by Ian Crofton
This authoritative and entertaining reference book is an absorbing and imaginative feast of Scottish lore, language, history and culture, from the mythical origins of the Scots in Scythia to contemporary Scotland. The result is a breathtaking and quirky celebration of Scotland, packed with fact and anecdote. "I hope the reader will find endless diversion," says the author in his foreword. "You may not locate the particular thing you thought you might look up, but I'd be very disappointed if you didn't come across half a dozen unsuspected items that caught your attention, and detained you from the more important business for a while."
by Julie Davidson
As the world celebrates the bicentennial of David Livingstone's birth in 2013, author Julie Davidson unveils the enthralling story of the explorer's extraordinary and courageous wife. In the history books, Mary Livingstone is a shadow in the blaze of her husband's sun. Yet she played an important role in Livingstone's success, and her own feats as an early traveler in uncharted Africa are unique. She was the first white woman to cross the Kalahari, which she did twice (and while pregnant). In the thrall of Africa, the author has traveled extensively over several years in the footsteps of Mary Livingstone, from her birthplace in a remote district of South Africa to her grave on the Zambezi. She explores the places the Livingstones knew as a couple and, above all, explores the life and family of this little-known figure in British history.
by Ruth Bailey
Costume designers Jackie Holt and Ruth Bailey have examined Scotland's most iconic people and places and turned them into wonderful, fanciful knitting patterns. And with their engaging paperback in hand, knitters around the world can create "Nessie," the Loch Ness Monster; distinctly Scottish foods such as Tunnock's Teacakes and the Scotch pie; historical figures including Bonnie Prince Charlie and freedom fighter William Wallace...plus lots, lots more.
by David Purdie
Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, a novel of 12th-century England, can be difficult going for 21st-century readers. So David Purdie has reworked the text, stripping away its archaic syntax and extraneous details in his newly released book. The result has caused both gasps of horror and enthusiastic applause. Scotland On Sunday said, "[Ivanhoe] may have been badly wounded in combat -- only to recover and save the day -- but he has never been sliced up like this," while Professor Graham Tulloch, editor of the Edinburgh edition of Scott's Waverley novels, counters, "I applaud this new, shorter version of Ivanhoe which makes this wonderful novel, once so popular, accessible to a new generation of readers."
Full reviews of these books are available in the Spring 2013 issue of Scottish Life.