The Picturesque Antiquities of Scotland – an early travel guide

As you can imagine, we have thousands of books in our collections in Central Library. Most are on the shelves ready to be picked up and read or just looked at. However, there’s a large part of our collection which is kept behind the scenes to protect from too much handling.

The downside of this is that few people get to see them, and so now and again we like to show off some of these hidden gems from our collections.

Strathaven

One of these is a small half leather bound volume titled Picturesque Antiquities of Scotland which was published in 1788 by the British engraver and archaeologist Adam de Cardonnel. Inside the book which contains part one and two of a four part set, we find a preface by de Cardonnel himself where he states,

the work was at first intended to have been on a much larger scale, and I had finished several of the plates; but at the particular desire of a learned author, I reduced the size, and altered my plan, as better adapted to the convenience of travellers, who wish to be acquainted with a few circumstances relating to the ruins they may chance to visit”.

So, this was a sort of early travel guide, small enough to be packed in the traveller’s bag and filled with information relating to the sites that were at the time of writing, mostly in ruins. De Cardonnel had served as curator of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland from 1782 to 1784, and being both an engraver and an archaeologist, he was well suited to produce such volumes.

Tantallon

Why not have a look for yourselves and explore the contents of this book online – you’ve probably even visited a few!

You can view all the engravings from this delightful 18th century book on Capital Collections.

Roslin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some of our favourite books of 2017

Ever wondered what your library staff choose to read? We asked colleagues to recommend their favourite books from last year.

Susan’s book of the year was Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham
“This memoir, mostly covering Chris’s childhood and young adulthood, will be unlike anything you have ever read.  His prose is so rich and description laden and you quickly realise that this is how Chris sees the world – in intricate detail; a series of tastes, smells and sensations that he remembers with complete clarity even years later. It was such a privilege to be given access to someone else’s mind and to experience what it’s like to have Asperger’s. The descriptions of young Chris’ connections to animals and nature are both extraordinary and heartbreaking. Rarely has a memoir been written with such honesty, it truly is a unique and special book.”
Available as an ebook

Clare recommends Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
“Based on a true story, a group of people are brought together in their desperation to flee war-torn Europe. Upsetting and gripping, it’s not an easy read. Despite being set during World War Two, the story’s themes resonate with the world today: a vital read.”
Available as an ebook

 

Karen says,
“If you don’t want anything too taxing, then read Mick Herron’s Slough House series. The first one is ‘Slow Horses’, but I think you could read them in any order and still enjoy. Certainly, ‘Spook Street’ was both funny and suspenseful. I’m now reading all the series!”

 

Win has read a few this year, some of them better than others… however, she’s just started The stars are fire by Anita Shreve, one of her favourite authors.
“Her prose is wonderful – pared back – but, in those short paragraphs and sentences, she draws a picture of the characters. She opens up the lives of ordinary people and compels us to walk beside them as their stories emerge. She writes with ease, and I always feel confident in her ability to write a cracking good read. I get hooked very quickly each time I start one of her books!”

Nicola really enjoyed His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
“This was a really disturbingly dark read, but one which has you gripped from the start to finish! It’s set in the 19th century in a small crofting community in the Highlands. The historical content and attention to detail were brilliantly executed and I really felt the sense of oppression and poverty of that period.
A gruesome crime has taken place and the reader hears the confession of the main protagonist Roddy, but there is a lot more that is gradually to be uncovered which explains the circumstances which led to Roddy’s actions. I ended up having a great deal of sympathy for the main character, which was completely unexpected.
It was a fascinating read, especially the detail of day to day life in a crofting community, and the influence and corruption exerted by those in authority.
I would highly recommend this book.”
Available as an ebook

Janette chose The Tent, the Bucket and Me by Emma Kennedy.
“I had a notion a few months ago, that I would randomly pick a book of the type I wouldn’t normally go for and see what I found. Well, this was one of them.
Emma recalls tales of nine consecutive years of camping holiday catastrophes with her mother and father in the 1970s, whether it was being swept away by a force ten gale on the Welsh coast or suffering copious amounts of food poisoning on a trip to the south of France. It’s been a long time since I have laughed out loud reading a book, but I did with this one.”
Available as an ebook

And ahead of this year’s anniversary of Muriel Spark’s birth, Carol’s book of the year was revisiting The prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
“She is a fantastic writer. I read it for my book group, there were lots of themes to talk about: social class, schooling, adolescence, society and politics in the 1930s, gender. Plus, the crème de la crème – Edinburgh, of course!”
Available as an ebook

What was your favourite book of the year?

 

A nourishing read!

Earlier this year the Scottish Book Trust asked people to put pen to paper and write down their memories and thoughts on the theme of ‘Nourish’. Whether it was about growing your own, howking tatties, creative cooking, sharing a poke of chips or a celebratory feast, they wanted to know what fueled your body and mind.

