Thursday, 29 November 2012

Book Week

The valiant and hard working heroes and heroines at the Scottish Book Trust have been working hard to deliver Book Week Scotland - a series of events the length and breadth of the country designed to stimulate interest in books and reading.  There are readings and poetry slams and meet the author events and all other kinds of excitement.

An anthology of everyday recollections of favourite places in Scotland has also been published as part of the week and can be picked up from various locations around Scotland.  A more extended version is on the Book Trust's website.

Fantasy Bob's favourite place is of course Grange Loan - HQ to the go ahead Edinburgh cricket club and undoubtedly Scotland's most delightful cricket ground.  He is kicking himself for not contributing an essay on this special place to the editors. How they would have welcomed a description of his smooth rhythmical approach to the wicket from the bottom end and the curving path of his world famous in-swinger as it flew past the batsman's flailing shot and crashed into the middle stump.  Surely there was a place for fiction in this volume?

But that is typical of FB, all his best ideas (both of them) come too late. Observers are well aware of this - his bowling changes always come after the bowler gets thrashed not before.  So Grange Loan does not feature in this anthology.

And this hides a greater concern.  In an otherwise fantastic programme, FB is disappointed to note that there is no event specially aimed at the cricketer.  Despite the fact that cricket writing is rightly celebrated.  There are even significant contributions from Scottish writers to this great canon - Ian Peebles for example.

So here is FB's Book Week XI - a select drawn from his favourite cricket books and his favourite Scottish books.  (Not in batting order).

Sunset Song - Lewis Crassic Gibbon
Beyond a Boundary - CLR James
Kidnapped - RL Stevenson
Larwood - Duncan Hamilton
Preferred Lies - Andrew Grieg
Fatty Batter - Michael Simkins
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
Jack Hobbs - John Arlott
Thanks Johnners - Jonathan Agnew
Joseph Knight - James Robertson
The Cone Gatherers - Robin Jenkins

Test Match Quality each and every one (as is the Scottish Book Trust - more power to its elbow).

Grange Loan - does not feature in My Favourite Place


  1. FB is clearly disappointed by the non-appearance of Grange Loan on this illustrious list but all is not lost. FB needs to do some serious networking amongst the Edinburgh literati. Perhaps Ian Rankin might be persuaded to set one of his Inspector Rebus stories at the famous cricket venue. The mysterious disappearance of a fielding captain following a disastrous bowling change might be a suitable subject.

    1. Perhaps Rankin understands that none of FB's bowling changes is disastrous - incomprehensible perhaps but disastrous no.

  2. Surely the cricketing venue for a crime novel has to be Ferguslie's Meikleriggs ground in Paisley. Where else can claim: a noted literary suicide nearby (albeit 200 years ago); a murder on the fringes of the ground a few years ago; and a suspected unexploded bomb on the square in the wake of the Glasgow Airport aattack?

    1. FB thinks you should get writing - sounds like a best-seller.