Current Edition

Volume 12 Issue 5 Editorial

November 18, 2017

LET’S face it, too many books are published. Figures vary but it is generally believed that in the region of 200,000 titles are published in the UK each year. This is a staggering number which leaves us dumbfounded.

I To the Hills

November 18, 2017

In December 1976, five years before her death, the Aberdeen Evening Express ran an interview with Nan Shepherd. Then aged 83, she had not published a book for over forty years. Asked why I this was, she said, ‘it just didn’t come to I me anymore’, thus prompting the headline, ‘Writer of genius...

THE SRB INTERVIEW: John Banville

November 18, 2017

‘The past beats inside me like a second heart,’ says widow and art historian Max Morden in John Banville’s 2005 novel The Sea. He has returned to the seaside village of his childhood, where he first experienced love, in all its gentleness and brutality; re-imagining this personal enclave,...

NEW POEMS: CLAIRE ASKEW

November 18, 2017
by SRB

MAY ‘It is said that Long Meg and her daughters were a coven of witches who were holding their sabbat, when the Scottish wizard Michael Scot came upon them and turned them to stone. The stones of the circle are said to be uncountable, and that should anyone ever reach the same total twice, the spell...

IN PRAISE OF CHAOS

November 18, 2017
by Colin Waters

The Wikipedia entry for events due to take place in 2023 is bare, currently. London is due a new, £4.1 billion ‘super-sewer’ by that date, while ‘the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands expires’. Otherwise, no...

ENOCH POWELL’S ENGLAND

November 18, 2017
by Joseph Farrell

There are many shadows, physical and metaphorical, cast over the fervent talk and bustling activity of the people featured in this play What Shadows, as there have been over the very impressive series of works written over the years by Chris Hannan.

THE CASE FOR CRITICISM

November 18, 2017
by Nick Major

When I sat down to make notes for this review the first and most pressing problem I arrived at was that Martin Amis is my superior. This is not sycophancy. It is an acknowledgement of where I stand in the pecking order, and an early excuse for any stylistic faults that may undermine my authority to...

SRB DIARY: A MONTH IN TUSCANY

November 18, 2017
by Rosemary Goring

To the ancient walled city of Lucca in Tuscany, where we have taken an apartment for a month. It is on the ground floor of a medieval building – almost everything here is at least 500 years old – and has been renovated by Pervinka, an interior designer. Before renting it out, she moved in for a...

DIARY OF A BOOKSELLER

November 18, 2017
by Shaun Bythell

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop.

It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea.

FITBA’ CRAZY

November 18, 2017
by Brian Morton

Gordon Williams once told me, one Paisley boy to another, that he’d rather score a single goal for St Mirren than write War and Peace. Attaboy. He used the same line in an interview for the Scottish Football Book, so I guess it was a well-practised routine. Did he mean it? Williams regarded honesty...

SCANDINAVIAN NOIR

November 18, 2017
by Dani Garavelli

Towards the end of Mayhem, Sigrid Rausing’s book about her brother Hans’ heroin addiction, she muses on the origins of words for ‘guilt’. In her first language, Swedish, it is ‘skuld’ which also means ‘debt’; in English, it is derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘gylt’, which, in turn,...

UNOFFICIAL CAPITAL

November 18, 2017
by Dr John R Young

There has been a renewed interest in the history of Glasgow in recent years with the publication of Robert Crawford’s On Glasgow and Edinburgh, John Moore’s Glasgow: Mapping the City, Alan Taylor’s Glasgow: The Autobiography, Raymond Depardon’s photographic account, Glasgow, covering the year...

HOW HILLARY BLEW IT

November 18, 2017
by Jamie Maxwell

The night before last year’s US presidential election, on 7 November 2016, Bruce Springsteen performed at a rally for Hillary Clinton in downtown Philadelphia. He only played three songs: ‘Thunder Road’, ‘Long Walk Home’, and ‘Dancing In The Dark’. But he broke-up his acoustic set by...

WINTER WORDS

November 18, 2017
by Mandy Haggith

At first sight, this looks like a sweet coincidence: here are two Scottish writers, both called Jim C, based in the urban central belt, writing on rural issues and making ample use of metaphors taken from jazz. Both books have cool blue covers with monochrome images. The similarities end there. One...