Links I love

Links I love

Happy Saturday, readers! What are you up to this weekend? I’m attempting to finish my Christmas shopping before the weekend is out, which, if I make it, will be a record for me. (International travel is a huge motivation, who knew?)

This afternoon I’ll be at the Southwest Regional branch of the Louisville Free Public Library to kick off their adult winter reading program. I’ll chat about I’d Rather Be Reading, and teach readers how to choose books they’ll love for their own reading lists. Get the details here. Hope to see you there!

My favorite finds from around the web:

The 100 best pens, as tested by Strategist editors. “Among our team we have those who prefer thin-lined pens, others who like thick, marker-y ones, and even one fountain pen fanatic, but while our individual preferences vary, we’ve aimed to standardize our judgments by evaluating each pen on a scale of 1 (poor) through 5 (excellent).”

8 of the best cocktails from classic literature. “To celebrate the important role cocktails play in literature, we’ve compiled some of the most well-known books where the cocktail itself, becomes a character, along with some fun facts about each drink.”

Why I’ve become a “now person.” “I think of myself as the kind of woman who, if only I were better organized or had less ADHD, could really make a difference in everything I do.”

10 literary translators on the art of translation. “So, here we have the first two pleasures of translating: (1) the pleasure of writing; and (2) the pleasure of solving a puzzle.”

Favorite Instagram:

Prepping for my upcoming trip to Scotland the best way I know how. These books are all set in the country; some are new to me and some are re-reads. Do you have any more Scotland recs for my list? Please share! (Follow me on Instagram @annebogel.)

On the blog:

One year ago: Addictive spiced nuts. “These are the nuts my kids beg for when the weather turns cooler, that we’re told we must bring to holiday gatherings, and that we can barely keep around the house because they are so addictively good.”

Two years ago: What I’m into (November 2016 edition). “Am I allowed to admit I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump? I’ve been trying to make my way through 2017 ARCs and the ones that ring my bell have been few and far between.”

Three years ago: Entering the dark season. “For me, making it through the winter season requires not just a change of mindset, but an arsenal of coping strategies.”

Four years ago: 13+ perfect stocking stuffers for book lovers. “For the literary lover in your life—or any of you inspired to do some serious self-gifting this year—here’s a list of some of the most delightful (relatively small, relatively inexpensive) literary finds around.”

Five years ago: Take advantage of your built-in mentoring relationships. “If you’re getting together with family or close friends this weekend, stop for a moment to consider the value of the aunt, the uncle, the older friend who is not the parent, and remember: that could be you.”

Six years ago: On entering the holidays with a hopeful “yes.” “I’m positive my kids would love to go to this, but it would be a pain. It will be cold and dark and past their bedtimes, and we’ve been busy, and wouldn’t it be easier just to stay home?”

Seven years ago: A new Advent tradition that might actually work for our family. “The daily activity always seemed like one more thing to get done instead of a meaningful way to prepare for Christmas. But our whole family loves to read–even the baby–and a nightly story is already part of the bedtime routine”

On the podcast:

One year ago: Episode 108: What Should I Read Next LIVE from Asheville. This is such a fun one!

Two years ago: Episode 55: Choosing contemporary fiction with staying power (for Jane Austen’s 5x great niece)

Have a great weekend!

20 comments | Comment


  1. Jocelyn Ford says:

    Of you read any Rebus novels it feels as if every second door in Edinburgh is a bar. If you read Alexander McCall Smith’s novels every second door is a teashop. You will have to tell us the truth!!!

  2. Hope Weinman says:

    My husband and I have been to Edinburgh; we were only there for a few days, but loved it. My suggestions for books with a Scottish setting:
    Call the Nurse by Mary J. MacLeod – an autobiographical account of her time spent as nurse on a small island off Scotland. Think All Creatures Great and Small but with people.
    The Sunday Philosophy Club series by Alexander McCall Smith – the protagonist is the editor of a scholarly journal on philosophy, and solves her friends’ problems. Lots of details about Edinburgh!
    The Rex Graves mysteries by C.S. Challinor – Rex is a Scottish barrister who solves all sorts of mysteries. The first one is Christmas is Murder.
    Happy travels!

  3. Peggy says:

    If you don’t mind a contemporary fantasy recommendation – the Adept series by Katherine Kurtz. There are five books, and all of them feature locations and legends of Scotland (the Fairy Flag and others) wrapped up in a classic battle of dark vs. light.

    I’ve loved and re-read these books since I discovered them in college.

