Birlinn Books – Notes from the Basement

Birlinn Books – Notes from the Basement

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

It’s a confection of cool, sweet treats from us this week as the sun shines on Edinburgh. We’re able to venture out without a jacket. Glorious!

It’s National Picnic Month and elderflowers are still in bloom, so have a forage in the garden or hedgerow and then pack up your hamper with this zingy Elderflower Cordial from Claire Macdonald’s Scottish Wild Food Bible.

July is in the running to be our favourite month of the year, for it’s also Ice Cream Month. Mary Contini and Pru Irvine are on hand to provide a refreshing Orange Ice Cream from children’s cookbook Easy Peasy. No ice-cream maker required!

Alexander McCall Smith’s poem ‘Summer’ from his 2020 collection In a Time of Distance is an ode to the perfect summer day.

These are the lazy days before the hubbub of August’s festival season. If you’re holidaying in red squirrel country, Polly Pullar’s A Scurry of Squirrels tells the story of the species’ recovery. Read an extract here. 

We love news of new bookshops: Rare Birds Books will be opening in Stockbridge in early August. Read more about this new space that centres women’s writing in Edinburgh Live. | [Edinburgh Live]

Sticking with August, Helen McClory, namechecked above as one of Edinburgh’s finest women writers, will be appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to talk about her newest novel Bitterhall. Her solo event will feature a new short film made in collaboration with Bryan M Ferguson. Book here. | [EdBookFest]

Another hot ticket at the EdBookFest will be Denise Mina talking about Rizzio, her tense, brilliant retelling of the murder of Mary Queen of Scots’ secretary David Rizzio in her Holyrood apartments. Book here! | [EdBookFest]

The 149th Open just finished, and we’re already looking towards the 150th, to be played in St Andrews in 2022. Stephen Proctor, author of Monarch of the Green, the biography of Young Tom Morris, met the team behind this two-hour deep dive into the early days of golf. Sky Sports subscribers can watch it on catch-up. [Golf Channel]

And finally, how well do you know your Scottish Proverbs? Colin Walker, paremiologist and author of our pocket collection, gave The Honest Truth to the Sunday Post. Turns out, George Washington made a muckle mistake. [Sunday Post]

This month, life IS a picnic!
Team Birlinn