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34 minutes ago, velo army said:

"The People's Act of Love" by James Meek is a gorgeous book. One of the few novels I'd read again.

"The Kiln" by William McIlvanney is a hugely uplifting coming of age nostalgia trip. I've read it three times and love to revisit it often. 

I love McIlvanney actually. If you fancy detective fiction "Laidlaw" is up there with the great crime novels, because it isn't as much a crime novel as an eloquent journey into the the soul of a city (Glasgow) in the mid 70's. Again, I've read this one multiple times.

The three Laidlaw books are in many respects the template for most Scottish crime fiction that followed - I'm especially fond of the first one because a couple of scenes are set in the Burns Howff where I used to drink when I was a kid!

Docherty and The Big Man are both excellent as well. I didn't enjoy his first book Remedy Is None ithough...wee bit overwrought and selfconsciously literary.

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2 hours ago, Hillonearth said:

The three Laidlaw books are in many respects the template for most Scottish crime fiction that followed - I'm especially fond of the first one because a couple of scenes are set in the Burns Howff where I used to drink when I was a kid!

Docherty and The Big Man are both excellent as well. I didn't enjoy his first book Remedy Is None ithough...wee bit overwrought and selfconsciously literary.

I loved Remedy but it was so grim I had to read something super light (Pirlo’s autobiography, since you ask). I felt and related to the anger and grief expressed in that book. Docherty is an absolute masterpiece though.

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I can return the favour and recommend the gentleman b*****ds series by Scott Lynch. They're glorious but nobody I've ever spoken to has ever bloody heard of them. Thank me later. 
They are amazing, one of my favourite series of books. The world he has created is superb and they are genuinely funny, smart books. I keep checking Goodreads to see when the next one is out but I think Scott Lynch may struggle with depression (not sure about this but it has been due out for a long time).

I am reading Game of Thrones - never watched an episode but the books are superb. I am halfway through A Storm Of Swords and already have the 4th one lined up next.

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On 02/08/2019 at 09:10, Estragon IS NOT a fud said:

Not many at all(all 8 bellow). I didn't find them heavy at all because they were very enjoyable. I found Brothers Karamazov and The Master and Margarita more of a slog

Capture.thumb.PNG.1896c223ebc35e8d796c43f8cfa4c866.PNG

Surprised by that. The Master and Margarita is one of the most accessible classic Russian books.

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The Damned United by David Peace.

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.

 

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On 30/07/2019 at 07:27, Melanius Mullarkey said:

The phone book. It’s a bit boring but then a load of Polish folk turn up at the end.

You're better with the audio version read by Fenella Fielding.

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On 01/08/2019 at 21:44, Detournement said:

Simon Jenkins is a complete walloper.

How many have you read? Pynchon and Dostoevsky are heavy going if your not a big reader surely?

James Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of A Justified Sinner is the best Scottish novel of all time imo. For something a bit more modern Morvern Callar by Alan Warner is a great read.

Lanark by Alasdair Gray or The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie?  Dr Jekyll and The Rangers Fan?  Trainspotting?  The Wasp Factory? Sunset Song?  Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles?  Scott's Waverley Novels (Scotland's Shakespeare)?

Nothing wrong with Hogg but still a  difficult choice.

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House With The Green Shutters, Consider the Lily and The Silver Darlings all contenders too. We're some nation for literature.

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13 hours ago, The DA said:

Lanark by Alasdair Gray or The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie?  Dr Jekyll and The Rangers Fan?  Trainspotting?  The Wasp Factory? Sunset Song?  Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles?  Scott's Waverley Novels (Scotland's Shakespeare)?

Nothing wrong with Hogg but still a  difficult choice.

I think that James Barke's epic,The Land of the Leal,and also his Immortal Memory ..a quintet on the life and loves of Robert Burns..might also be worthy of a mention in this category.

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Just now, Serious Business said:

Thoughts on the classic Waverley series?

I'd have to admit to only having read a handful - and many years ago at that.  Heavy going at times but a real sense of accomplishment as you finish each book. 

Try Rob Roy first and see if you like it.  It was the most popular of Scott's books at the time, apparently.

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Just finished Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Liked it enough to know that I’m going to get straight on to his Robot series once I get home.

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Just finished Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Liked it enough to know that I’m going to get straight on to his Robot series once I get home.

Couple of chapters in to the first one just now, it's great.

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20 hours ago, The DA said:

Lanark by Alasdair Gray or The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie?  Dr Jekyll and The Rangers Fan?  Trainspotting?  The Wasp Factory? Sunset Song?  Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles?  Scott's Waverley Novels (Scotland's Shakespeare)?

Nothing wrong with Hogg but still a  difficult choice.

What sets Justified Sinner apart for me is that it was so far ahead of it's time and still feels remarkably fresh 200 years after publication. The writing and language are great and the form is innovative and still seems modern due to the framing devices. The story is compelling and funny whilst addressing the most serious subjects. When it was published it was largely considered a disaster by the Edinburgh literary set and even among some of those who appreciated it there was a conspiracy theory that someone else wrote it as they didn't consider Hogg capable. I think it's not just a great Scottish novel but a great literary novel generally. Karl Miller's biography of Hogg The Electric Shepherd is a fantastic read.

