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Archive for the ‘What Gerry’s reading’ Category

MY FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2016

December 19th 2016

The political upheavals of 2016 will be captured for many years to come through books and publishing. I enjoyed my wide reading over the year, while still feeling that events and crises were racing ahead of publishers and writers.

I revelled in researching and writing my own book – Scotland the Bold – on the country, its politics, culture and ideas and prospects for change. Writing at book length always gives you permission and discipline to read widely – and beyond narrow subject categorisation – which is a joy. Anyway, without further to do, here are my highlights of the year …..

SCOTLAND

Chris Leslie, Disappearing Glasgow: A Photographic Journey, Freight Books.

A stunning book. One of social history, failed hopes and lives and communities which lived and disappeared often without any record – other than Chris Leslie and his photographs.

Madeleine Bunting, Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey, Granta Books.

A moving tale of remembering, recovering and reclaiming, while finding yourself and love in the Hebrides. Gives a whole new understanding to Scotland’s North West frontier.

Simon Barrow and Mike Small (eds), Scotland 2021, Bella Caledonia/Ekklesia.

Ambitious collection on Scotland after the 2016 election and SNP victory, Brexit and possibilities of independence, social change and a different politics. Read the rest of this entry »

MY FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2015

December 24th 2015

NEW BOOKS:

SCOTLAND

Project Fear: How an Unlikely Alliance left a Kingdom United but a Country Divided, Joe Pike, Biteback

A brilliant access all areas account of the chaos of the ‘Better Together’ campaign in the indyref. To think there was an even more Armageddon-ish‘Project Fear’!

Queer Voices in Post-War Scotland: Male Homosexuality, Religion and Society, Jeffrey Meek, Palgrave Macmillan

At long last a serious study of Scottish gay culture (focusing just on gay men) and in particular the period between Wolfenden (1957) and decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales (1967) and Scotland (1980).

The Spaces of Fiction: Voices from Scotland in a Post-Devolution Age, Marie-Odile Pittin-Hedon, Association for Scottish Literary Studies

French scholar turns her attention to fiction (after a study of Alasdair Gray) and finds a diffuse, diverse Scotland telling particular and universal stories.

Demanding Democracy: The Case for a Scottish Media, Christopher Silver, Word Power Books

Thoughtful, non-partisan exploration of public life in Scotland; good on context, history and traditions, with suggestions for change. And produced by the wonderful Word Power Books in Edinburgh – a bookshop, an imprint and an inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »

Here is a wee selection of some of the things I have been reading:

Momus: The Book of Scotlands

An imaginative tour de force from the idiosyncratic and fabulous singer-songwriter. Momus outlines one hundred and fifty fictionalised Scotlands of the past, present and future. Some are no more than a line or two, some are short, crazed essays. There is so much to choose from here that is hilarious and revealing; in particular I like the 1950s story of Alan Lomax and Alfred Kinsey touring the land studying the sex habits of the Scots fiddler; it all sounds so plausible! Read the rest of this entry »

Here are some of the books that in the last couple of weeks I have been reading:

Friedrich August von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, University of Chicago Press 2007

Hayek is one of the two great bogeymen of the New Right (the other being Milton Friedman) and this is Hayek’s most famous and influential book. It is actually a powerful and convincing case against the tyranny of the state and collectivism, and a book whose eloquence and logic was widely recognised when it was first published in 1944 by even left-wingers such as George Orwell. And this despite being completely out of kilter with the times.

National Review – the American right-wing publication – recently published their 100 best non-fiction books of the last century and listed ‘The Road to Serfdom’ at No. 4 stating that it ‘shatters the myth that the totalitarianisms of the left and of the right stem from differing impulses’. The Review list – which is a riveting and challenging counterblast can be found at: http://www.nationalreview.com/100best/100_books.html

Read the rest of this entry »

Sue Palmer, 21st Century Boys: How Modern Life is Driving Them Off The Rails and How We Can Get Them Back on Track

Sue Palmer is the one-woman force that brought us ‘Toxic Childhood’, a powerful and wonderful polemic about how we relieve the modern pressures piling up on parents and children. 21st Century Boys sees her bring her mixture of good old-fashioned ‘commonsense’, impatience and radicalism to what has gone wrong with boys and how they are portrayed. Palmer believes in the power of play, but ‘free play’, not the ‘structured play’ of policy-makers and is damning of the pervasive influence of marketing. Read the rest of this entry »

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