Honoured on the 25th January each year, with the traditional Scottish meal of haggis, neeps and tatties – and possibly a raised glass or two of a warming malt – 18th Century poet Robert (Rabbie) Burns is remembered across the world on Burns’ Night.
As well as dipping into a collection of the poems and songs of Robert Burns in the evening, here are ten books from slightly more modern Scottish storytellers; tartan blanket optional.
1010. Robert Louis Stevenson
‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’
More than just a text studied by GCSE English students, this gothic novella is narrated by a London-based lawyer recounting the strange incidents between his friend Dr Jekyll and the murderous criminal Dr Hyde. The perfect bite-sized read on a dark winter evening.
99. Arthur Conan Doyle
‘The Hound Of The Baskervilles’
Disappear into Dartmoor with the sleuth Sherlock Holmes in this classic moors-based mystery novel featuring a supernatural pup. Conan Doyle had reportedly killed off Holmes eight years earlier, though this fake death is explained in a future Holmes novel.
88. Kenneth Grahame
‘Wind In The Willows’
Return to childhood with the delightful escapades of Mole, Ratty, Badger and the motorcar-driving Mr Toad. What better way to await the arrival of spring?
77. Naomi Mitchison
‘The Corn King and the Spring Queen’
Mythology and magic dance throughout this intrepid novel from Mitchison, as beauty and love compete with dark magic and familial duties.
66. Murial Spark
‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’
Set in the 1930s, an unconventional teacher at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, Miss Brodie, takes a group of girls under her wing, revealing an incorrigible narcissistic side to her personality who takes delight in her travels between Italy and Germany in the post WW1 years.
55. James Kelman
‘How Late It Was, How Late’
If you have an ear for dialogue – the coarser the better – then Kelman’s ground-breaking Booker Prize winning novel will delight you, with its Glaswegian vernacular from the gushing Sammy and his stream-of-conscious insights.
44. Jenni Fagan
Imagine opening the door to the wrong person one night and they cursed your tenement building for a hundred years? This award-winning novel from Fagan shares the stories of the residents of Luckenbooth close, driving us closer to the real secrets of the original fateful event.
33. Val McDermid
‘1979′ (and then ‘1989’)
Featuring roving reporter Allie Burns, this two-book thriller series offers a killer story, from the point-of-view of a working woman breaking into a man’s world.
22. Jenny Colgan
‘The Christmas Bookshop’
Fall in love with Edinburgh as this novel walks you up and down the cobbled streets one autumn, as Carmen navigates her thirties and the life of her perfect sister, whilst working in a rundown bookshop. PS: Christmas books are essential reading throughout the year.
11. Kiley Dunbar
‘The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday’
Dunbar whisks armchair travellers over to North Devon for a two week holiday that every bookworm has ever dreamt off. Be the owner of your own bookshop for a fortnight; add your own cake. How will Jude and Elliot cope with their double-booked holiday of a lifetime? The third book in the much-loved series is out this spring.