Scottish non fiction books

books

This post is so long overdue, I had meant to get around to writing about some of my Scottish non-fiction books at the beginning of the year, but life and moving house somehow got in the way.

Anyway, better late than never, and of course as the Read Scotland 2014 challenge is continuing in 2015 and probably forever and a day, I should manage to get these ones read eventually.

There’s a biography of John Buchan – by his wife and friends. This one was published in 1947. I really like John Buchan’s adventure/spy/mystery books but the man himself was just amazing – what a career he had! I hope to learn more about him through this book.

Montrose by John Buchan. Buchan won the James Tait Black memorial prize for this biography of the Marquess of Montrose.

Maritime Scotland by Brian Lavery is a Historic Scotland publication. As you would imagine, the sea in Scotland is important. It’s impossible to live more than 40 miles from salt water according to this book. It should be interesting.

Mary Queen of Scots by Jean Plaidy
. Until I saw this book I had no idea that Jean Plaidy had written anything other than her historical novels which I enjoyed as a youngster. I wonder what she thinks of Mary Stuart?

Hand, Heart and Soul by Elizabeth Cumming is about the Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland. This book has some nice photographs in it but also an awful lot of text. It’ll be one for dipping in and out of I think.

Scottish Gardens by Sir Herbert Maxwell was published in 1908 and it’s a gorgeous book with lovely illustrations by Mary G. W. Wilson. This was one which I said to Jack – buy that for my birthday! I don’t go in for surprise presents, after all these years it’s sensible to make sure that you get what you want and Jack is happy to oblige as it means he doesn’t have to rack his brains for gift ideas. Anyway, I think the book is quite a rare one and I intend to carry out some research to see what has happened to all the gardens which are mentioned and illustrated in the text.

Then there’s The Scottish Gardener by Suzi Urquhart, another birthday present.

So that’s my first batch of Scottish non-fiction books. I have a lot of Scottish travel books but I’ll keep them for another time. Those are the sort of books which are good for dipping into when you want to know more about the area which you are going to visit.

I think you’ll agree that this lot should keep me busy for a while anyway.

Recent Book Purchases


Yet again, I had banned myself from the library to concentrate on my own books, but a visit to the adjoining museum shop to buy a card ended up with me sloping into the library and of course I was seduced by some new books, but it was the unplanned book buying which was quite spectacular. In January it seems that every time I went out of the house I came back with books which I wasn’t even looking for – honest!

A visit to an antiques centre ended up with me buying the lovely Folio editions of the Mapp and Lucia books by E.F. Benson. I have them all but just in paperback so I couldn’t resist these, especially as they were so incredibly cheap. I’m not going to tell you exactly how cheap, I don’t wish to cause pain!

A mooch around some Edinburgh charity shops ended up with me buying the Penguin crimes.
The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
The Mask of Glass by Holly Roth
Cork on the Water by McDonald Hastings

I also bought It Ends with Revelations by Dodie Smith. Has anyone read this one? I’ve only read I Capture the Castle, which I really enjoyed. Then when I saw a pristine hardback of All Our Worldly Goods by Irene Nemirovsky I had to buy that too.

In the Scottish bookshop in Dunfermline I couldn’t pass up on
Children of the Tempest by Neil Munro and
The Selected Travel Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson called Dreams of Elsewhere.

Taking my library books back I swore I wasn’t going to borrow any more books, well I stuck to that but I couldn’t help just glancing at the bookshelves which hold the books for sale, Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym jumped out at me – really it did!

A trip to St Andrews saw me bringing back:
The Angel in the Corner by Monica Dickens, I haven’t read anything by her for getting on for 40 years, hard to belive it but true.
I also bought The McFlannels See It Through which is the second book in a humorous Scottish wartime series, but I don’t have the first one yet.

A trip to Linlithgow saw me buying:
The Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat. It’s a children’s classic which I’ve never got around to reading. Of course it’s set in the English Civil War, which historians now recognise involved the whole of Britain, some of them are now calling it the War of the Three Kingdoms.

Also Nan of Northcote by Doris A Pocock, which is set in a girls school and was published in 1929. It cost me all of £1 and it could be absolute garbage but I love the cover.

My favourite and most expensive purchase was:
Scottish Gardens by Sir Herbert Maxwell, published in 1908 and it has lovely illustrations of some gardens which I’ve visited. I’m sure some of them don’t exist any more but I’m going to track them down and visit the ones I can, to see how they have changed over the years. The book is a beauty and was still a bargain, it’s for sale on the internet for much more than I paid for it. I’ve also discovered that the author was Gavin Maxwell’s grandfather. When I was a teenager I loved his nature books which are set in Scotland.

As you can see, I’ve got to get on with my reading!