Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

Shelves of Scottish Books

It’s Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times again which is hosted by Judith at Reading in the Wilderness. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Again I’m travelling along some shelves of my books by Scottish authors.

Dorothy Dunnett‘s Spring of the Ram is the second book in her Niccolo series and I should be reading that one soonish although it doesn’t appear in my 20 Books of Summer list – silly me. Dunnett’s books are dense and maybe not the best for bedtime reading, for one thing they are quite hefty, they’re definitely not for bath time reading, that’s just something that I can never do anyway. Just think – if Archimedes hadn’t been having a nice thoughtful laze in his bath and had been reading instead then he would never have had his EUREKA moment.

I’m always in a bit of a quandary as to where I should shelve books, would Michael Innes be happier living among a shelf full of crime fiction, or is he more comfortable with fellow Scots? Anyway, it’s quite a while since I read any of his books and although I enjoy his writing I prefer the books that he wrote under the name J.I.M. Stewart which usually feature life in an Oxford college and were obviously inspired by his life as a lecturer. I decided to put his Gollancz books here and his paperback crime Penguins are together with the rest of the green Penguins.

I have quite a few books by Compton Mackenzie who was actually English but at some point he did some research into his family tree and discovering that he had Scots blood in his background he seized on that with relish and became more Scots than the actual Scots, buying an island, wearing a kilt and immersing himself in the culture as much as he could. I particularly love his wartime books set on fictional islands which had been transformed from their usual quiet abodes to places that were heaving with soldiers, sailors and airmen – much to the delight of the local female population. Keep the Home Guard Turning is hilarious, very much in the style of Dad’s Army, but years before that long running TV series was thought of.

Are you a fan of any of the authors on these shelves?

6 thoughts on “Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

  1. I have on my shelf, and enjoyed reading, “Wax Fruit” which I spy on the bottom shelf, left-hand end. Am pretty sure that’s the one where I was able to google-earth my way around some of the locations described in Glasgow; also loved reading about Arran. My copy is a 2nd edition, 1948, rather ‘well-used’-looking.

    • Valerie,
      I have had my paperback copy of Wax Fruit for years and still haven’t read it. I remember it was very popular when I worked in a library just 15 miles from Glasgow, in the 1970s. I’m definitely going to read it soon as you enjoyed it.

  2. I keep reading about authors I would like to try and haven’t yet. Dorothy Dunnett is one of those. I haven’t read anything by her. Her books look thickish though.

    I am glad to hear you like J.I.M. Stewart’s books. I have some of those and have had them for years … but haven’t read them yet. I have read any of the crime novels by Michael Innes in a long, long time, but I read a lot of them when I was younger and plan to return to some them.

    • tracybham

      Those Dunnett books are quite thick, that one is 469 pages which actually seems quite reasonable after reading Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light. I read a lot of Innes books in the 70s and 80s too. I hope you enjoy J.I.M. Stewart’s books when you get around to them.

  3. Definitely a fan of Dunnett although have not read the Niccolo books. I like the Pilcher too. I own at least one Innes (is there a beginning?) but have not read any (yet) and have not read Compton Mackenzie.

    I often wonder about shelving. I am sure Innes is happy to be with the Scots because most authors don’t like to be considered genre fiction.

    • CLM
      I really enjoyed Dunnett’s King Hereafter, not part of a series, but a friend has that one at the moment. When we moved to this house I had hoped to have all my books in alphabetical order but with so many different sizes of books involved it just hasn’t been possible, so I still have to search all over for particular books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *