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Archive for the ‘What Gerry’s reading’ Category

My Favourite Books of 2018

December 22nd 2018

Gerry Hassan

This is a list of my favourite books of the year. It is a totally subjective and idiosyncratic list: made up things I have read, come across, been involved in or inspired by and which have stopped me and made me think.

There is a bias towards books out this year but as it is my list and a reflection of what inspired me it is a deliberate mixture of old and new. This is the fourth year in a row I have done this kind of selection and recommendations of the year – and I welcome any thoughts and comments on the enclosed. As well as being interested in what inspired and stimulated other people.

SCOTLAND:

POLITICS AND CULTURE:

Momus, The Book of Scotlands, Luath Press.

The left field Momus brings out a new edition of his wonderful ‘The Book of Scotlands’: 150 parallel universe Scotlands of past, present and future. Previously only available as a limited edition from a Berlin publisher – and with an intro by myself. Read the rest of this entry »

MY FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2017

December 15th 2017

Here is a selection of my books of the year. By its nature, this is subjective – made up of books I have read, enjoyed and been impressed by, and isn’t thus an attempt to comprehensively cover every subject. While the vast majority of books listed were published this year, there are a few from late 2016, and a couple published before then.

Scotland: My Favourite Books of the Year

James Robertson, Michael Marra: Arrest This Moment, Big Sky Press

This is a beautifully produced book on a precious talent – musician and artist Michael Marra. Robertson makes this book about Marra on every page, and about something more – the creative muse, modern culture and contemporary Scotland.

Diane M. Watters, St. Peter’s, Cardross: Birth, Death and Renewal, Historic Environment Scotland

A stunning testimony, in text and photograph, to St. Peter’s Seminary by Cardross. The book covers post-war modernism, the hopes behind building St. Peter’s and what went wrong – resulting in the present ruin that the arts organisation NVA hope to make into a space for cultural and public discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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