Read Scotland 2016 discussion

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message 1: by James (new)

James | 18 comments I've got off to a really bad start this year. Reading loads but eventually when I get to something Scottish I made some bad choices.

My first attempt was Beside The Ocean Of Time by George Mackay Brown. I made in through only around 30 pages and just felt it wasn't for me. I can't count it towards the target.

I might pick it up again - it certainly is well reviewed - but I suspect I won't. Has anyone out there read this book and are you able to convince me to give it another try?


message 2: by James (last edited Mar 03, 2016 03:51PM) (new)

James | 18 comments The first book I did read through was Last of the Line by John Mackay - the Scottish TV newsreader.

I didn't think much of it, I'm afraid. I see Peggy gave it 4 stars but I found it quite short on plot - much jumping to conclusions - and not a lot of emotional involvement for me.

I've read so many great Scottish books, why am I being so unlucky?
Nevermind! I will press on - there's a few on my shelf.


message 3: by Julie (new)

Julie | 37 comments If you've not read it, you might try, 'The Singing Sands' mystery by Josephine Tey. I'm wanting to reread that one. I was hoping to go and experience those singing sands on eigg on our upcoming trip, but found out you can't take a car there, so we couldn't go after all.


message 4: by James (last edited Mar 04, 2016 02:15AM) (new)

James | 18 comments I've read a couple of Josephine Tey's books and liked them both - I can add 'The Singing Sands' to my list. The sands on Eigg are a famous place for photography - there are great sunsets with the mountains of Rhum in the background. Never been myself but I've seen several great photographs.

Next one on my shelf is Silma Hill by Iain Maloney ---- sounds spooky


message 5: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyherself) | 167 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "The first book I did read through was Last of the Line by John Mackay - the Scottish TV newsreader.

I didn't think much of it, I'm afraid. I see Peggy gave it 4 stars..."


Jim you are right, it was short on plot. I think I love his books because of the sense of place. I place I'd love to be! Of the three of his books this is the weakest one.


message 6: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyherself) | 167 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "I've got off to a really bad start this year. Reading loads but eventually when I get to something Scottish I made some bad choices.

My first attempt was Beside The Ocean Of Time by..."


I've not read any George MacKay Brown yet. I think I have one by him on my reader though. Have you read any of the Lewis Trilogy by Peter May? His books are excellent and very popular. Set on Lewis. Tinker's Pride by Nigel Tranter was good. You might find some books to your liking on Son of The Rock. He's reading all the top 100 best Scottish books. Great reviews to help you find the one for you! http://jackdeighton.co.uk


message 7: by James (new)

James | 18 comments Bit late in posting about this - but I finally got a good one. Something quite different for a modern novel - set in the highlands and neither a gritty crime novel nor a romance.

My No. 2 Silma Hill by Iain Maloney
Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought provoking too. 4 stars from me!


message 8: by James (new)

James | 18 comments Peggy wrote: "Have you read any of the Lewis Trilogy by Peter May? His books are excellent and very popular. Set on Lewis. Tinker's Pride by Nigel Tranter was good."

Thanks for the suggestions, Peggy!
I've been working around to reading Peter May - and will get there soon. I have avoided Nigel Tranter for decades. When I ask myself why I can only blame it on primary school lessons on Scottish history - I have no real excuse. I've also promised myself that i'd read 'Sunset Song'. I'll have to bring it up to the top of my list soon.


message 9: by Adele (new)

Adele (harukoraharu) I've nearly finished 'Sunset Song', but won't get through the trilogy before the book is due back at the library next week. Start was a bit heavy going and the long chapters (upto 75 pages) have not helped.


message 10: by James (new)

James | 18 comments Adele wrote: "I've nearly finished 'Sunset Song', but won't get through the trilogy before the book is due back at the library next week. Start was a bit heavy going and the long chapters (upto 75 pages) have no..."

Thanks Adele. I'm only planning to read the first volume. I find I hardly ever read all the books in a series. I look for variety and so jump from one type of book to a completely different type.


message 11: by James (new)

James | 18 comments So I found a copy of Sunset Song and now I've finished it. I thought it was superb; very emotional and very real. A great portayal of a land and the people and a real hard life. I found it was a slow read, not just because of the Scots words but the sentence construction is often tricky. Nevertheless, it's one to take your time and savour.

I feel encouraged to read the other two in the series - but perhaps not for a while.


message 12: by James (new)

James | 18 comments So I've two more ready to go:-
The Chessmen by Peter May (I said I'd try his books), and
The Last Days of Disco by David F. Ross


message 13: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyherself) | 167 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "So I found a copy of Sunset Song and now I've finished it. I thought it was superb; very emotional and very real. A great portayal of a land and the people and a real hard life. I fo..."

I'm so glad you loved it Jim. Of the three it is the best by far. Last year I got to go to Arbuthnott to the Lewis Grassic Gibbon's museum and to his grave at the old church. The Mearns are beautiful! Looking forward to what you think of Peter May!


message 14: by James (new)

James | 18 comments So my #4 is The Last Days of Disco by David F. Ross.

When I started this I thought I was going to hate it. The first few chapters seemed to be setting it up as a comic, rude, puerile romp .... whatever. And it certainly didn't portray my home town of Kilmarnock in any great light. I carried on through gritted teeth, and the story and the writing matured as it progressed and it turned into quite a moving family drama with real emotion and genuine reflections on the Falklands War and 80's culture - gave it four stars.


message 15: by Col (new)

Col (col2910) | 30 comments Jim wrote: "So my #4 is The Last Days of Disco by David F. Ross.

When I started this I thought I was going to hate it. The first few chapters seemed to be setting it up as a c..."


Sounds interesting, off to check it out - cheers.


message 16: by James (new)

James | 18 comments Well! I've finished my first Peter May novel, The Chessmen. I really enjoyed it A good plot, great ambience, with the Isle of Lewis as a setting, and a range of intriguing characters. I know I probably should have read the first two in the series first and if you do what I did you do have to accept there is some finishing up of stories left over from the previous books. I'd definitely recommend the series on this read - even though crime thrillers are not usually my favourites (and I did have a few qualms about some of the plot details).

So my #5 is The Chessmen by Peter May.


message 17: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyherself) | 167 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "Well! I've finished my first Peter May novel, The Chessmen. I really enjoyed it A good plot, great ambience, with the Isle of Lewis as a setting, and a range of int..."

Glad you liked May, Jim. I've read the first two in this series and The Chessmen is waiting in the wings!


message 18: by James (last edited Aug 27, 2016 09:36AM) (new)

James | 18 comments #6 Aliyyah by Chris Dolan

A novella inspired by a Robert Louis Stevenson tale. It's a modern tale told in a old Arabian Nights type of style. Intriguing, full of mystery - and thought-provoking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZNGn...


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