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Books

Book review: The Senecans, by Peter Stothard

If I were to choose a favourite quotation from Lucius Annaeus Seneca, the Roman playwright, satirist, philosopher, statesman and tutor to the emperor Nero, it would be some lines from his Epistles: “Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man’s power how long”.

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The Glasgow skyline Pic: Robert Perry

Book review: Glasgow - The Autobiography, by Alan Taylor

The only thing wrong with this delightful book is its modish title. Not only is a city incapable of writing an autobiography, but there is no orderly narrative. What we have is more correctly termed an anthology, bits and pieces garnered from the rich store of writings about that remarkable, endearing and sometimes depressing city. Happily, Alan Taylor, partly perhaps on account of his training as a librarian, but principally because he is a voracious reader and acute critic, is a masterly anthologist.

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Debut author Barbara Henderson. Picture: Contributed

Highland Clearances book for kids is a bestseller

HISTORICAL Highland Clearances children’s novel hits number one Amazon Bestseller Spot on day of launch

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Catriona McPherson at her home near New Galloway, Dumfriesshire.   Pic Ian Rutherford

The Write Stuff: The Child Garden, by Catriona McPherson

Welcome to our regular feature showcasing the talents of the nation’s best writers

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Alex Ferguson with his 1999 autobiography Managing My Life. Picture: PA

5 autobiographies Scots football fans should get before Joey Barton’s

Today is the day Joey Barton’s well publicised book No Nonsense: The Autobiography goes on sale around the country.

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Sir Walter Scott. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

On this day in 1832 - Scots novelist Sir Walter Scott dies

THE famous Scottish Novelist Sir Walter Scott has long been considered the inventor of the historical novel.

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Sandra Ireland

The Write Stuff: Beneath the Skin, By Sandra Ireland

Sandra Ireland’s debut novel, Beneath the Skin, could be described as Stockbridge Gothic. Set in a St Stephen Street taxidermy studio, it tells the story of a group of characters brought together by their respective attempts to escape from pasts that continually threaten to resurface and disrupt the present. In this extract, Walt, the new assistant, ponders the taxidermist’s craft.

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Emma Donoghue

Book review: The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue

After the success of Room – which was nominated for a raft of literary awards and was last year turned into a hit film – I felt like Emma Donoghue had somewhat lost her way. Frog Music, which followed the bestseller four years later, received mixed reviews, not least from the New York Times, which condemned it as “quietly collapsing under the weight of its own tedium”. Sadly, I had to agree.

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Theodor Adorno

Book review: Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School, by Stuart Jeffries

The title of this intriguing and provocative book comes from the Hungarian scholar György Lukàcs, who claimed that the members of the so-called “Frankfurt School” – the “Institute for Social Research” to give it is proper name, since the “Institute for Marxism” was deemed too controversial – indulged in “the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, which can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered”.

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Kellan MacInnes

Book review: The Making of Mickey Bell, by Kellan MacInnes

Kellan MacInnes’s first book, Caleb’s List, was on the short leet for the Saltire Society’s First Scottish Book Award in 2013. The original list was made by Caleb George Cash in 1899 and detailed all the mountains and big hills that could be seen from the top of Arthur’s Seat. Mountains feature in MacInnes’s new novel, this time Munros.

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Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Picture: PA

JK Rowling urges fans not to give money to orphanages

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has urged her fans not to give money to orphanages.

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Members of the public gather in Cardiff to watch a giant peach being moved through the streetds to mark Roald Dahl's centenary. Picture: Getty Images

Video: Giant peach in Cardiff marks Roald Dahl centenary

A giant peach has been transported along the streets of Cardiff as part of celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of children’s author Roald Dahl.

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Ian McEwan PIC: Greg Macvean

Book review: Nutshell, by Ian McEwan

As an elevator pitch, Nutshell really doesn’t have much going for it: “So, it’s a reworking of Hamlet, narrated by a foetus, attempting to find a way to either prevent or avenge his father’s murder.” Yet, somehow, Ian McEwan’s 17th book for the most part works, and in parts is the best of his oeuvre, in my opinion, since Enduring Love back in 1997.

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Martin MacInnes

Book review: Infinite Ground, by Martin MacInnes

Technically this book could be classed as Scottish crime fiction – the author is certainly Scottish, born in Inverness and now resident in Edinburgh, and the plot concerns a unnamed police inspector investigating a mysterious disappearance. Yet something less like the standard tartan noir potboiler is difficult to imagine. For one thing, rather than the mean streets of the Central Belt, the setting is a sweltering metropolis surrounded by dense tropical rainforest in an unidentified South American country; and for another, the plot doesn’t progress in the linear, trail-of-breadcrumbs way you might expect – in fact, in some senses it’s debatable whether it can be said to progress at all.

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Scottish author Graeme Macrae Burnet. Picture: PA

Scottish author tipped for Booker success with new crime novel

The tale of a brutal triple murder in a Highland crofting village is tipped to land this year’s Man Booker Prize.

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Kellan MacInnes

The Write Stuff: The Making of Mickey Bell, by Kellan MacInnes

The fate of climbing books

))))))£££:££***...Two and a half years I’d been there.... TWO AND A HALF YEARS!... sandwiched between the AA Guide to Rural Britain and Michael Owen’s Soccer Skills. Abandoned... forgotten at the end of an inaccessible bookshelf behind a wire basket of CDs and a plastic crate of videos.

It was the long nights that were the worst... after they locked the door at five o’clock. During the day a faint breeze from the Campsies sometimes drifted through the window in the back store room, but at night, the smell of second-hand clothes permeated everything... it seeped, seeped into my covers.

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British children's author Roald Dahl (Photo by Dumant/Getty Images)

Roald Dahl honoured on his centenary with Blue Peter badge

Roald Dahl is set to become the first person in Blue Peter history to be honoured posthumously with a Gold Blue Peter badge.

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Graeme Macrae Burnet is now favourite to win the Man  Booker prize 2016.

Scottish author favourite to win Man Booker Prize 2016

Scottish author Graeme Macrae Burnet is favourite to land this year’s Man Booker Prize - for a second novel from a tiny publishing house run by just two full-time staff.

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Sir Alexander Burnes in the costume of Bokharra. Picture: Wiki Commons

Relative of Robert Burns was ‘Victorian James Bond’

A forgotten relative of poet Robert Burns was a swashbuckling Victorian James Bond, according to a new book.

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John Le Carr�. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Book review: The Pigeon Tunnel by John Le Carré

Marvellous anecdotes offer a tantalising glimpse of the acclaimed novelist, but the former intelligence officer remains, perhaps unsurprisingly, elusive

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