BOOKMARK November 2022 Book recommendations
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Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North by Rachel Joyce
Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North (ISBN: 9780857529008, hardback). Many of us hugely enjoyed Miss Benson’s Beetle (winner of the inaugural BOOKMARK Book of the Year Award in 2020). However, with Maureen Fry, Rachel Joyce steps back into more familiar territory. It is ten years on from Harold Fry’s ‘unlikely pilgrimage’ across the British Isles. Life appeared to have resettled until Harold’s wife, Maureen, receives a message from the North that propels her – somewhat reluctantly - into her own adventure.
Rose Nicholson by Andrew Greig
Rose Nicolson by Andrew Greig (ISBN: 9780857054869, paperback). The novel is set in the turbulent, uncertain years after the Scottish reformation: many of the characters and events really lived and did happen. While the turmoil of monarchy, the feuds of the landed families and the suspicions of the new religion swirl overhead, our focus is on the more immediate trepidations of the teenager Will Fowler, setting off from Embra in the winter of 1574 for university in St Andrews, cold, worried about his inadequate Latin and fearful of his landlady. The story romps along at a John Buchan pace; its language fresh and contemporary.
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka
(Sort of Books, 2022)
Turmoil and war also provide the backdrop for this year’s Booker Prize winner: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka (ISBN: 9781908745903). Set in the horrors of the Sri Lankan civil war, Almeida has been murdered and dumped in the festering Beira Lake: he has seven months in the afterlife to contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a stash of his photographs that will rock the country. The book’s satire and humour are sharp, and its depictions are visceral and brutal; but it is also a book of loyalty and love.
The Banes O The Turas by Jim Mackintosh
(Tibbermuir Books, 2022)
BOOKMARK hosts the launch of The Banes O The Turas (ISBN: 9781913836313). A Scots translation by Jim Mackintosh of Italian poet Pino Mereu’s book Turas Viaggio, depicting Mereu’s friendship with Henderson and his visits to Scotland.
Hamish Henderson: Collected Poems by Corey Gibson
For a collection of Henderson’s poetry, I suggest Hamish Henderson: collected poems, edited by Corey Gibson (ISBN: 9781846975530).
Tales for Twilight: A Hundred Years of Scottish Ghost Stories by Alistair Kerr
For my penultimate recommendations this month, it’s prime ghost story time. : ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’ by Muriel Spark from Tales for Twilight: A Hundred Years of Scottish Ghost Stories, selected by Alistair Kerr (ISBN: 9781846975264).
Haunters at the Hearth: Eerie Tales for Christmas Nights by Tanya Kirk
(The British Library, 2022)
For my final recommendation this month, another spooky ghost story collection: Haunters at the Hearth: Eerie Tales for Christmas Nights, edited by Tanya Kirk (ISBN: 9780712354271).