Notes from the Basement – 2 February 2021

  03 Feb '21   |  Posted by: Birlinn
Signs of spring are appearing. Not only are deliveries of our first spring titles just round the corner, but other cycles of regeneration are working away. The signs are there, if you know where to look…

The alder, remarkable in so many ways, is the leader of the pack. Read all about it in this extract from Scottish Plant Lore by the Royal Botanic Garden’s Greg Kenicer.

Jim Campbell’s biography of James Baldwin, Talking at the Gates, was in the press this weekend. The Sunday Post tells the story of their meeting and how Baldwin changed his life.

On the other side of the pond, Jim wrote about his, and Baldwin’s, cultural appropriation for the Wall Street Journal. 

There’s not been much air travel recently, but Air Canada’s in-flight magazine is online, and they’ve recommended Iain Maloney’s The Only Gaijin in the Village for its powers of transportation: it’ll immerse you in rural Japan. | [Air Canada En Route]

This week’s poem is about Icarus, that mythical pioneer of flight. Well, sort of. Jim Carruth’s ‘Landscape with the fall of Icarus’ is more about the farmer in the foreground of Brueghel’s painting of the same name.

Have you become a jigsaw-puzzler in lockdown? The Guardian reports that sales of jigsaws reached £100m in 2020, with 15m adult jigsaws sold. Our 1000-piece Scottish Map Jigsaw features one of the most famous maps from the National Library of Scotland. It’s fascinating, and just the right kind of fiendish.

When all else fails, sugar will do the trick. A square of Sue Lawrence’s Millionaire’s Shortbread will have you feeling like, well, a million dollars.

Start by turning all the pieces over,Team Birlinn
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