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.
ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH, novelist
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.