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Stewart 1st Nov 2013 11:46

Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
Here's a list, curated by Stuart Kelly (Booker judge this year) and Scottish Book Trust staff. Written in Scotland or the author lives in Scotland are the criteria. You can vote for yours here.

Interesting range. Not quite sure tripe like McCall Smith should be on such a list. Or that Banks should get two listed on a technicality.

I've only read three of them, but started many more (Buddha Da perhaps holds the record for seconds spent in my hand before hitting a wall), or have read others by the authors.

Amande's Bed, John Aberdein
Life After Life, Kate Atkinson
The Bridge, Iain Banks
Excession, Iain M. Banks
The New Confessions, William Boyd
One Fine Day..., Christopher Brookmyre
Magnus, George Mackay Brown
Glister, John Burnside
Pfitz, Andrew Crumey
Buddha Da, Anne Donovan
Under The Skin, Michel Faber
The Panopticon, Jenni Fagan
Mr Alfred MA, George Friel
The Trick Is To Keep Breathing, Janice Galloway
Lanark, Alasdair Gray
The Dear Green Place, Archie Hind
Den Of Foxes, Stuart Hood
Fergus Lamont, Robin Jenkins
Trumpet, Jackie Kay
Kieron Smith, Boy, James Kelman
The Mind Benders, James Kennaway
Day, A.L. Kennedy
Another Time, Another Place, Jessie Kesson
A Very Quiet Street, Frank Kuppner
Prevailing Wind, Joan Lingard
Grace Notes, Bernard MacLaverty
Newton's Wake, Ken MacLeod
A Question Of Loyalties, Allan Massie
A Place Of Execution, Val McDermid
Docherty, William McIllvanney
A Case Of Knives, Candia McWilliam
The People's Act of Love, James Meek
Garnet Hill, Denise Mina
Tales From The Mall, Ewan Morrison
The Hand That First Held Mine, Maggie O'Farrell
Our Fathers, Andrew O'Hagen
Gentlemen Of The West, Agnes Owens
Black And Blue, Ian Rankin
Joseph Knight, James Robertson
Consider The Lilies, Iain Crichton Smith
44 Scotland Street, Alexander McCall Smith
Hotel World, Ali Smith
Loitering With Intent, Muriel Spark
The Magic Flute, Alan Spence
The Bad Sister, Emma Tennant
Justine, Alice Thompson
Swing Hammer, Swing!, Jeff Torrington
Morvern Callar, Alan Warner
Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
The Cutting Room, Louise Welsh

ono no komachi 1st Nov 2013 23:36

Re: Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
I've read The New Confessions, The Trick is to Keep Breathing, The People's Act of Love and Trainspotting, and I'd rate them all. Maybe I should read a few more from the list.

Dave 2nd Nov 2013 18:44

Re: Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
I'm surprised that Andrew Greig is not on that list.
There are a fair few authors on there I haven't heard of never mind read.
I suppose the purpose of these lists is to stimulate debate but a debate on modern Scottish literature won't be a big one.

David 2nd Nov 2013 19:40

Re: Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
I've read four of them (Life After Life, Glister, Day and The People's Act of Love) and all were very good.
I've read twelve of the authors, but different books to the ones listed here, and the only one I didn't enjoy (and probably wouldn't read anything more by) is Jackie Kay.
Certainly there are several I'd never heard of and a couple at least that I'd be very keen to read (Allan Massie and Agnes Owens).

gil 6th Nov 2013 19:55

Re: Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
I've read The Bridge, Excession, New Confessions, Lanark, Black and Blue, 44 Scotland Street and Trainspotting.

I liked them all, though I have reservations about Lanark (started well, finished too late) and 44 Scotland Street (a bit cosy) .

I liked the fact that Iain Banks and Iain M Banks deserved two listings!

Beth 10th Nov 2013 16:59

Re: Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
Only two, People's Act of Love and Hotel World, and I'm glad to see the list. Tried to read the Galloway but hated it.

wshaw 12th Nov 2013 9:25

Re: Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
They're going for one title per writer, I guess, judging by James Kelman being on there only once. In that case I'd vote for The Sopranos by Alan Warner nudging out his Morven Callar.

Ang 17th Nov 2013 18:02

Re: Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
I've read 8 of those and I liked them so I'm intrigued by the list. I didn't know some of them were Scots though!

Stewart 18th Nov 2013 10:17

Re: Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
Some of them, like Michel Faber, are Scots by association. As I said in the first post, it's authors who are Scottish or that live in Scotland.

John Aberdein was the only writer to get a short story into each of the compilations that were publihsed from entries to the short-lived (three years!) Scotsman & Orange Short Story contest. A few novels under his belt, mixing English, Scots, and Doric. If I remember correctly, his second novel is something of a dystopian fiction.

Archie Hind only published that one novel, although it usually comes with an unfinished novel, Fur Sadie. Single novel fame also goes to Jeff Torrington's Swing Hammer, Swing! (which I gave to Col at the Glasgow BDO - read it yet?).

Not sure about Ewan Morrison's work. Always remember review of early stuff being about things like swinging, and the like. Perhaps Tales From The Mall is a wonder of Scottish literature, but I think Morrison and Stuart Kelly, who helped compile the list, are quite matey; certainly I was on the same flight as them from Brussels to Edinburgh in December 2012.

Welsh's The Cutting Room had me interested, but eventually I finished it bored. And Anne Donovan's Buddha Da is written in the phonetic Scots that everyone seems to want to do since Welsh popularised it.

The Frank Kuppner one may be intersting. He's a poet, predominantly, so there should hopefully be some good turns of phrase within.

Denise Mina's Garnethill is her debut and the first of a crime trilogy. I have it at home, but haven't read it yet.

Someone once loaned me a Brookmyre and I gave it back quite quick. Not because I raced through it, but because I thought it was just trying to be funny rather than being naturally so.

McCall Smith is just twee rubbish as far as I'm concerned. (Based purely on #1 Ladies Detective Agency.)

The People's Act of Love I enjoyed, though remember just a gist of it now.

I've read some of Kelman's Kieron Smith, Boy and, more importantly, I've heard Kelman read from it, which is a brilliant experience. He really does capture the racing thoughts and innocence of a wee yin. (At the reading, he made mention that the only translation rights sold were in Korean; don't know if that was a joke. Certainly he seemed bemused that Translated Accounts had made its way into Russian.)

Agnes Owens is a contemporary and friend of James Kelman. I've only read one of her short stories from the collected whole, and recall it as being like a grounded fairy tale.

Noumenon 19th Nov 2013 12:03

Re: Favourite Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
It's just Trainspotting and the two Banks titles for me. I find it both interesting and correct to select The Bridge as his "mainstream" representative, it being the most science-fiction-y of them. That was what he did best.

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