I love Lanark but it's in thrall to Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man and Kafka so i'd rank it behind Justified Sinner. I don't think the others you have listed reach the heights of those two and I definitely can't agree with calling Scott "Scotland's Shakespeare". He's pretty much incomparable which is why he is read in every country in the world.

James Kelman is my favourite Scottish author but it would be depressing if A Disaffection  or A Chancer was our greatest novel. Ringan Gilhaize by John Galt is brilliant as well and very relevant in the era of ISIS but I don't think it's read at all now.

Swing Hammer Swing by Jeff Torrington is hilarious and also deserves more readers. It's about a guy who's home in the Gorbals is about to demolished during the slum clearances and the trouble he gets himself into around the city.

I'm quite surprised that no one has mentioned And The Land Lay Still  by James Robertson as it's very pro independence as well as being a good read. It's a very ambitious state-of-the-nation type novel and actually manages to pull off it's ambitious goals.

 

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What sets Justified Sinner apart for me is that it was so far ahead of it's time and still feels remarkably fresh 200 years after publication. The writing and language are great and the form is innovative and still seems modern due to the framing devices. The story is compelling and funny whilst addressing the most serious subjects. When it was published it was largely considered a disaster by the Edinburgh literary set and even among some of those who appreciated it there was a conspiracy theory that someone else wrote it as they didn't consider Hogg capable. I think it's not just a great Scottish novel but a great literary novel generally. Karl Miller's biography of Hogg The Electric Shepherd is a fantastic read.
I love Lanark but it's in thrall to Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man and Kafka so i'd rank it behind Justified Sinner. I don't think the others you have listed reach the heights of those two and I definitely can't agree with calling Scott "Scotland's Shakespeare". He's pretty much incomparable which is why he is read in every country in the world.
James Kelman is my favourite Scottish author but it would be depressing if A Disaffection  or A Chancer was our greatest novel. Ringan Gilhaize by John Galt is brilliant as well and very relevant in the era of ISIS but I don't think it's read at all now.
Swing Hammer Swing by Jeff Torrington is hilarious and also deserves more readers. It's about a guy who's home in the Gorbals is about to demolished during the slum clearances and the trouble he gets himself into around the city.
I'm quite surprised that no one has mentioned And The Land Lay Still  by James Robertson as it's very pro independence as well as being a good read. It's a very ambitious state-of-the-nation type novel and actually manages to pull off it's ambitious goals.
 
I could add many more to the list of great Scottish novels, but I'm going to restrict my recommendation to the best novel, in my opinion, ever written about football,

Robin Jenkins " The Thistle and The Grail ".

A comic allegory, it follows the fortunes of Drumsagart Thistle and their quest for The Scottish Junior Cup. The road to
Roncesvalles is littered with casualties.

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I'm a McIlvanney fanboy so Docherty will always get my vote for best Scottish novel, but there really are a wealth of contenders. Swing Hammer Swing is a great shout but it's one that seems bizarrely underrated to me - you don't seem to hear it talked about as much as some other novels. A Disaffection is Kelmans best in my opinion but by f**k he is hard going sometimes. Sunset Song and Trainspotting also great, as is Electric Brae by Andrew Greig. The point about Justified Sinner being ahead of its time is definitely true - it reads like something that could have been published today in places.

It's probably enough to disqualify me from having any kind of Scottish literary opinions but I'm not convinced I ever fully 'got' Lanark. Once you leave aside the interesting thematic/structural elements of the book I'm not sure the writing is amazing? But the last time I read it was in school so maybe I should go back to it.

Outside of Scotland, easily the best writer I've discovered in the last few years is Svetlana Alexievich. It seems daft to say a winner of the Nobel prize for literature isn't well known enough but she's amazing. Also, it's a bit fashionable to dislike him but reading a lot of David Foster Wallace at the moment, particularly his non fiction, which seems to have a style all his own sometimes. I quite like Douglas Coupland as well but often get the feeling his novels are a bit 'empty' - he has his archetypes of atomised gen Xers and his style of glib pop culture references and irony, but it's hard to know how much else is going on under that surface? Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates is another favourite - I avoided it for a long time mostly because I didn't like the look of the film but the book is outstanding.

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10 hours ago, mathematics said:

Sunset Song is a brutal read.

It was a hard fucking slog in higher English I can tell you. 

Always remember the bit in the Brookmyer novel when the guy is saying to his old English teacher that a book about teuchter farmers raping their Daughters is maybe not the best story to try to get teenagers into Scottish literature. 

Still, it gave me and my pals a classic line that we still use to this day 

"Your my flesh and blood Chrissie, I'll do with you as I please."

 

Edited by HeWhoWalksBehindTheRows

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Just about any book I had to read at school was permanently ruined for me. The dreary process of as a class identifying all the literary tricks that were used totally kills any mystique that a book might have.

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3 hours ago, MixuFixit said:

Just about any book I had to read at school was permanently ruined for me. The dreary process of as a class identifying all the literary tricks that were used totally kills any mystique that a book might have.

I struggle to enjoy Animal Farm for this reason. 

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