Trig Point Walks on the Isle of Skye and Raasay

Please join the Reading Room at 10-trig-pointEdinbane Community Hall for an illustrated talk by the authors of Trig Point Walks on the Isle of Skye and Raasay, on Tuesday, September 27.

Ian Stewart and Alistair Christie have written what readers dub ‘a cracking little book’ and ‘simply the best’. The comprehensive walking guide is a wee, pocket-sized gem that includes 56 walks to the best viewpoints on the islands of Skye and Raasay; 26 are ‘family-friendly’.

Keen walkers love to tick off the walks as they follow the routes that have been described with passion by the authors. With the well-drawn writing and photos, Trig Point Walks on the Isle of Skye and Raasay has become a classic for Skye and Raasay walkers and is delightful for arm-chair trekkers.

The authors will have plenty of island tales to tell and no doubt you’ll be able to share your favorite trig point stories with them. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Admission is free for members; £5 at the door for non-members.

Ian and Alistair will be signing books and be sure to check out our little cache of good reads. The Reading Room’s Volume 2 of our ‘Words from an Island’ Anthology Series, A Stillness of Mind, is also available for £8.5.

If you would like to make an evening of it, feel free to join some of us around 6:00 dinner at Edinbane Inn. Reservations are needed, unless you do first come, first served in the pub.

 

For information, please contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us at The Reading Room – Skye on Facebook.

 

 

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Zoë Strachan Cancelled.

MANY APOLOGIES. ZOE STRACHAN HAS HAD TO CANCEL, DUE TO EMERGENCY. PLEASE JOIN US ON SEPTEMBER 27 FOR Ian Stewart and Alistair Christie, authors of Trig Point Walks on the Isle of Skye and Raasay. 7.30 p.m. at Edinbane Hall..

The Reading Room presents writer Zoë Strachan on Tuesday, August 30, for an afternoonZoe workshop and evening reading.

In her evening appearance, she will talk about her work, including a sneak-peek at her work-in-progress, and read from her latest novel, Ever Fallen in Love (2011). The story plays with a frenzy of tension, interweaving the tone and pace of young, queer love with the mature hindsight of regret and envy. The novel was Shortlisted for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Scottish Books Awards 2012 and the Green Carnation Prize 2011 and was nominated for the London Book Award 2012 

Her first novel, Negative Space (2002), lauded as a powerful portrayal of grief and healing, was the winner of a 2003 Betty Trask Award and shortlisted for the 2002 Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Her second novel, Spin Cycle (2004), is set in a launderette and tells the story of three of its workers; it is a “murky and dazzling” novel about women in emotional turmoil.

Strachan’s short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She has written many articles and reviews for newspapers, including The Herald, The Scotsman Magazine and The Sunday Times.

Her stage play, Old Girls, opened in Glasgow in 2009. She has also written a stage play, Panic Patterns, with Louise Welsh, performed in Glasgow in 2010. Her short opera, Sublimation, written with composer Nick Fells, was part of Scottish Opera’s Five:15 series in 2010, touring Scotland and also travelling to South Africa.

Zoë teaches on the Creative Writing Programme at the University of Glasgow and lives in Glasgow with her partner, writer Louise Welsh. She is on the Board of Directors of Glasgow Women’s Library; a Patron of the Imprint Festival in East Ayrshire; and a supporter of Scottish Pen.

Afternoon Workshop: Zoë is an established tutor, teaching courses for the Arvon Foundation and Moniack Mhor. A Scottish Book Trust scheme allows her to visit festivals, schools, prisons and community groups, to share her expertise. She is a writer who excels in digging deep into haunted searches and memories, exposing the raw layers of psychology. The detailed exploration in her writing should elicit profound discoveries in our own writing, as she leads this workshop, titled “Writing for a Reaction”. The workshop will be held at Aros in Portree, from 2:00 p.m., (Tuesday, 30 August). £5 members, £10 non-members. Meet in the foyer. Space is limited, so jump to it! Email the Reading Room at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook.

