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Perfect Presents – Mini Kits, Mega Fun!

We’re pleased to have added a new product range to our website for 2018!

Running Press Mini Kits
Running Press Mini Kits

Running Press produce this range of Mini Kits – tiny boxes that really pack a punch with their products! They make the perfect impulse purchase and are the ideal size as an add-on gift for any occasion. There’s something for everyone, from officially licensed movie merchandise, to desktop sports, to those kits that are just utterly whacky!

Running Press Mini Kits
Running Press Mini Kits

In the licensed merchandised range, there are tie in kits for Game of Thrones, Star Trek, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Seasame Street, Superman, Doctor Who, Wonder Woman, Pokemon, Pusheen, Hello Kitty and lots more.

Some of the best-selling Mini Kits are those associated with Harry Potter. There are wizard’s wands, the Sorting Hat, character figurines, even a Quidditch set! The perfect purchase for a Potter fan.

Running Press Mini Kits
Running Press Mini Kits

Also in the range are a variety of lifestyle kits – kits like The Mini Bonsai, Desktop Terrarium, The Felt Succulent and By Hand Lettering will appeal to crafters everywhere. There are also kits for book lovers, belly dancers, embroiderers and meditate-rs.

Running Press Mini Kits
Running Press Mini Kits

And in addition to these there are a huge variety of retro kits and humour gifts. There are lots of desktop sports to try – football, tetherball, golf, volleyball – as well as desktop BBQs, disco balls and more. There are some cheeky toys in there as well, like the Bob Ross Bobble Head, the You Are a Badass Button and the Brain Fart – for those days when you’re brain just can’t quite keep up.

Take a look at the full range of Mini Kits on Scottish Bookstore here.

Sensational Scottish Books – Scotland’s 100 Best Walks

Scotland's 100 Best Walks
Scotland’s 100 Best Walks

In this paperback edition of a walking classic, Scotland’s 100 Best Walks, renowned outdoor writer and television personality Cameron McNeish presents his favourite one hundred walks across his homeland, celebrating the uniquely beautiful and varied landscape of Scotland.

‘By leaving the car behind and walking along a track you begin to appreciate the detail that turns a pretty countryside into a living, vibrant landscape – but leave the track for a faint footpath and you come even closer to the feel of the land.’

Cameron describes himself as someone for whom ‘walking is a way of life’ and there are few people better placed to compile Scotland’s greatest rambles, hill walks and mountain trails than him. Scotland’s 100 Best Walks covers a wide geographical spread of routes from the Solway Firth to the Shetland Isles. Divided into chapters by region, the book is an ideal guide for any avid walker or visitor to Scotland. Each of the walks is detailed in a route summary with Ordnance Survey references, hill shaded maps, access points, distance, approximate time and difficulty grading. There are also Gaelic pronunciations and translations for hill and place names where appropriate.

Scotland's 100 Best Walks
Scotland’s 100 Best Walks

Yet this is much more than a factual guidebook – though this is a function it serves well. The main feature of the book is Cameron’s descriptive text, which includes his own anecdotes and experiences while acting as guide. His passion for Scotland’s natural landscape is abundantly apparent in his words and it is clear that in focusing his mind on choosing the best walks in Scotland, he has included some his favourite places in the world.

‘The hills of home still harbour that single element that isn’t to be found in the mountains of the greater ranges, or the varied landscapes of Europe or North America. Put simply… it’s the Celtic love of a homeland, passed down from father to son since time immemorial.’

Scotland's 100 Best Walks
Scotland’s 100 Best Walks

Cameron’s chosen walks range in length from 3 kilometres to 50 kilomtres and though he may be known first and foremost as a mountaineer, he has included routes to suit any walker and explains that over the years he has come to appreciate that shorter, low level walks can be ‘as rewarding as big hill days’. The result is a mixture of inspirational adventures up famous mountainsides and relaxed rambles through woodlands and open spaces – as much a joy to read as they are to walk.

