The Christmas Bookshop – Jenny Colgan

You may wonder why I liked this book because the story is entirely predictable, and the plot is sweetly sentimental. On the other hand, the word “bookshop” is in the title and the setting is contemporary Edinburgh. What can I say – it is a relationship book that is entirely satisfying.

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.