Whatever sort of stereotypical notions you have of Scotland are probably not too far off: a rebellious national spirit, a predilection for ghost stories, an affinity for smart plaids, and an appreciation of a wee dram o’ whisky. Scotland is all this and so much more.
In the city and out in the nature, the scenery is craggy and brutally beautiful. There are castles and towers and keeps around every curve in the road. And the sheep! So many adorable sheep and cattle. You can head down the pub for an evening of folk songs — and, if you’re lucky, you might be told an appropriately moody story by an old Scot who can really spin a yarn.
The geography and weather of Scotland are characters in their own right. The southern part of the country nearer to England is moorland, and in the north are the Highlands with sharp mountains and sharper weather. The Atlantic coast on the west is like a serrated knife, indented with deep, cold lochs — and islands with long histories dot the ocean on both sides of the country.
In this episode, we discuss books that swept us away to Scotland: an Edinburgh ghost story, a memoir by one of Scotland’s most beloved sons, a story collection that celebrates the Scottish tradition of oral storytelling, and two books that explore the unique communities on islands in the Outer Hebrides.
We also enjoy a cozy chat with Tom Hodges, the owner of one of our all-time favorite bookshops, Typewronger Books in Edinburgh.
For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, the transcript, and details about the other cool stuff we talk about, visit the Episode 05 show notes.
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Top image courtesy of Jure Tufekcic.
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