Richly illustrated throughout, Scotland’s 100 Best Walks features the breath-taking photography of Colin Baxter, one of Scotland’s foremost photographers. His images capture the drama and awe of the Scottish mountains, the tranquil calm of lochsides and coastal waters, and the lush greenery of the Scottish lowlands. His photographs are the perfect accompaniment to Cameron’s fond and evocative descriptions of these most spectacular walks.

Scotland’s 100 Best Walks is in stock and available to order now.

Sensational Scottish Books – To the Edge of the World

New into our range of fiction for older children is this lovely story set in around St Kilda. It’s a story of courage, friendship and survival that is packed with gripping sea adventure and heart-stopping action.

Julia Green’s lyrical style perfectly captures the atmosphere of this remote outpost as her characters battle the Scottish elements on their dangerous voyage to St Kilda.

Here’s the blurb –

To the Edge of the World
To the Edge of the World

‘Imagine a tiny island far out in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Scotland. On some days you can hardly see where the sea ends and the land begins, everything merged in a blue-grey mist of sea spray and wind-blown sand. There is nothing between here and America. I say nothing, but what I mean, of course, is nothing but ocean. About And about sixty-five kilometers out to sea, one last remote outcrop of islands and sea stacks, with the highest sea cliffs anywhere in the UK… St Kilda. Distant, desolate, and difficult to reach. The islands at the edge of the world…

Jamie had thought that if he could just reach the boat then he could convince Mara to stay, but now he was on board and along for the ride. There was no going back, they were in this together.

A new life, a fearless friend, a wild sea adventure…’

This is sure to have a wide appeal across Scotland. Julia Green’s previous novel Wilderness War was well received and her style is popular with young readers up and down the country.

To the Edge of the World is in stock and available to order now.

We’re calling it… it’s Stationery Month!

Towards the end of this month, it’s National Stationery week… prepare your hole-punch confetti and sellotape streamers!

Now, as lovers of stationery at Scottish Bookstore, we’re all for this celebration of everything post-it and paperclip, but we’ve decided to declare April ‘Stationery Month’ and we’ll be telling you all about some of our fantastic stationery products on the blog and on social media.

We’ve found that a few well-placed and well-selected stationery lines can really enhance a range, and attract those valuable add on sales from visitors and locals alike.

So follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages (whichever is your preferred platform!) throughout April for highlights of the range.

(…can’t wait until then? See our full Stationery section on the website here!)

International Children’s Book Day

Today – 2nd of April – is not only Good Friday but it’s also International Children’s Book Day!

The Kilted Coo
The Kilted Coo

This celebration of children’s books is facilitated by the International Board on Books for Young People, and every year on April 2nd a different National Section is nominated to the day’s official national sponsor.

Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster
Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster

2018’s sponsor is Latvia and their chosen theme is ‘the small is big in a book’. In a message from renowned Latvian author Inese Zandere, the focus of the celebration is that in books, small is a relative concept. With courage, belief in our ideals, foresight, perseverance, and the power of talent we can make literature and the art of books significant and meaningful.

Porridge the Tartan Cat
Porridge the Tartan Cat

Here are a couple of extracts from Inese’s message about what children’s books can be:

“A children’s book is a miraculous force that promotes the small person’s great desire and ability to be. It promotes his or her courage to live”

“A book is a mystery in which something unsought can be found, or something beyond one’s reach”

“A picture book can function as a treasure chest of wisdom and culture even for adults, just as children can read a book intended for adults and find their own story”

Sky Dancer
Sky Dancer

“A children’s book signifies respect for the greatness of the small. It signifies a world that is created anew each time, a playful and beautiful seriousness”

Where's Nessie?
Where’s Nessie?

At Scottish Bookstore, we adore children’s books and it’s one of our strongest categories – no matter how the market is, children’s books always outperform expectations and it seems that their resonance and appeal is unending.

You can find our fantastic selection of children’s books here.

Sensational Scottish Book – The Last Wilderness

Neil Ansell has spent most of his adult life taking solitary adventures in the wilderness. He is, in his own words, ‘designed for solitude’. Profoundly deaf in one ear and with compromised hearing in the other, he describes himself as being a ‘keen observer rather than a participant’, which makes him a wonderfully perceptive travel writer.

