A pocket guide to the Declaration of Arbroath

This book does exactly what it says on the tin. It details the hugely significant piece of history that is the Declaration of Arbroath – a plea to the Pope to recognise Scotland’s independence in 1320. For those without a vested interest in the topic, this will be heavy going. It is pocket book-sized, but…

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Extensive look at the history of Scots clans

The Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia is an expansive and detailed look at the history of Scottish clanship. This is a hefty hardback reference book which features an impressive selection of respected contributors. For those interested in Scottish history this tome is an excellent chronicle of one of its most important facets, the clans. However,…

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Another warm, funny read from Alexander McCall Smith

Food writer Paul Stuart is struggling to write his latest book, so his cousin Chloe suggests he should spend the summer in France with her. A simple set up and a no-fuss plot allows McCall Smith to focus on his characters – all of whom are used as vehicles for the author’s sharp wit. This…

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A celebration of 1000 Scots words and phrases

Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers: A Treasury of 1,000 Scottish Words details a huge array of Scottish words and phrases, in what is a joyously eclectic mix. From the ‘airt o’ the clicky’ to ‘yowe trummle’, it is by no means an exhaustive collection of tropes – rather the author has handpicked some of his favourites.…

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Taking the plunge to enjoy the power of wild swimming

Heart-warming and fascinating, Taking the Plunge: The Healing Power of Wild Swimming for Mind, Body & Soul is fantastic. Written by two women who formed a bond through their love of wild swimming, reading this book feels like having a conversation with old friends. Deacon and Allan detail the lives of wild swimmers, showing how…

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Have fun with a more wholesome Trainspotting

This novel reads like a slightly more wholesome version of ‘Trainspotting’. Set around the Spey Bay Viaduct in Moray, Bennett charts the adventures of ‘The Summer Crew’, a fictional 1980s crew – led by skipper Sandy Geddes – who start fishing on the River Spey. The book oozes personality, thanks mainly to the fact it’s…

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A celebration of Scotland in photographs

Well-known Dundonian photographer Shahbaz Majeed has assembled a dizzyingly diverse range of 126 landscape images from every corner of Scotland. Presented in landscape format, they act as a lovely aide memoire for our wilder areas – whether it’s Portencross, Glencoe or Loch Awe, there were classic shots of places many of us will know and…

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Novel approach to a virus in Edinburgh

Set in an Edinburgh recovering from a virus which targets young healthy people, Murder at the Music Factory is a thriller which starts at a fast pace. Unfortunately the book is littered with typos, but I still found the writing easy to read and despite not having read any of the other books in the…

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Swapping London life for the Hebrides

When Tamsin and her husband Rab leave London and their busy careers behind, they hope a remote island on the Scottish Hebrides will provide exactly the kind of lifestyle change they’ve been looking for. Once the romantic shine of their new adventure wears off, it becomes clear that rescuing, maintaining and building a croft as…

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A terrific tale with a time travelling teacher

Working at an elite school in Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish history master Mr Petrie has the gift of eternal life. He embarks on time-travelling missions where he is often met by famous and ruthless characters from history. Mr Petrie seeks out an apprentice to help him but the young boy’s past holds its own secrets.…

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