Spine #6


Laura Waddell writes the latest article in her regular book club series.

When I’m on a plane I rarely read the book I’ve diligently packed in the hopes I’ll get through some of my to-read list. An anxious flyer, I am more likely to be paying attention to any sounds I perceive to be unusual (all of them), any micro-expression of the flight attendants that betrays what could be alarm. I spend my time in the air despising the confines, the menu, and my fellow travellers, until I can find some peace in looking out at the clouds (alcohol helps with this. I recently had the best flight of my life after little sleep, two complimentary glasses of wine with the sun tinging clouds apricot; I pressed my face to the window in tipsy wonder both at the scene and with coming to a kind of peace with flying). The book I’ve brought will sit on my lap, looked at and looked away from, picked up and put down, distractedly.

SPINE // Reads Of The Year


Laura Waddell writes the latest article in our SPINE series, a regular book club feature for TYCI, this time asking friends, colleagues and literature junkies about their favourite books of 2016.

At this time of year, Reads of the Year lists are popping up in media outlets all over the place, filled with authors, journalists and broadcasters on what they’ve enjoyed most in 2016. Unfortunately, these lists all too often reflect subconscious bias, with some of them seeing male contributors recommend other men in 75% of their picks. I’m tired of Reads of the Year lists filled with men recommending men. To redress the balance and shake things up a bit, I’ve curated my own light hearted Reads of the Year list for TYCI, inviting friends likely to have fun and interesting suggestions to share their tips on their favourite writing by women in 2016.

For me, a few books stood out above the rest, and I’ve written about most of them in this column. From the cocktail-stick-sharp short stories by debut writer Lara Williams in the zeitgeist capturing collection Treats, to non-fiction Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City looking at artists inspired by alienation in the big city. Some of my favourite novels of the year were set in recent history, such as Bella Mia by Donatella di Pietrantonio (translated by Franca Scurti Simpson), following the emotional aftermath of families displaced by the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake in Italy with tender and well paced prose, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride steeped in 90s London, theatre, and love, probably my most eagerly anticipated publication of the year (my tear-stained copy didn’t disappoint); and in Han Kang’s follow-up to the success of The Vegetarian with Human Acts (translated by Deborah Smith), on the 1980 Gwangju uprising of South Korea. It may have been a challenging year for many but, perhaps unsurprisingly, it has also been a year that has brought us bold and original writing.

Regular readers of my SPINE column know that I’m just as likely to be reading something brand new as a book from a few years ago: reading habits don’t always follow the publishing calendar, and the same is true of my contributors. I asked for what they’ve most enjoyed and there are some brilliant sounding suggestions in here.


Spine #5


Today on the blog, Laura Waddell writes the latest article in our Spine series, a new regular book club feature for TYCI.


Recently I’ve been reading more non-fiction, partially out of a long-held vague intention to educate
myself more about visual art, and partially because there’s some compelling narrative non-fiction
capturing my attention right now.

The Power Of The Mockingbird


A tribute to the late Harper Lee by new TYCI contributor Stephanie Watson.


On the 19 February this year, beloved author Harper Lee passed away due to natural causes. The world lost a great author that day, and a powerful woman. Of course her main work almost needs no introduction; To Kill a Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a staple of American literature, and the sequel Go Set a Watchman – which turned out to be essentially the first draft of Mockingbird – has quickly turned into a cult classic.



Today on the blog, Laura Waddell writes the latest article in our Spine series, a new regular book club feature for TYCI.

Welcome back to SPINE, a TYCI book column.

After the first column went out, I was utterly thrilled some of you came to chat to me on twitter about the books. Many of you told me you had also been put off by the misleading Elena Ferrante covers but had gone on to love the novels as much as I do. It’s a universal tale. One reader even made a book jacket to hide the cover, and was tempted to call in sick to work to keep reading. I cannot condone this, but I truly understand.

I work at a publisher, and we’re now well into the pre-Christmas book launch period. I’m surrounded by books but to actually read them I’ve been struggling for time – aren’t we all? I’ve been thinking about one of the most important things I learned during my English literature degree: to read everywhere there is a gap – on the underground, in a queue. It is my new reading mantra, or I would never find time for personal reading.

