We’ve asked Scotland’s leading writers, booksellers, festival directors and critics to pick one, or two, books — published this year or in the past — that they most enjoyed reading in 2017. There will be new selections every day until 21 December — so keep reading for great ideas about what to read next and visit your nearest high street bookshop to purchase your Christmas gifts! Kevin MacNeil takes us forward on 13th December.
KEVIN MACNEIL, novelist, poet, screenwriter and tutor.
A thrilling recent announcement from Edinburgh’s Polygon Books has us looking back with admiration and forward with anticipation as they publish, in colourful, elegant hardback at £9.99 each, all 22 of Muriel Spark’s novels. My favourite of the first batch is Memento Mori. Who could resist a book that begins with a telephone call and a voice saying, ‘Remember you must die’. But all of these novels are tight, layered and distinctive; little wonder that Spark achieved an international reputation for literary brilliance.
One of my favourite reads of 2017 was macCloud Falls (Luath, 14.99) by Shetland’s Robert Alan Jamieson. It is a deep, wide-ranging and hugely readable narrative about an Edinburgh bookseller with cancer who travels to British Columbia to investigate an early settler who may have been his grandfather. The book has so very much going on – it’s a romance, a road-trip, a meditation on life and literature, and more. Like the best journeys, it is as much about the interior as the exterior and one emerges changed for the better as a direct result of the adventure.