Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You need to know more

I have just discovered that a colleague of mine has a rather intriguing blog, entitled "More than you needed to know".

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Public Confession

On Thursday evening, I was at the launch of The Testament of Gideon Mack, the new novel by James Roberston--novelist, poet, non-fiction author, founder of Kettilonia press and, with Matthew Fitt, driving force behind the marvellous Itchy Coo project.

The venue, Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery, was jam packed with figures from the Scottish literatary world--I caught a glimpse of Alastair Reid at one point--media men and women and high heid yins of Scotland's arts bodies. Everybody was melting, so they opened the glass front of the gallery. It made little difference to the temperature in the depths of the throng, but the party spilled out on to the street.
The book owes a lot to James Hogg's masterpiece The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner in structure and, to some extent, content. However, although it's conscious of its antecedents, it looks very much like its own beast in its investigation of faith and belief in this day and age and of Scotland in the latter part of the 20th century.
I'm not given to buying hardbacked novels, but I bought a copy, as one does at a launch, and am looking forward to reading it over the summer.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Book Trade Goes to the Dog

Well, Ottakar's is definitely to be swallowed by the dog, not that I held out much hope that anything else would be the outcome.
"Support your local booksellers!" must be the rallying cry. I'm not averse to buying books online, but these days I'm more inclined to find out about a book online and order it through the local bookshop.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wigtown Booktown Ghosttown

We were in Wigtown a week past Saturday. Came away with a nice wee haul of second-hand books, including John Berryman's Collected Poems 1937-1971 (doesn't include the Dream Songs, which I really want to get my teeth into at some point) and Octavio Paz's bilingual Collected Poems 1957-1987 edited by the translator and wonderful essayist Eliot Weinberger.

Wigtown, I have to say, felt rather dead. Maybe everyone was just away at Hay, but it wasn't necessarily due to a lack of people even though there appeared to be no bustle about the place; it seemed like something deeper. Interestingly, Whithorn, which has a similar proportion of boarded-up buildings and had a similar number of people on the streets, didn't share the aura of malaise. Maybe it's because Wigtown is so blatantly branded and Whithorn is more just itself.

Still, it's a beautiful and fascinating part of the country and I'm pleased with me books.

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