Here’s what I’ve been reading recently.

TYCI & Glasgow Women’s Library present Carrie Brownstein


Carrie Brownstein


*ticket details to be announced very soon*

TYCI and Glasgow Women’s Library, in association with Virago and Waterstones, are delighted to welcome Carrie Brownstein to Glasgow for an evening of conversation, memories and observations in celebration of her memoir Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl (out 5th November).

Broadcaster, and journalist Nicola Meighan will host the evening.

A candid, funny, and deeply personal look at making a life and finding yourself in music, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is an intimate and revealing narrative of Brownstein’s escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue. Along the way, Brownstein chronicles the excitement and contradictions within the era’s flourishing and fiercely independent music subculture, including experiences that sowed the seeds for the observational satire of the popular television series Portlandia years later.

*please note that there will be no signing session on the evening, with Carrie kindly pre signing all books before the event.



Today on the blog, new contributor Laura Waddell kicks off with the first edition of Spine, a new regular book club feature for TYCI.


Hello and welcome to my first book column for TYCI.

I work at a Glasgow-based publishing house, and as such, I think about books all day, every day. But outside of promoting my ebook backlist or getting excited about forthcoming releases during working hours, I still end up spending a lot of my spare time reading, tweeting about reading, or surrounding myself with readers and writers. Work / life balance concerns aside, I’m here to share what I’ve been reading recently and chat with you in the comments about what *you’ve* been reading. Let’s start an ongoing TYCI book conversation and introduce each other to new books and new perspectives. Recommendations and comments are encouraged!

TYCI Book Club


TYCI loves books, especially ones by kick ass female authors, and we want to talk about them with you.


Review: Scottish Independence – A Feminist Reponse


Rachel Cunningham reviews a new book by Cat Boyd and Jenny Morrison which aims to assess whether a Yes vote would be a good thing for Scottish women.

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Scottish Independence – A Feminist Response offers a short account of a debate that has been around longer than the case for an Independent Scotland, giving a brief assessment of history, war, nation states, gender in culture, violence against women and power and equality in the UK. The authors explore these topics with this aim in mind:

“The question we want to answer is not whether Scotland should be an independent country, but how a Yes vote can change the lives of Scottish women. This is a case for radical change, which seeks to expose the current system and explain what ‘better’ would look like. We don’t want to see a post-Yes Scottish society that’s simply more of the same.”

Interview: Kirsty Logan


TYCI speaks to Scottish author Kirsty Logan ahead of her appearance at Edinburgh Book Festival later this month.

KirstyLogan_CreditToMonkeytwizzle [Photo: Monkey Twizzle]

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my third book, a collection of linked stories called A Portable Shelter. It’s inspired by Scottish and Scandinavian folk tales, and explores loss, truth, childhood, and the stories we tell about ourselves. When it’s finished there will be thirteen stories, including the ‘frame’ story, but at the moment I’ve only written three of them. I try to keep the stories straightforward, but already they’re getting so weird and dark and labyrinthine. I can’t help myself.
I’m loving the process of working on this book. Once a week I go to Glasgow Uni library and just lurk in the stacks, browsing spines and picking up any books that look interesting. I’ve been reading from a really wide range of topics: masculinity in film, bereavement rites, children’s horror stories, Scottish women in the mid-20th century, folktales, criminal psychology, women’s treatment in medicine… I could go on. I can’t imagine going to a big library and not finding dozens of interesting books. I’m so grateful for the fellowship because it’s given me such freedom to read and write and think. This is the first time in my life that I’ve been able to just write, and not worry about doing dozens of other jobs to keep myself afloat.
Part of my research is travel, and I did the first part of that trip this past week: my girlfriend Annie and I went up to the Applecross peninsula in the Highlands. We took our lurcher puppy Rosie, which was a great excuse to randomly stop the car and go for a proper tramp across the fields. The landscape there is glorious, whether it’s blue skies or torrential rain. I ate local squat lobster, went out on a fishing boat, explored lochans, and climbed seaweed-slippery rocks. And it was a particularly memorable trip because Annie and I got engaged! It was a busy few days, and I loved every moment.