Patrons wishing to dine before the reading are welcome to join some of us at the Edinbane Inn, around 6 p.m. Our evening at Edinbane Community Hall begins at 7 p.m. for 7:30. Non-members, £5. Our very reasonable memberships are always available.  Be sure to check out our book table for interesting reads at bargain prices. Copies of our Anthology 2, A Stillness of Mind, may be purchased for £8.50.

Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook (The Reading Room – Skye).

Bad Boy Nick Brooks Coming to the Reading Room

Nick_Brooks9lowThere may be some steam rising from Edinbane Community Hall on Tuesday, July 26, when our guest reader takes the floor.

Nick Brooks is a novelist and poet who lives and works in Glasgow. He has twice won a Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland) Writer’s Award and most recently, was awarded a grant by the Royal Literary Fund. His first two novels, My Name Is Denise Forrester (2005) and The Good Death (2007), were both published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

His third novel, Indecent Acts (Freight 2014), is reported entirely by the protagonist, Grace, a semi-illiterate 40-something mother from Drumchapel, one of Glasgow’s most notorious schemes. It is written in Grace’s inimitable misspelt patois, with hilarious and moving effect. 

Brooks’ latest works include a collection of erotic haiku, called Sexy Haiku (2016 Freight).  Dubbed ‘Zen porno’, there is reason we (hope!) to expect some rakish…voluptuous…oh!…that is to say, perhaps riggish material, if not behaviour, from our guest.

A first collection of poetry, The Dog in the Disco, through Dive Buki in Slovakia, is due ‘sometime’. Currently, he is writing a screenplay and more poems.

When not more gainfully employed, Nick is a full-time stalker with a pronounced limp. (Be still our beating…)

Our evening begins at 7 p.m. for 7:30. Non-members, £5. Memberships are always available.  Be sure to check out our book table for interesting reads at bargain prices. Copies of our Anthology 2, A Stillness of Mind, may be purchased for £8.50.

Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook.

Claire Macdonald Loves What She Does

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There’s no doubt about it – if you want a party, invite (famous cook, hospitality wizard and author) Lady Claire Macdonald. We had a ball at Edinbane Hall last night and if you want to hear Claire’s (tellable) cache of stories about running Kinloch House Lodge with her husband, Macdonald clan chief Godfrey Macdonald, and her family, you’ll have to buy her autobio, Lifting the Lid. We can’t wait for the sequel so we can have her entertain us again. (Big smiley face :))

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Authors Richard Neath and Liz Shaw meet up.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAGodfrey (far R)  takes a back seat to his wife  and checks the dogs in the car.

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GE DIGITAL CAMERAIs writer Francis Mitchell telling dog jokes to Godfrey Macdonald?

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Kitchen crew and everything else: Irene, Ann and Debbie.

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She did sit down for five minutes!

Author Michael F. Russell to Appear at Reading Room

At last, a writer who isn’t up with the Willow Warblers – or at least, admits he isn’t. Great news for us slackers who always have been given the impression that 6 a.m. coffee was the prerequisite to successful production.MichaelFRussellPhoto

Michael F. Russell, author of Lie of the Land, has given us a novel that questions how far the state will go to preserve an orderly society and examines an Armageddon in which human technology plays a central role. The Reading Room is happy to welcome him as our guest reader on Tuesday, April 19.

It’s always useful to go to the person on the street to see how a product really performs, so I went to Amazon reviewers, all of whom were happy with their book purchase. One wrote, ‘The backdrop of a controlling state, universal lack of privacy and technological advances being used against the population all add to the sense of dread, which contrasted well with some of the richly descriptive passages about the Highland landscape. There are a couple of story strands in particular which were very effective and left me feeling uneasy. We might all like to think we’d behave honourably in difficult times, but would we?’

Michael Russell Lie of the LandAnother person said he bought this book on something of a whim from a bookshop in Portree, whilst holidaying on the West coast of Scotland, and hasn’t regretted it. ‘It’s something more than your standard post-apocalyptic fayre, largely because the author concentrates more on characterisation (particularly the lead, Carl) than on technicalities (though there’s enough of that for the plot to be believable). Altogether, a well-constructed book that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in sci-fi.’

