Welcome to our Supporters Bookshelf! Here you will find in one convenient place all those book recommendations our staff have been making especially for our Book Festival supporter newsletter Limited Edition.If you came here while browsing the bookshop and are wondering what this is all about, the Book Festival supporters are our Friends, Patrons and Benefactors, all of whom receive our newsletter twice a year.
Our Friends pay an annual membership fee primarily to benefit from advance booking for festival tickets. Many of them are also Patrons or Benefactors, and have committed to support our work with a regular donation. Patron and Benefactor giving helps the Book Festival to be bold with our programming, include diverse authors from all around the world, invest in facilities and access for all, and supports education through our Schools programme and outreach work in local communities and throughout Scotland year round.
Find out more about how to become a Friend, Patron or Benefactor on our website.
Recommended by Genevieve Fay, our Communities Programme Officer - Having recently been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, it is no wonder that many people, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, are reaching for a copy of Shuggie Bain. Douglas Stuart has written this powerful debut novel drawing on his own life experiences. Set in 1980s Glasgow, which seems to be unravelling under the weight of its own identity crisis, families struggle with unemployment, crushing poverty, and the waves of addiction that are engulfing much of the city. It is a book of both sadness and beauty, a chronicle of memorable characters, their defiance and hope in the face of the grim realities of life and survival.
Recommended by Becca Di Francesco, our Sponsorship Officer - An unassuming café in Tokyo is shrouded in modern folklore because from there it is believed visitors can travel in time. There are strict rules clearly defined at the beginning of the book: visitors cannot leave the café when they time travel; they can’t change circumstances in the present and they only have until their cup of coffee goes cold. This quickly establishes the book as a time travel narrative like no other, there’s no looming panic about changing the course of history. Instead it’s a collection of life affirming tales from four visitors who travel in time bound by love for their partners, their sister or the daughter they never got to meet. The visitors, knowing they can’t change the present, travel to communicate more clearly, to see each other one last time, or to apologise.A gentle and beautifully told novel that feels complete and will stay with you for a while after you’ve read it, and will offer opportunity to reflect over your next cup of coffee.
Recommended by Fiona Rae, our Sponsorship & Partnerships Manager - I read this book after the festival and couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it. I was totally absorbed by Mohsin’s story; it made me weep but it also gave me great hope. Described as “a memoir of a gay Muslim’s journey to acceptance”, I can only imagine that committing such a personal story to paper must have felt terrifying at times, but it feels like a story that needs to be shared. It has a universal relevance and – like so many Book Festival events – it made me optimistic that open and thoughtful dialogue can create change.
This book packs a lot into 186 pages: part manifesto, part call to arms, part essential handbook to navigating the climate crisis. Co-authored by two key architects of the 2015 UN Paris Agreement, it imagines what will happen if we meet the terms of that agreement by 2050, and what will happen if we don’t. There’s an urgency about it, but also an unshakable optimism underpinning the practical, manageable advice the authors give. It reminds us that hope is a radical political act, and one we particularly need in times of crisis and uncertainty.
After the death of her best friend Vivian, the narrator is torn apart with grief. To try to cope she revisits Vivian’s favourite television programme ‘Little Blue’ (invented by Plante) and in doing so relives their memories together. The novel details how these transgender women became friends and the unrequited love and loss that followed. The narrator falls into the unusual world of Little Blue and creates an encyclopedia based on the programme to dedicate to Vivian like a love letter. It’s a poignant, playful and accessible read – aided by the alphabetical nature of the encyclopedic style. An impressive debut with which it’s easy to become enamoured.
WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION. On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?