The Fountain’s Reads of the Year 2018

Literature lovers were spoiled for reading choice this year (at least, this one was), with many titles mirroring our current world’s tumultuous state. 2018 was the centenary year of the birth of Scotland’s Muriel Spark, and the country rightly went to town, republishing her twenty-two novels including some which were previously out of print, thus giving us the opportunity to read titles we may have previously missed, and re-read our old favourites. The crème de la crème indeed. One hundred years before Spark’s birth, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was born and an incredible publishing achievement created, celebrated this year with many biographies and re-imaginings.

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Review: Crocodile by Daniel Shand

I’ve not yet found doctors and policemen to be getting younger, but it is a sobering thought when you discover a successful novelist is 29 to your 30, especially when you feel incredibly young yourself. Fresh from a Saltire Society First Book of the Year nomination, and a Betty Trask Prize win, for his 2016 debut, Kirkcaldy’s Daniel Shand has a new offering in the shape of Crocodile. This is the story of Chloe, who is spending the summer before high school with her grandparents as her mother can’t cope, although this reason is not evident to Chloe. She hangs about with a group of troublesome boys and gets up to some high-jinks, but it is in the aftermath of a family caravanning holiday that real danger strikes, and Chloe must find her own way to safety, re-discovering what that means.

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Review: Along the Divide by Chris Townsend

Long-distance walker Chris Townsend’s latest travelogue seems politically timely. Along the Divide is his account of walking Scotland’s Watershed in the time between two referendums, Scottish Independence in 2014 and EU membership in 2016. Opening with the line: “A watershed, a divide, between two worlds”, Townsend introduces us to the main themes of his book – the physical Watershed (“a line that links continuous high ground…the ridge between two valleys”) and the political divide of a nation. The Watershed of Scotland runs between the Atlantic and the North Sea, covering 1,200km through the Southern Uplands, Central Lowlands, Highlands and the Flow Country – helpfully a printed map is provided allowing readers to get their bearings! A selection of stunning photographs of the sights and views Townsend encountered also feature in the centre of the book, and they are an absolute treat.

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Review: Collision Theory by Adrian Todd Zuniga

Collision Theory is a novel about a screenwriter that could have been written as a film script. Journalist Todd Zuniga’s debut, penned under the name Adrian Todd Zuniga, would work well on the screen, but unfortunately works less so on the page. Short and succinct in its two hundred pages, it doesn’t need to be any longer for its content.

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