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Books of the Year 2017 – A Literary Advent Calendar – Scottish Review of Books

Appointment in Arezzo: A friendship with Muriel Spark

Alan Taylor
Format: Hardback Pages: 244 pages Publisher: Birlinn General Publication Date: 02/11/2017 Category: Biography: literary ISBN: 9781846973758

The Seabird's Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers

Adam Nicoloson
Format: Hardback Pages: 228 pages Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication Date: 01/06/2017 Category: Wildlife: birds & birdwatching ISBN: 9780008165697
by SRB

Books of the Year 2017 – A Literary Advent Calendar

December 18, 2017 | by SRB

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! Alexander McCall Smith takes us forward on 18th December.


Books about friendship hold a particular appeal. In an age of disclosure, when the faults and failings of others are exposed with glee, it is refreshing to read accounts of how people may seek and find in one another’s company something positive. Alan Taylor’s Appointment in Arezzo (Polygon, £12.99) tells the story of the friendship between the well-known literary critic and Muriel Spark, the novelist. This is a beautifully written, intriguing memoir that paints a vivid portrait of a complex and fascinating woman. I also enjoyed the latest book from Adam Nicholson, The Seabird’s Cry (William Collins, £16.99).  Nicholson’s range is impressive; he recently wrote a remarkable book about the authorship of Homer; now he turns to seabirds and their extraordinary lives.

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