Monday, July 31, 2006

"100 Best Scottish Books of All Time"

Several weeks ago, my wife picked up the booklet that accompanied this list and poll. I pretty much ignored it when it was current last year, as lists like that tend to annoy me. (The idea strikes me as unimaginative and not a particularly useful way to assess whatever is being ranked. And I don't like the element of commodification I feel the process involves.) However, to my surprise, I've found the booklet an enjoyable browse for the most obvious room of the house.
One of the demerits of the format (namely, the lack of space available to discuss a book) is turned into an advantage: it forces pithy writing from some fine writers enthusing about some of their favourite books. Nonetheless, nothing can save the booklet from being just silly in some respects. I'm constantly irritated by the tendency of many readers and writers to equate "book" with fiction and, although the list contains works of non-fiction, it's still exclusively continuous prose. This leaves the entire history and contemporary landscape of Scottish poetry, drama and short stories to be discussed in three short paragraphs each. Simply absurd.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Apologies for Absence

Apologies for the absence of any updates to this blog over the past wee while. We've been without a phone line and, therefore, internet access at home since Tuesday. It's still not working, so I'm doing this from my work computer (in my lunch hour, I hasten to add). According to the BT workmen we spotted on Wednesday evening, a Scottish Power cable down the street exploded and frazzled the neighbourhood's phone cables. It blew up the junction box (or whatever you call it) and sent bits of it flying across the road, clattering on to somebody's roof at 1 o'clock in the morning.

Monday, July 03, 2006

So Nice To Come Home To

I arrived home on Friday to a most pleasant, unexpected piece of post: a pamphlet containing poems from the 2005 Amnesty International poetry competition, with my winning poem in pole position. With a nice sense of cheek and irony, the pamphlet is entitled "Extraordinary Renditions". You can purchase it from Anthea West, the secretary of Amnesty International Reading (that's the place, not the activity). The suggested price is £2.

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