Literary Loves: The Edinburgh Edit
The Edinburgh Edit: Recommended Reading List
We’re all looking for a little escapism right now so if you’re in need of some fuel to fire your wanderlust, have a browse through our pick of Edinburgh-inspired reads while you plan your next trip to Bonny Scotland.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
The wry and witty tale of Edinburgh teacher Miss Brodie’s prime and fall is an unmissable read- short and bittersweet. Set in 1930’s Scotland, Jean Brodie teaches in a small private school in Edinburgh. She takes a few favoured young girls under her wing to teach them her unconventional ways of the world. Her chosen girls become known as the Brodie set. At first her ideals seem innocent, but as the book progresses a permeating darkness appears.
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate: An Isabel Dalhousie novel, by Alexander McCall Smith,
The second in McCall Smith’s delightful Sunday Philosophy Club series, featuring Isabel Dalhousie is a mystery novel for the thinking person. The story centres on Isabel, amateur detective and extremely educated editor of an ethical journal in urban Edinburgh who brings philosophical musings to the task of solving mysteries. A warm, relaxing story where Edinburgh and Scottishness is brilliantly brought to life.
Burke and Hare: The Graphic Novel, by Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering
This award-winning graphic novel re-examines the bloody history of Burke and Hare, the infamous Edinburgh murderers who sold the corpses of their victims to the anatomist Dr Robert Knox. A ghoulishly true story of medicine, murder and money set at the height of Edinburgh’s enlightenment.
Edinburgh: Mapping the City, by Chris Fleet and Daniel MacCannell
The history of Edinburgh is tied up in its architecture. This beautiful book includes 71 maps of Edinburgh which tell the story of the city, beginning over five centuries ago. The maps each have their own tales to tell, showing how the city has changed and developed over time. Anyone who is interested in Scottish history will love this cartographic journey through time.
Greyfriars Bobby, by Eleanor Atkinson
This is the heart-warming true tale of the loyalty and devotion of a Skye terrier, Bobby, to his master. Written originally in 1912, it is still alive today more than a century later. Read the book (it’s a tear-jerker) and make a note to visit the statue and the grave on your next visit to Edinburgh.
The Outlander Book Series by Diana Gabaldon
This time-travel, romance set in post-world war II Scotland and mid-18th century Scotland is not your average love story. In fact, it’s a marmite sort of a book: you’ll either love it or loathe it. A nurse visiting Inverness on her second honeymoon is thrown back in time from 1945 to 1743, straight into the tumultuous events of the Jacobite uprisings. Later saved by a band of rebel Scottish Highlanders, she feels drawn to their leader, despite her husband frantically searching for her in 1945. It’s made this list due to the settings that feature in the stories – with our very own Dalhousie Castle among the film locations for the TV adaptation.
Clans and Tartans: Traditional Scottish Tartans, by Scottish Tartans Authority
The perfect introduction to Scottish tartans, this is a wonderful companion for those wanting to research their Scottish heritage. With detailed information of clans and family names as well as the history of tartan and its part in the traditional national dress of Scotland.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The iconic Scottish story: a dark psychological fantasy that gave birth to the idea of the split personality. Robert Louis Stevenson, was a native of Edinburgh and despite the references to London, it is believed that Old Town Edinburgh was in fact the backdrop to the novel. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll’s strange association with ‘damnable young man’ Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound “London” for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde’s true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity’s basest capacity for evil.
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
This brilliantly suspenseful book is the first in the famous Rebus series, in which the hard-drinking police officer John Rebus is introduced. Cue the brutal abduction and murder of two young girls in Edinburgh, of a similar age to Rebus’ own daughter, the subsequent cryptic letters sent to Rebus and a case that gets under his skin.
Scotland: Horrible Histories Special by Terry Deary
The ever-popular history series aimed at young readers will take you through the truth about William Wallace, the disgusting details of sick Scottish torture techniques and how to terrify a tourist with Scottish ghost stories.