Leakey’s is an enormous second hand bookshop and cafe in Inverness.  Chock-a-block full of really old, kinda old and not-at-all old books and prints and maps and photographs, it’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon browsing and reading and buying in between big bowls of soup, coffees and lovely traybake cakes.

If you’re coming to Inverness, I reckon Leakey’s should be at the top of your “To See” list.


Reading Recommendations (for you and me)

Pretty much every year I ask for book recommendations from you all and here I am doing it again.

I’m off on holiday in three weeks time and from the moment I enter the airport to the moment I hit the sun-lounger to the moment I get off the plane again, I intend on reading lots and lots and lots.   Bothersome tasks like eating copious amounts of pizza, drinking Prosecco,  blethering to Dad, browsing in shops, running along the shore pathand taking pictures of lovely Italian buildings/scenery may infringe upon my plans slightly but there will still be lots of time for literary pursuits.  😉

So, any recommendation for books (fiction or non-fiction) that will utterly absorb me would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

Like last year, I am bribing you for this information with a cute picture of Marco (see above).  Unlike last year, I am also offering you something else: my own reading recommendations. Below is a list of books that I love.  The first eight are books I have read in the last year and enjoyed and the latter four are my all time favourite novels.

Fair trade? Hope so.

Recent Reads

  • Gillespie & I  by Jane Harris – A rather unsettling but entirely engrossing read set in Victorian Glasgow.  Stayed with me for weeks and weeks after I’d finished it.
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler – Read this by mistake.  Thought it was something else.  Not much happens but I felt a part of the fictional family by the time I’d finished.
  • Bjorkmann’s Point by Håkan Nesser – Do you like cheesy crime thrillers? I do and I really liked this one.  Swedish. Not hugely original but a very entertaining read.
  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts- Epic true story of a Western fugitive and his experience of working in the underworld in India.  Oddly uplifting.
  •  The Woman in Black by Susan Hill – Love a good ghost story, I do.  Didn’t want to see the film until I’d read the book.   The book’s great fun.  Still haven’t seen the film.
  • Dark Matter by Michelle Paver- Another ghost story. Set in midwinter-Spitsbergen at the beginning of the 20th century.  Not perfect by any means but really, really scary!
  • Blood River by Tim Butcher – Non-fiction book about a journalist’s journey along the Congo river.  Opened my eyes.
  • The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson – Author of The Moomin stories.  I’ve loved her short stories for a while now but this novel was beautiful.

All Time Favourites

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Set in early 20th century Barcelona. Mysterious, funny, touching, atmospheric… Just loved it.
  • We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – Stunning writer.  Chilling character.  Thought-provoking issues.  Subtly gripping plot.
  • A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth – Big, big book.  Totally worth the time investment.  May have said this before on these pages but I cried when it ended because I wasn’t going to know the characters anymore.
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Heartbreaking.  Tolstoy’s prose is beautifully crisp.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Needs no introduction but if you haven’t read it, do.  I read it every year without fail.