Aye, tis once again Robbie Burns night. Last year to celebrate I did a brief round up of the Scottish literature I had read since moving to Edinburgh. This year I’ll continue the tradition in grand style because I have actually read – and enjoyed – a fair bit of Scottish literature in the past year.
Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole. Ok, I’ve let a few great books like this one slip in because they are set in Scotland, though not necessarily by a Scot. Brockmole wrote this book while visiting Scotland from her native America. And besides, there is nothing more Scottish than the Isle of Skye.
The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan. Fagan’s use of language in this novel is exquisite. She fills the dialogues with a beautiful mixture of Scots and English that highlights the (many) differences in the two languages. I cannae recommend this book highly enough.
Closed Doors by Lisa O’Donnell. Like The Panopticon, O’Donnell gives us a slice of Scottish life that you will not find in the books of Alexander McCall Smith. Set on a small island off the coast of Scotland, O’Donnell looks at small town life and family through the lens of a young boy. This book might not be as well known as her The Death of Bees, which i still haven’t read, but it does showcase he writing abilities.
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan. Again another book written by an American, but a more Scottish subject you’d be hard pressed to find. Horan recounts the life of that venerable man of letters, Robert Louis Stevenson. Although he traveled the world quite extensively his language and sensibilities remain thoroughly Scottish throughout his life.
The Missing Shade of Blue by Jennie Erdal. I read this book quite recently and have not yet had time to post a review. It is about a French translator who has come to Edinburgh to work on a translation of David Hume, one of Scotland’s famous philosophers.
Have you read any Scottish literature lately? What are your favorites?
Great idea! Didn’t know some of these were Scottish. Irvine Welsh is my fav Scottish author, of course!
Confession time: I’ve never read Irvine Welsh! Shameful, i know. What would you recommend?
For me, it had to be Trainspotting, because the Scottish dialect is so difficult to understand, I needed something where I already knew the story, it heroes me figure out all the slang. Glue would be my other recommendation.
This makes me wonder if I’ve read any books by Scottish writers without knowing it. I didn’t always pay as much attention as I do now. I have read Treasure Island and Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Are there any other Scottish writers that you would recommend?
I know. Yesterday I was in a book store and they had a “scottish table’ set up and I couldn’t believe some of the stuff that was on there. There are a lot of Scottish mystery and thriller writers.
I really liked The Panopticon! I’m going to be on a blog tour for Under the Wide and Starry Sky, which I’m really excited about!
Have you read Under the Wide and Starry Sky yet? I wasn’t thrilled with it, but i will check out the blog tour.
Under the Wide and Starry Sky sounds good. And I’d be interested in reading The Death of Bees and Closed Doors one after the other to see what I think of them in comparison.
Yeah, I can’t wait to get to THE DEATH OF BEES. It is supposed to be even better than CLOSED DOORS.
I read, and loved, The Panopticon. I’m hoping to get to Under the Wide VERY SOON 🙂 Oh, and I have Letters sitting around here somewhere too. So many books, so little time…as you well know. I didn’t realize these were all Scottish, very cool.
The only Scotland related book I read recently is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It was a fun read.
I’ve always meant to read The Outlander series. People seem to LOVE those books, but i just can’t get past the whole time travel thing. Did you like Outlander?
@tanya: Hmm, mixed feelings. I don’t much like time travel either, and it’s a big fat book. It’s easy reading though, and I zipped through it pretty fast. I loved the first half of the book but got a little tired in the second half.
Overall, I quite liked it and I do plan on reading the sequels at some point in time.
I didn’t love it as much as I was expecting to. There’s a lot of fandom for these books, and I don’t get the reason why.
Yeah, I’m not really a fan girl kind of person. Maybe someday…
I have no idea. . . I’m don’t think I’ve read much. Was In the Woods by Tana French Scottish? I forgot . . .
Thank you for linking to this week’s Spread the Love Linky Party! I also pinned your post! 😀
I’m looking forward to reading Letters from Skye soon, as well as The Panopticon 🙂 Thanks for the recommendations. So good to discover new books again!
What a great tradition to celebrate Robert Burns’ night. I read a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson years ago. The Horan novel might be a good follow-up to that.