cast in Secret by Michelle Sagara. I would absolutely recommend this series to someone.



  20. Congratulationson your interesting blog.
    I have just finished reading In The Shadow of King’s – a murder story set in 1980s Cambridge academic circles. I enjoyed it – though more for the setting & characters than for the denouement.


  21. Congrats on your 500th post!

    I have the Stephen Fry book on America too. I think he’s amazing and will visit his Twitter site in a moment.

    I’m in between books at the moment. Just finished Truckers by Terry Pratchett and about to start an ARC, Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton. I am however halfway through a book of short stories for the OUaT challenge, The Ivory and the Horn by Charles De Lint, and that’s an ongoing ‘read slowly’ book.


  22. Congratulations on your 500th post! I just finished “The Help” and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys “southern lit.”


  23. Hi! I’m currently reading “Belladonna” by Anne Bishop. I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes a fantasy read as it’s packed with action and adventure in a world of Anne Bishop’s creating. However, since this is the second book in the series, I recommend starting with the first one, “Sebastian”.


  24. Congrats on the 500th post!!! I’m reading I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb and it is by far one of my very very favorite books ever! Highly recommended!


  25. So late, Margaret, but congratulations! Your blog is like a quiet bookshop for me to come and visit. Thank you for all your thoughts.


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