The Last Wilderness
The Last Wilderness

In ‘The Last Wilderness’, Neil expresses the experience of being along in nature through the narrative of a series of walks in the Scottish Highlands. He also describes the changes in the landscape and how his perspective and interpretation of nature is affected by his hearing loss.

This will appeal to readers of Robert Macfarlane, Helen MacDonald and Jim Crumley. It also boasts a truly gorgeous cover.

I don’t think I could find better words to encourage you to read this book than these:

‘A gem of a book, an extraordinary tale. Ansell’s rich prose will transport you to a real life Narnian world that C.S. Lewis would have envied. Find your deepest, most comfortable armchair and get away from it all.’ Countryfile

Published by Tinder Press, The Last Wilderness is in stock now.

Allan on Arran – Interview with Photographer Allan Wright

One of our hotly anticipated new releases in March is this stunning photography book from one of our favourite photographers, Allan Wright.

Arran: Sixty Best Views
Arran: Sixty Best Views

Allan’s latest project – Arran: Sixty Best Views – is a celebration of one of his favourite parts of the country, the Isle of Arran. Ahead of the book’s launch, Jenny grabbed a few minutes with the man himself to find out more about the book –

Jenny: Tell us a bit about how this new book, ‘Arran: Sixty Best Views’ came about – why Arran?
Allan Wright: The previous title, Arran, which I co-authored with Tony Bonning has been out of print for many years now, and since that time I have built up a new collection of images from the island. I have started a programme of new book titles to address the increased demand for photography on the printed page, or in ‘hard copy’.

J: Is this book the result of one particular visit to Arran, or images collected over a period of time?
AW: Most of the images were taken within the last five years, but there are a handful that go back much later – these are the images that I haven’t been able to improve upon since!

Arran: Sixty Best Views, Allan Wright
Arran: Sixty Best Views, Allan Wright

J: How long did it take you to edit your selection to just sixty images? Were there many more that you would have liked to include?
AW: An hour here and there over a period of a week I drilled into my files and created a shortlist of about a hundred. From there, I whittled down to a core sixty images. Editing is one of the hardest parts of this kind of photography.

J: If you had to sum up ‘Arran: Sixty Best Views’ in a tweet, how would you describe it?
AW: The unique character and beautifully diverse landscape of Arran distilled into a tidy little soft back.

J: What makes this book different from other collections of photographs of Arran?
AW: Inevitably each collection is a subjective view. ‘Arran: Sixty Best Views’ is my take which I hope is representative of my work as a whole and one which shows the island at its best.

Arran: Sixty Best Views, Allan Wright
Arran: Sixty Best Views, Allan Wright

J: You’ve been working in Scotland for a number of years – what do you enjoy most about photographing the country?
AW: The infinite variety of colours, textures, light quality, topography and heritage – both natural and man made – probably has few equals anywhere in the world.

J: How do you find the seasons change the Scottish landscape?
AW: The range of challenges and opportunities that our seasons offer is absolutely vast. In fact, it’s difficult to overstate the differences the seasons make to the landscape’s character.

J: Tell us a bit about how you work as a photographer – do you plan a day around capturing particular shots or do you go out take what the day brings you?
AW: I am tied to the logistics of a shoot in a big way. Weather is huge of course, but so is travel, access issues and time of day. Expected demand for certain subjects also influences my decisions, but in general it is a straight split between planned shots and ad hoc encounters.

Arran: Sixty Best Views, Allan Wright
Arran: Sixty Best Views, Allan Wright

J: Did you always want to be, or think you would become, a professional photographer?
AW: It was a hobby whilst I was working abroad as an oilfield engineer. I discovered my fascination with the power of an image while traveling in third world countries and I have never lost the passion.

J: Do you still enjoy working as a photographer now as much as when you started?
AW: Yes, although the experience is different now. Perhaps a little less excitement, more quiet satisfaction.

J: Photography is a hugely popular activity and many of us fancy ourselves as an amateur photographer. What advice would you give as a successful photographer in so many genres?
AW: Follow your passion and get a broad grip of the process, but then specialise if you want to gain recognition in one field.

