Reading Highlights – August 2013

Due to holidays and other commitments I only managed to complete five books last month. That included two audio books. All very interesting and enjoyable. They included Cinco Moscas Azules, the spanish language book I managed to read last month and which I have already reviewed here.

catriona-mcpherson-the-burry-man-s-day-a-dandy-gilver-murder-mystery-first-edition-book-doodled-688-p[ekm]265x428[ekm]Just one of the books was a crime mystery. This was The Burry Man’s Day by Catriona McPherson. Though the book was published in 2007, the novel has an old fashioned feel to it. Which is not surprising as the mysterious events take place in 1923. The book is the second in a series featuring upper class English born amateur sleuth Dandy Gilver. The Burry Man is apparently a real character from the South Queensferry summer Fair. A good light hearted read with a bit of social commentary added in.

Book coverTales from the Back Green is a short collection of stories based on the childhood and teenage memories of Scottish actor Bill Patterson. Originally created for radio, they are best listened to. Patterson grew up in a tenement flat in Glasgow and this fine collection provides a gentle and funny account of life in Glasgow in the 1950s. The version I listened to was read by Joe Dunlop. Good though this was, I believe that you can now get the stories read by Patterson himself, which I would recommend.

BOOK-articleInlineSkios by Michael Frayn was the other audio book I listened to. This is a very funny and at times wicked little mix of satire and farce. Could easily be staged as a play. Based on mistaken identity and mid life crisis. Set on the Greek holiday island of Skios this is perfect listening for summer. Martin Jarvis as the narrator brought to life all the varied characters with their little foibles and added greatly to the tale.

9781842127247My one venture into the world of non fiction writing was Home Rule: An Irish History, 1800 – 2000 by Alvin Jackson. This is a rather dry academic history of Home Rule. Quite a lot of detail about the key people involved, but did not really explain why Home Rule failed, despite the popular support for this in Ireland. Written in the main from a Unionist perspective, the author claims that Home Rule survives with the current Northern Ireland Assembly. Though the book, as the subtitle indicates is about Ireland, I still found it strange that a book about Home Rule made virtually no references to Scotland.


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