The Diary of a Bookseller – Shawn Bythell

After buying a bookshop in the southwest corner of Scotland in 2001, the author/owner keeps a one-year diary of the bookshop activities in 2014. He is an often grumpy and irascible commentator on: his rotating staff and their idiosyncrasies, his customers, and the precarious state of independent second-hand bookshops. And his pet peeve, the Amazon juggernaut. There is lots about buying books from estates. Throughly entertaining.

Machine Without Horses – Helen Humphreys

Machine Without Horses - Helen HumphreysHumphreys is a great writer (Nocturne, The Evening Chorus, The Lost Garden). Her new book is fascinating because the first half is a personal account of her writing process: start with an idea, in this case an obituary of a reclusive Scottish woman who was a renowned salmon-fly dresser. Humphreys describes the essential questions: What is the story? Whose Story is it? How are you going to tell the story? The second half of the book is the imagined life of the Scottish woman; very entertaining.