J: Do you prefer more traditional methods of photography or digital techniques and gadgets?
AW: I shoot all digital although I try to keep it simple and avoid over reliance on technology to enhance the end product. Nature and fine architecture is simple and beautiful, the challenge is to do it justice without deception.

Arran: Sixty Best Views, Allan Wright
Arran: Sixty Best Views, Allan Wright

J: What sort of photographs do you enjoy taking most? Landscapes, nature, cities, people…
AW: All of the above in equal measure.

J: What do you have planned next? More books?
AW: Yes, I plan to do at least six titles over the next three to four years.

So it sounds like there’s a lot more to look forward to from Allan Wright over the next few years. ‘Arran: Sixty Best Views’ is part of his latest collection of photographic books which so far includes Galloway, Castle Douglas, Skye and Glasgow.

This fantastic book is available now – with 10% off!

Sensational Scottish Books – Sal

One of the big titles published this month is Canongate’s lead fiction debut ‘Sal’ by Mick Kitson, an English teacher. It’s road to publication is one of the more unusual – Mick met Canongate’s Communications Director at a family memorial service, and subsequently sent her his manuscript looking for advice.

Sal – Mick Kitson

What followed was a lucrative, world-rights deal with Canongate expecting to publish in 20 countries.

The book has been described as a Scottish west coast Hansel and Gretel. It’s a harsh and brutal depiction of 13 year old Sal’s survival in the Scottish wilderness with her younger sister, but one that is ultimately uplifting. I’m reading it myself now and I can vouch that it’s definitely worth the hype.

Here is the blurb:

Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs and a first aid kit from Amazon using stolen credit cards. She read the SAS Survival Handbook and watched loads of YouTube videos.

And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits and shoot an airgun. And hoe to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her.

Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things.

This comes from a fresh voice in fiction and is destined to be a great success. Make sure you have the book that everyone is talking about!

Find it on Scottish Bookstore here

Sensational Scottish Books – The Debatable Land

The Debatable Land was an independent territory which used to exist between Scotland and England and it is the oldest detectable territorial division in Great Britain.

The Debatable Land

The Debatable Land – Graham Robb

It was once one of the most revered parts of our native island – the bloodiest region in the country, fought over by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and James V. After the the Union of the Crowns this territory was the last part of Great Britain to be conquered and brought under state control.

But until now, the history of this unique part of the country has been widely  ignored or forgotten.

Historian Graham Robb has been writing acclaimed, prize winning books for years and this is his first look at his homelands. When he and his wife moved to a lonely house on the very edge of England, he discovered that the river which almost surrounded his new home had once marked the Debatable Land’s southern boundary. Intrigued by the remarkable and yet unremarked history of this area, he began a journey on foot, bicycle and into the past, and uncovered the lost towns and roads of this region.

In the course of the narrative, Robb sheds new light on the Dark Age and delves into several discoveries of major historical significance.

In stock now – find it here.

Sensational Scottish Books – Hame

‘Hame’ – a Scottish home; a valued place regarded as a refuge or place or origin

Hame – Annalena McAfee

This is a fabulous new novel set on a fictional island of Fascaray – a remote and wild small isle off the coast of Scotland. A combination of letters, poems, journal extracts and fiction, it’s been described by Irish Times as ‘a hugely entertaining roller coaster of a ride through poetry and language’.

The novel centres around Mhairi McPhail, a young American  curator who, following the break down of her relationship, picks apart her New York life and moves thousands of miles to a place that couldn’t be further from her previous home.

She arrives in Fascaray – nine year old daughter in tow – to write the biography of the island’s late Bard, Grigor McWatt.

Here’s the blurb from the back:

‘But who was the cantankerous Grigor McWatt? Despite his international reputation, details of his past are elusive. As Mhairi struggles to adapt to her new life she begins to unearth the astonishing secret history of the poet regarded by many as the custodian of Fascaray’s – and Scotland’s – soul.

A highly acclaimed debut novel, this is a wonderful read for Spring. It’s in stock now: find it here.