One of my favourite events of the year is the Fringe festival in Edinburgh. For in excess of three weeks in August, the fringe is a huge arts festival. A whole range of shows are performed, including serious theatre and music, circus, (often terrible) comedy and pretty much everything else you can think of. Unfortunately, it is not going ahead this year physically, but I am enjoying looking back at some of the best and worst shows I have managed to see in the past. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city with an amazing character, and no book captures it as well as the 44 Scotland street novels by Alexander McCall Smith. So far there are thirteen books in the series with the fourteenth volume coming out later this year. Although you do not necessarily need to read them in order, as each book contains its own story lines, I would definitely recommend starting at the beginning. That way you get to know the characters better, which makes the books even more enjoyable. The photo below shows the cover of the second book in the series, ‘Espresso Tales’.
The last couple of weeks have featured quite intense book recommendations, so I thought it would be good to choose a fun and more uplifting read this time. These books are wonderfully safe and reassuring. In this series, Alexander McCall Smith paints quirky and intimate pictures of the various lives of a handful of the residents of Edinburgh. He manages to make his characters very believable yet fantastical at the same time. You can relate to the characters with all the twists and turns of their everyday life, even when their paths encounter quite unusual events. Some of the characters include a loveable, but long suffering five-year-old called Bertie, who has to put up with an overbearing mother. Pat, a twenty something student and her new narcissistic flat mate Bruce. You become very invested in the lives presented in these stories, despite nothing ever too bad happening. This is perfect for when you want to get lost in a book, but do not want to experience anything too traumatic.