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! Harry McGrath takes us forward on 20th December.
HARRY MCGRATH, journalist
With Scotland reluctantly tethered to Brexit’s anti-immigrant heart and its promise of economic distress, there’s some pre-Christmas comfort to be found in considering other possible futures. McSmorgasbord: What post-Brexit Scotland can learn from the Nordics, edited by Lesley Riddoch and Paddy Bart (Luath £7.99) is a collection of speeches given in Edinburgh which explored the bewildering array of relationships between the Nordic countries and the EU. However, they are also bursting with ideas that go well beyond the formalities of these relationships. Whether Scotland can press many of these ideas into action is another matter. The only negative chord is struck by a Dundee-born Norwegian citizen who discovered that ‘things considered impossible in Scotland were ‘actually and easily happening here [in Norway].’ I would like to think that Scotland is ready to shed the sandbags, but it will need to be soon or our chances of joining Norway, Denmark, Iceland Finland and Sweden in the top ten of the World Happiness Report are much diminished.