  4. Alanna Hendon says:

    Good Morning Anne! In response to you IG stories “dream guests” I thought you would like to know Levar Burton is in Louisville this weekend for Louisville SuperCon. We are not the comic sci-fi types but my husband noticed the ad because of Levar and Steve Whitmire, aka Kermit 🙂 We won’t be attending but I am hoping to be at the LFPL this afternoon! Maybe there could somehow be a serendipitous Reading Rainbow meeting between you! Happy Saturday!

  5. Sarah K says:

    My dreams of visiting Scotland started with Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond and Niccolo series, and have been intensified by Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series (they just get better as the series goes on). And The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, while a completely different sort of book, added another layer—interestingly, I believe the teacher who inspired that book taught Dorothy Dunnett as well as Muriel Spark, and Jean Brodie was mentioned in the most recent Dalhousie installment. If I were going to Scotland I might also unearth some good old Robert Louis Stevenson, too, for old times’ sake. Happy travel prep reading!

  6. Pamela says:

    For Scotland, be sure to read James Robertson’s And the Land Lay Still. A big work but totally mesmerizing and stays with you.

  7. Beth says:

    I’ve been tearing through Anne Cleeves’ Shetland Island mysteries. They’re very Louise Penny. Not sure how culturally relevant they are compared to mainland Scotland but I love them.

  8. Erin says:

    Rosamunde Pilcher’s “Winter Solstice” is a book I read every year around Christmas. Her descriptions of winter in a small Scottish town are amazing.

  9. Whitney says:

    I like Alexander McCall Smith’s Corduroy Mansions books and Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey. They both take place in Edinburgh.

  10. Sabrina says:

    Years ago, as a college student abroad in Edinburgh for my junior year, I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edinburgh. The only thing I remember from it is a line that was something along the lines of “in winter a man takes most of his business and all of his pleasure by the light of the gas lamps.” Given the early dark in the winter, it was so appropriate, I’ve remembered it (the idea, at least) for over 40 years. Now I need to go find a copy and reread the whole thing. You will have a WONDERFUL time — it’s such a fantastic city.

  11. Christie in MT says:

    Wait a minute, Anne – you are planning a trip to Scotland?! I almost submitted a request for your recent podcast on book gift recommendations to help me find a book for my husband to get him excited for OUR trip to Scotland in summer 2019. You see, I am an Outlander series fan & have somehow convinced my husband to take a trip to Scotland (sans kids!!!) next summer. I have no problem getting excited for the Scottish Highlands, thanks to Diana Gabaldon, but I’d love to get my husband excited for it too (for reasons other than hunky heroes in kilts!).
    Please please please share the recommendations that come your way in regards to Scottish books!
    I can’t wait to hear more about your Scotland travels!

  12. Meghan says:

    I moved to Scotland to study literature (and loved it so much that I stayed!) and have oh-so-many recommendations for you. I would highly recommend some works from the Scottish Renaissance in the 1920/30s: Sunset Song, Gowk Storm, and Quarry Wood are some of my favourites. Katharine Stewart also has some lovely books about Highland life, and Ian Rankin is fantastic for contemporary Scottish crime. Let me know if you have any questions before your trip and I’d be happy to help!

    • Meghan says:

      I have many more book recommendations if you’d like them, but I tried to limit myself for now. Hope you have a lovely trip!

  13. Amanda says:

    I studied abroad in Scotland years ago and loved it. Such a magical country! We read of Scottish authors while there. One that stands out is George McKay Brown. “Beside the Ocean of Time” is lovely.

  14. Alexa says:

    My family and I visited Scotland this year and loved it! Diary of a Bookseller is set in Scotland, I think, but I haven’t read it yet. I looked up lists of “quintessential” Scottish books before we went and Sunset Song came up over and over again. I would recommend it!

  15. loribeth says:

    Have you read any Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels? Peters wrote the Amelia Peabody series (as well as series around Vicky Bliss & Jacqueline Kirby) — but my favourite of hers is a standalone set in Scotland — “Legend in Green Velvet.” 🙂

  16. Jennifer Shepard says:

    Alexander McCall Smith’s Sunday Philosophers’ Club series is very place oriented and charming. You’re probably already a Jackson Brodie completist, but have you seen Case Histories on Amazon Prime? Set in Edinburgh, natch. Ian Rankin’s Rebus series–slim books, amazing character development, highly recommended. The quintessential Scottish historical novel is Margaret George’s Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles–it’s a chunkster that is well worth the time, especially post travel. Have a great trip! Scotland is a special place.

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