Other readers expressed similar positive reactions:

‘I would not call it anything like ‘terrifying’ as other commentators have, but more an imaginative exploration about what happens when society breaks down.’

‘Loved the atmosphere, great story. What a great book, you can hear the silence as you read, the tension is heavy, like a storm building, slowly.’ 

‘What I liked about this, was the descriptive writing, you get pulled into the book, as if you are walking with the characters. It would make one hell of a TV show.’

The Scotsman’s reviewer, Stuart Kelly, observed that one of the most persistent complaints visitors (and residents) make about contemporary Scotland is the patchy mobile phone coverage. He wrote, ‘This serves as the novel’s clever, twisted conceit…Russell’s premise is similar to Stephen King’s in Under the Dome, but, I have to say, he does a better job with the conceit. While King, as usual, fluffs the ending (childish aliens did it!), Russell manages to give a coherent reason for the predicament, build to a closure without it becoming a black and white shoot-out, and suggest that the story of (the main characters) may not be over.’

Kelly added, ‘Despite the horrors that slowly, slyly emerge, there are also passages of genuine beauty.’ Russell impressed the reviewer by avoiding the ‘cosy catastrophe’ trap, and Kelly finishes with the comment, ‘It is as cosy as a handful of gorse raked across your back. It announces a talent to be followed closely.’

Michael F. Russell is deputy editor at the West Highland Free Press and writes occasionally for the Sunday Herald. His writing has appeared in Gutter, Northwords Now and Fractured West.  Lie of the Land was shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award in November 2015. He lives on Skye with his partner and two children.

The evening will begin at 7:30 p.m., with the 2016 AGM, at Tigh na Sgire, in Portree, next to the Community Hall.

Mr. Russell will appear from 8:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join us for the evening. Entry for Michael F. Russell is £3, non-members; members are free.

Refreshments will be available. We also have some good reads for sale in our book corner and copies of our second anthology, A Stillness of Mind, are available for £8.50. See you there.

How far would you go to avoid death?

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Frozen to Life is the true account of futuristic writer D.J. MacLennan’s extraordinary answer to this question: If he cannot escape the constraints of a ‘natural’ lifespan, he will, upon his death, have his severed head preserved in a vat of liquid nitrogen in the Arizona desert.

This book illuminates the astonishing science behind his decision, and the transformative power of the patternist thinking that carried him to it. From the initial confusion and isolation of his upbringing on the Scottish islands of Benbecula and Skye, comes a curious inkling that collides with dominant religious dogmas and alters relationships: What am I? What is a ‘self’? Must selves die?

Neuroscience – including the latest theories about the way mind emerges from the architecture of the brain – interweaves with philosophy, Buddhism and personal testimony, to create a fascinating and emotionally-charged insight into the psyche of a ‘cryonaut’ in waiting.

Written with empathy, searing insight, and dark humour, Frozen to Life is both cutting edge and bleeding heart: a postmodern experiment in falling in love with life while preparing for death, in ways we can change ourselves radically without losing our treasured humanity, and iFrozen toLifeauthorphoton coming to understand that neither life nor death is what we think it is. How far would you go to avoid death?

Author D.J. MacLennan was born in 1971, in an old schoolhouse on the almost-drowned Scottish island of Benbecula. Since 1975, he has lived on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

The Alcor cryonics facility currently houses some 115 liquid-nitrogen-vitrified ‘patients’ – of whom over two-thirds are head-only ‘neuropatients’. Dr. Max More, CEO of Alcor, in Scottsdale, Arizona, says that cryonics is ‘simply an extension of emergency medicine’, suggesting that cryonics is saving a patient by buying them time for science to catch up. Of around 980 members worldwide, MacLennan became one of only a handful that have allowed their names to be made public.

On Tuesday, March 22, please join the Reading Room for an enlightening discussion with D.J. MacLennan. We meet at Tigh na Sgire, Park Lane, Portree, Isle of Skye, next to the Community Center, from 7:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served. £3 for non-members.