Across the media October and November

  04 Dec '19   |  Posted by: Birlinn
Checking the reviews

Recent coverage (Oct/Nov) for our lovely books across the media:

The Peppermint Tea Chronicles by Alexander McCall Smith, a Scotland Street novel

The amazingly prolific AMS has produced yet another volume of gossipy tales from Scotland Street – The Oldie

Pianos and Flowers by Alexander McCall Smith –

A little gem of a book and thoroughly recommended – Five stars – Breakaway Reviewers

A delightful compendium of short stories in which McCall Smith imagines the stories behind the photographs. This beautifully produced deluxe edition will make the perfect Christmas gift – Edinburgh Life

The old adage that “a picture can paint a thousand words” is never more true than when the image is in the hands of a master storyteller... [This] dip-in, dip-out short story offering imagines the lives and events surrounding old sepia images taken from a newspaper archive… These are tales bound by the heart-warming possibility of friendship, love and happiness. Delightful – Sunday Post

Second Worst Restaurant in France by Alexander McCall Smith –

The smart money is on a deliciously happy ending! – David Robinson

Balefire by Jim Carruth –

Carruth writes with ever increasing depth about the rural way of life – its many trials and drawbacks but also its lyricism – Lesley Duncan, Herald

Bale Fire certainly feels like the work of a writer marching confidently and purposefully into the fertile summertime of his career... Emphasizes the endlessly cyclical nature of life and death with which the farming life is inescapably intertwined. The overall effect is of holding in your hands not simply a randomly assembled collection of poems, but a very deliberately designed word-machine in which everything is somehow connected to everything else. The pathos is almost overwhelming… If the way of life Carruth describes really is dying, it couldn’t wish for a more eloquent eulogist – Scotsman

Shows us the countryside in all its unvarnished truths… Carruth’s are well crafted poems, drawn deeply from a well of experience, often tinged with bitterness but never with cynicism, and sometimes surprising the reader with moments of pure joy – an apt metaphor for those who live and work the land, and perhaps of life itself – Wee Review

A Breath on Dying Embers by Denzil Meyrick –

A great read…characterisation is extremely well delivered, the loud-mouthed, somewhat comedic Scott, and the likeable, dependable Daley, local colour is added by a cast of interesting residents, whose far from simple lives seem at odd with the picture postcard place they inhabit – Undiscovered Scotland

Atmospheric… trademark Scottish wit – Scottish Book of the Week, Dundee Courier

Britain’s DNA Journey by Alistair Moffat –

Alistair Moffat featured in ITV’s Ant & Dec’s DNA Journey, based on the research for this book. You can catch it now on ITV Player .

Facing the Bear by Trevor Royle –

A fascinating while occasionally unsettling journey into history. Royle’s account reflects both the wider military and political contexts and the lasting impacts of the Cold War on Scotland as a whole – Scottish Field

A Full Back Slower than your Average Prop by Ian Smith –

Ian Smith’s story is special … elements of his [rugby] journey would simply not be possible today – The Sunday Times

Smith may just have been the best cherubic, well-nourished, wooden-legged (but not really) full-back we’ve had – Scotsman

Hamish Henderson Collected Poems –

Admired by artists and politicians as diverse as Bob Dylan and Nelson Mandela, Henderson is the subject of a handsome edition of Collected Poems – Scotsman

Insurrection by James Hunter –

Hunter has long been recognised as the pre-eminent social, economic and political historian of Highland Scotland since the 18th century. He is a master of detail but is never reduced to the number-crunching which, however valuable, is often tedious to the reader. He never forgets that history is first of all narrative – and this book is rich in stories – or that is subject is the experience of individual men and women, creatures of flesh and blood, not abstractions. Insurrection is fascinating reading, both painful and uplifting – Scotsman

The Scottish potato famine was caused by the same blight that brought disaster to Ireland… Insurrection describes how Scottish landowners were both the cause and cure of the famine – The Times

This is a political story but a very human story… Only three of my lifetimes ago [JB] – BBC Radio Scotland

Tells the story of a savage, brutal, largely forgotten episode in Scotland’s history through the human tales Hunter uncovered in his research – Sunday Post

