Notes from the Basement, 21 September 2021

  21 Sep '21   |  Posted by: Birlinn

A last hoorah before the colder days of winter…

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox and, as if in anticipation, last night the full Harvest Moon – with all its mystique – shone out across the northern hemisphere until dawn (peeking out between cloud cover at times).As the spectacular colours of autumn start to appear along with crisp, cold days, the temptation is to coorie-in with a good read. Start planning now with our crime bestsellers:

  • Gangland thriller Terms of Restitution by Denzil Meyrick, ‘one of those books that would make a great television series’ (thank you Joyce McMillan). Currently book of the month both on Kobo and, and now available as an audiobook too!
  • Or his latest DCI Daley, For Any Other Truth, which shot into the top 10 eBook chart across the UK (read his ‘Favourite Place’ column in the Herald now); | [The Herald]
  • And the hugely popular A Rattle of Bones by Douglas Skelton, ‘a thrilling murder mystery… packed with twists and turns’ according to Scottish Books International, and we wholeheartedly agree;
  • Or Robert J Harris’ A Study in Crimson, captured this week by the Book Review Station: ‘with all the expected quirkiness of the main characters and the charm of the original author… An easy and enjoyable read for fans of Holmes and Watson’. | [Book Review Station]

Turn too, to the warming work of global bestseller, Alexander McCall Smith, who will be talking to Hugo Rifkind on Times Radio about his new novel, The Pavilion in the Clouds (and The Joy and Light Bus Company), this Saturday, 11.00am. | [Times Radio]

Listen to his audio reading of his own poetry collection, In A Time Of Distance, on Audible.

Sign up to his Facebook Book Group right now for a chance to watch an exclusive live event online tomorrow night.

And catch Alexander in-person or online as he headlines the Wigtown Book Festival on 25th September. Book now!

In historical fiction, The Wall Street Journal spotlights Denise Mina’s bestselling new novel, Rizzio, in their ‘What to Read’ pick this week. The piece offers fulsome praise for ‘a plus-sized novella with the passion of an opera, a tour de force of imaginative reconstruction’. | [Wall Street Journal, £]

You can still catch her online Bloody Scotland event. Not to be missed! | [Bloody Scotland, £]Looking for something non-fiction? Then turn to Jim Sillars’ political and personal memoir, A Difference of Opinion. Read more in a moving article from this weekend’s Evening News.

Maxwell Macleod does not hold back in his praise for The Star Drive by Pip Hills ‘a tale worth telling and exquisitely told. Anyone with an interest in the energy crisis should buy it’. | [Artwork]Brazil legend and three times world cup winner Pelé is out of ICU and celebrating ‘every better day’. Read the story of his 1970 World Cup, widely regarded as the greatest ever staged, in The Greatest Show on Earth.

And still on the subject of sport, Lottie Dod was born 150 years ago this very week. A true, multi-sport British athlete, she excelled in tennis from a young age winning Wimbledon five times (the first when she was only 15!). A Blue Plaque honour was unveiled in her memory on the Wirral on International Women’s Day earlier this year. Read an extract from Little Wonder here.

Take the step back to in-person events with the first week of Wigtown Festival (more to come next week!):

ANDIan Williams in conversation with Chris Patten, the last Governor to Hong Kong – a very special event at the Barnes Book Festival where the two will discuss Every Breath You Take: China’s New Tyranny, Sunday 26th September. Book now!

Professor Christopher Whatley joins Doug Henderson at Beltie Books in Wigtown to discuss Pabay, a vivid picture of the trials and joys of island life based on archival research, interviews, and Christopher’s personal experience. Email to reserve your place for Monday 27th at 6pm.

Need a pick me up after all that planning? Our recipe of the week is suitably autumnal: ‘Deep Apple Pie with Butterscotch and Oaty Crumble’ from Sue Lawrence’s Scottish Baking: Tuck in!

And finally, today is World Gratitude Day and we mark it with a poem for the nurses and midwives who give so much, taken from To Mind Your Life: ‘If Once You Have Slept on an Island’ by Rachel Lyman Field.

Sharing with you our grateful thanks for a season of great reading ahead,
Team Birlinn

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