Tag Archives: Grace Notes

Book Week Scotland – My Top Ten Scottish Books

I love book lists – browsing them for things I haven’t heard of, getting an idea of other people’s reading habits. Today I decided to make my own.

Monday saw the start of Book Week Scotland, an initiative run by the Scottish Book Trust to promote reading in Scotland. There has been lots going on on twitter, and you can read what it’s all about here.

They have some pretty awesome book lists on a variety of topics from Best Twisted Romances to 10 Books with Really Good Bad Guys. Have a look at their full list of lists here.

A lovely example of some of the things they are doing is the treasure hunt to find paper sculptures (the first to be won this week was based on Alasdair Gray’s Lanark). This all links back to a story a last year when a mysterious sculptor left a paper sculpture in the Scottish Poetry Library (pictured above) with a message in support of libraries. You can read the full, charming story on the Scottish Poetry Library’s website and take a look at some of the beautiful paper sculptures here.

So naturally, all of this focus on books and reading in Scotland has gotten me thinking about my top Scottish books and what I would recommend to people as a starter. My list, and a few thoughts on each book, is below. As ever, I have missed out so many that I love but wanted to include a few that are a bit different from what might be set texts when it comes to Scottish literature. Quite the mixed bag! Here goes…

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Holiday Reading

My holiday books all packed and ready to go!

A holiday is around the corner – hurrah! I haven’t been on a beach holiday for about four years now and I am stupidly excited at the prospect. One of the reasons for my excitement is the opportunity to spend even more time reading books, and hopefully catch up on my goal of reading 52 books this year (I am on number 21 of the year so far, pretty poor for a supposed book blogger…). Two weeks of sunshine and beach reading can’t come soon enough! I have six books packed at the moment and I am waiting on two more arriving in the post. And my boyfriend is taking a few for himself which I may have to muscle my way in on!

Currently packed are as follows:

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Never has a book been so beautifully noisy – Book Review: Grace Notes by Bernard Mac Laverty

Publisher: Vintage
Selected Edition: Paperback
ISBN: 0-09-977801-7
Published: 1997
No. of Pages: 277
Price: £5.99
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 1997 BOOKER PRIZE

In Bernard Mac Laverty’s Grace Notes, Catherine McKenna, a composer, struggles to cope with post-natal depression, the break-up of her relationship with the child’s father, Dave, and the death of her own father. The novel opens as Catherine returns to her home town in Northern Ireland for her father’s funeral, trying to rebuild a connection with her mother after an estrangement and recalling the events that separated them. On her return from Ireland, in a series of parts we see her life on Islay with Dave, her return to Glasgow and eagerness to see her daughter Anna again, and her battle with the depression which threatens to suffocate her, trying to bring to life the music of her inner hearing, and share her musical compositions with the world.

Grace Notes is a novel that sings, filled with music and the sounds that life can create. Everyday things are given a new aural quality, and I found myself listening out for these new sounds, like I was learning how sound could be written down. Never has a book been so beautifully noisy.

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Erratic Reads

The past few weeks have been very quiet on the blog front. I have been reading but I have been a bit all over the place, dipping in and out of poetry, short stories and a couple of novels. I thought I’d do a little summary of my reading in the past few weeks as I haven’t done a review for a little while.

BOOKS

To begin with, I spent a couple of weeks reading The Group by Mary McCarthy. It’s my first book club read so I’m waiting to discuss it with my fellow bookclubbers before commenting on it on my blog. What I will say though is that I enjoyed it, and was surprised by its frankness on certain women’s subjects, which even by today’s standards aren’t that easy to come across in popular fiction. More on that in a couple of weeks…

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