The result of this quest is a brilliant book of reminiscences and musings that is now available to download for free from our OverDrive ebook service. This book has been released as part of Book Week Scotland 2017. There’s a couple of submissions from well known foodies Dave Myers and Mary Contini, but a wealth of contributions from Scottish people from all walks of life, sharing with you their stories of food’s contribution to their family, childhood, community, travel experiences and self-discovery.

Download it today (best enjoyed with a nice cuppa and a dunkable biscuit!).

 

Art & cookery – from Syria and other countries to Edinburgh

An exhibition opens 4 November on the Central Library Staircase, running until 29 displaying art work from an art and cookery project organised by City of Edinburgh Council Lifelong Learning, uniting adult education students from various countries  – Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Scotland – including Syrian and Syrian Kurdish families (refugees) who had only been recently, resettled to Edinburgh.

Sharing favourite foods, cooking techniques and recipes made the group come together very easily, supported by two experienced Italian chefs /adult education tutors.

Artists and adult education tutors Susie Wilson and Justine Woycicka led the art work of the project. Using various different techniques of drawing and printmaking, the students made images inspired by both their experiences of cooking, and the stories connected to these recipes.

Students learnt how to make a book structure to keep their favourite recipes and incorporate their images and words into the pages and covers. Each student could contribute to a collaborative recipe book as well as making a smaller book for themselves.

The project was funded and part of Trans-nationalising Modern Languages: Mobility Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures: a 3 year project funded by the Art and Humanities Research Council and involved researchers at St Andrews, Queen Margaret, Bristol, Cardiff and Warwick Universities.

Your Library online

As well as your local branch library there’s one more branch that you should that get to know really well – Your Library, our online branch.

It’s your one-stop-shop for managing your library account, finding out about our books and accessing a range of brilliant online resources.

Go to Your Library at https://yourlibrary.edinburgh.gov.uk to:

1. Access your Library Account  to check what books you’ve got out; renew your books; see your wish list; reserve a book

2. Search the Library Catalogue

3. Find out about Library Events and what’s going on in your local branch

4. Get helpful instructions of how to use our downloadable ebook, audiobook, newspaper and magazine services

5. Suggest a book to be added to stock

6. Find lists of recently added books

7. Start your family or local history search

8. Find information about all our branches

9. See our full A-Z list of all our online resources

 

 

 

 

Central Library’s BookCafe is back for Autumn!

We’re almost ready for our autumn season and we’re looking forward to sharing some great new finds with you! We’ve been digging around for interesting new (and old) work that’ll be perfect for your lunchtime listening.

Our BookCafe isn’t an ordinary book group; it’s a shared reading group. We come together to listen to a book, short story or poem being read aloud. You can say as much or as little as you like, and just listening is fine too. It’s a simple as that.

If you’ve never been to a shared reading group before, and are wondering if it’s for you, please come along and say hello. We run 1 – 2pm once a month so you can pop in on your lunch break and see what you think. And, as well as good stories, good poems and good chat – there’ll be plenty tea and biscuits to go round too!

Our dates for Autumn/Winter are:

20th September, 18th October, 15th November & 20th December

We love our BookCafe and we’re sure you will too, but you’ve heard enough from us. Here’s what our members say:

‘It’s an hour of calm in my day’

‘It’s such a great way to leave your day at the door and focus on something completely different for an hour’

‘Coming to the BookCafe really makes my week’

Book online at www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk or drop in on the day!

Art and Design Books of the Week

The Art & Design Library recommends some reading from their series of Books of the Week:

Australia’s Impressionists
Australia’s Impressionists focuses on the paintings of Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Condor and John Russell.

This beautiful book challenges our preconceptions of what is meant by Impressionism, enriches our understanding of Australian art and reveals the international nature of art historical movements and exchanges in the nineteenth century. The story is framed by unmistakably Australian subjects and location, a preoccupation with light and colour, and the context of Australian identity and sense of nationhood.

The Global Contemporary
The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds documents the globalisation of the visual arts and the rose of the contemporary over the last twenty years. Lavishly illustrated, with colour throughout, it tracks developments ranging from exhibition histories and the rise of new art spaces to art’s branding in such emerging markets as Hong Kong and the Gulf States. Essays treat such subjects as curating after the global turn; art and the migration of pictures; the end of the canon; and new strategies of representation.

Jacob A. Riis: Photographer & Citizen
Riss’s images of the slums of New York have influenced every subsequent generation of photographers, while his insightful exploration of the problems of urban life continues to be education for societies around the world. I know of no contemporary work of this general character which gives such an impression of competence, integrity and intensity.

All items are available to loan. Reserve online or pop into Art & Design, Central Library to see what else is available.