A meticulous and moving account of a violent episode in our history – Northern Times

Scrupulously researched, Insurrection is a devastating account of the way in which the failed potato crop of 1846 brought destitution and even death to those living on the margins of rural society in the Highlands and Islands… Hunter’s vivid reconstruction of events creates a cameo of an unforgettably grim winter, when law and over were overthrown in the best of causes – Rosemary Goring

King Over the Water by Desmond Seward –

Seward offers a fresh look at the struggle to restore the Stuart monarch after the Glorious Revolution in 1688. A bracingly revisionist history – Telegraph

Seward’s style is approachable and eminently readable, leading you through the many twists and turns. Deserves to be widely read – Undiscovered Scotland

It is timely that TKOW should appear just as the break-up of the political nation has become a distinct possibility – Financial Times

The fast pace and avoidance of convoluted language make this an engaging and easy read, perfect for emerging history buffs – Scottish Field

[a} rollicking account of the Jacobites… an absorbing overview of this most romanticised movement… the broad-brush style of this most informative raconteur makes the pages fly – Rosemary Goring

Life is Not a Long Quiet River by Willy Slavin –

He emerges a man and a priest of extraordinary stature, who counsels his readers to embrace the freedom we receive as we lose the things, material and physical, which have defined much of our existence; the freedom to reflect on our lives and find true contentment – Book of the Week, Dundee Courier

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt –

Held me in thrall – Gavin Francis in the New Statesman Books of the Year

The Rise and Fall of the City of Money –

I loved Ray Perman’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Money a fabulous history of the crises and flashes of entrepreneurial brilliance that made Edinburgh the UK’s second-biggest financial city. A meticulously researched book of stories about the people who rose and fell with the city – bank directors who ended up in jail, aristocrats who ended up broke, and clever investment managers who set up the firms your pension is probably still with today – Merryn Somerset Webb, editor in chief of MoneyWeek – selecting for the Financial Times Books of the Year, 2019

A lot’s been said and written since the great crash, but we now have the long view, explaining how Edinburgh came to have… the reputation as a safe place to put your money and a canny place to invest it – BBC Radio Scotland

Perman takes the long view, from 1695 and the founding of the Bank of Scotland and bringing it up to date with his superb understanding of Scotland’s modern finance sector, and the key players in recent decades… power and politics… financial adventures… both rise and fall – Douglas Fraser, BBC News

An engaging study of Edinburg’s financial sector… forensically researched – Scotsman

Scottish Vegan Cookbook by Jackie Jones –

You’d be forgiven for assuming a Scottish vegan cookbook was impossible, packed with nutritional side notes and lovely food photography, Jones offers vegan alternatives – Scottish Field

Scots Song by James MacMillan –

Plenty to say on everything from politics and culture to religion… deeply personal – Classic Music Magazine

Shepherd and the Morning Star by Willie Orr –

Orr approaches with compassion and clear sightedness the challenge of coming to terms with his father’s life… Brings a unique perspective to this part of our history [the systematic oppression of the Catholic population of NI]Orr’s life is by any standard a remarkable one – Northwords Now

Silent Traveller in Edinburgh by Chiang Yee –

With some enchanting illustrations, this must be one of the most unusual travel books – Scots Mag

The Sticker Atlas of Scotland by Ben Blathwayt –

The ideal next step for children moving form the conventional sticker book format to something more challenging and it has plenty to offer geographically-interested adults too. Each colourful sticker is a mini work of art – West Coast Review

A Taste of Scotland’s Islands by Sue Lawrence –

Takes the reader on a tour around the scene landscapes while selecting the best of the food that the islands have to offer, suggesting delicious recipes to help everyone enjoy them – Oban Times

Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton –

Exquisite language, credible characters, and unrelenting suspense—this crime novel has it all – Publishers Weekly starred review

Viking Islands by Paul Murton –

Essential reading for anyone really wanting to get under the skin of the islands – Undiscovered Scotland

Paul Murton is a man who’s always going somewhere, but when he got to the Northern Isles, he stopped long enough to write a book about what he found – Herald on Sunday

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