It’s come round to that time of year when I go over the books I’ve read and try to pull together reading goals for the next 365 days. Except, of course, this year I have been rubbish at keeping track of what I’ve read. There have been a lot of books I’ve picked up and abandoned as well as finding comfort in numerous re-reads (Marian Keyes and Emily Barr’s respective back catalogues have been amazing comfort blankets). So I’ve cobbled together some of the highlights that I can remember:
+ Blossom by Lesley Riddoch was one of my reading highlights of last year. I came late to this book, finally picking it up over five months after the Referendum had taken place. At times it can be a heart breaking read which examines the lost potential of a Scotland strangled by centralised politics whilst ignoring local community power, lack of clarity surrounding land ownership and it’s own stubborn attitude of a wee country. How can Scottish folk even address the possibility of independence without picking apart the constraints that hold us there? A worthy read for anyone wishing to explore how Scotland really can be a better country to live in.
+ Honourable Friends? Parliament and the Fight for Change by Caroline Lucas compliments Blossom in many ways. Caroline Lucas made history in 2010 when she became the first Green MP elected to the British Parliament. This fascinating ‘insiders’ account reveals hilarious, baffling and sometimes quite shocking activities that go on in this little community. The title Honourable Friend comes from the tradition that MPs in the Debating Chamber cannot address each other directly by name. It is as Honourable Friend or Honourable Lady – nothing less. This is a bubble that needs to be burst.
+ Fishnet by Kirstin Innes was a delightful read whilst I was on holiday on the Isle of Skye during the Spring. I was able to read the book almost entirely in one sitting. The politics of sex work is bound up in a family’s story of a missing daughter. Innes has taken a tough subject that sparks debate amongst feminists, politicians and everyone in between and crafted a novel that is very distinctively Scottish in its characters, outlook and wry humour. It’s also the winner of the Guardian’s Not The Book Prize in 2015 and deservedly so.
What does 2016 hold? I’ve decided to take the plunge and not purchase any new books until I’ve read my backlog of books currently resting on my shelves. I’ve also decided to practise what I preach and borrow more books from my local libraries. Like most public services, they’re facing cuts even in the leafy suburb that I live in. I’ll be keeping better track of where my books come from and trying to wean myself off my Amazon habit.
I’ll be spending the final hours of 2015 trying to finish one of my Christmas book bargains, bought in a moment of weakness at The Works after a particularly stressful day at work. Happy New Year everyone – lang may yer lum reek!