February 2016: A Month in Books
Let’s all take a moment to pat ourselves on the back: we’ve survived January! And what a wet, windy, sodden month it was! While we can’t promise better weather in the month to come, we can offer up some delectable literary goodies to keep you distracted for the remainder of winter.
Big New Book Releases
The High Mountains of Portugal, Yann Martel – 2 February
Martel bewitched the world with The Life of Pi. Can he do the same with this latest, in which a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal that hints at the existence of an extraordinary artefact that would redefine history? The story then advances 35 years, when an Agatha Christie fan finds himself drawn into the consequences of Tomás’s quest, and then again 50 years, concluding with a Canadian senator and a chimpanzee. Intrigued? We certainly are.
The Little Shop of Happy Ever After, Jenny Colgan – 11 February
Sunday Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan is back with another funny, heart-warming read. Nina has a job she loves with a library in Birmingham. But when the library is shuttered and turned into a retail complex, she heads north to Scotland with a risky plan: turn a van into a tiny bookshop bus operating in the Highlands.
Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man, William Shatner – 11 February
Shatner pays tribute to his dear friend and former co-star, a man who created one of television’s most enduring characters and led an extraordinary life before passing away in February 2015. Prepare for plenty of anecdotes about Nimoy’s life on and off the set, from someone who was his close friend for more than 50 years.
This Changes Things, Claire Askew – 25 February
The highly anticipated first full collection from Askew (runner-up in the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award in 2014) explores the lives and experiences of women, particularly those who have been marginalised. The result is a powerful work that forces the reader to pay closer attention to the world and lives around them.
Scottish Book Festivals and Events
Harry Potter Book Night – 4 February
Celebrate spells and all things Harry at one of the thousands of parties and events taking place across the nation (and around the world!) Find a map of events here and start brushing up your Expelliarmus and Expecto Patrunum!
Winter Words Festival, Pitlochry – 12-20 February
The beautiful Scottish Highlands play host to the 12th Annual Winter Words Festival, which this year features a broad range of authors and personalities, including Charles Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter, a Great British Bake Off Winner, a Guinness World record holder and Scotland’s longest-serving politician. Writers can join in on a three-day creative writing course with author Zoe Venditozzi or enter the Fearie Tales Writing Competition and film and nature fans can check out the short films at the Banff Mountain Film Festival.
Scottish Poetry Slam Finals, Glasgow – 13 February
Scotland’s best rhymers, rappers, ravers and rhapsodists vie for the title of Scottish champion and the chance to represent the country at the World Series in Paris. Come along and cheer on your favourites!
Glasgow Film Festival – 17-28 February
The always-impressive line-up doesn’t stint on literary adaptations this year, including The Grief of Others, based on Leah Hager Cohen’s affecting novel; J.G. Ballard’s horrifying High Rise; Stephen King classic Carrie in IMAX; and April and the Extraordinary World, based on the graphic novel by Jacques Tardi.
Modern Scottish Women Poets, Edinburgh – 29 February
Revel in the words of your favourite female poets and discover some new ones, courtesy of writer and journalist Susan Mansfield.
Films and Television
The Night Manager, BBC One - February
The Beeb is bringing John le Carre’s 1993 spy thriller straight to your living room in February. Starring Tom Hiddleston as a former British soldier recruited to infiltrate the inner circle of an arms dealer (played by Hugh Laurie, who’s clearly put Bertie Wooster far behind him), it’s sure to keep us on the edge of our sofas.
Deadpool – 10 February
Marvel’s latest offering fits right in with the darker, edgier comic book adaptations we’ve been seeing lately. Deadpool is a former Special Forces operative who gains accelerated healing powers (and mental instability) after being subjected to a rogue experiment and becomes a mercenary with a dark, twisted sense of humour. It’s been getting good buzz from the fan world, so hopes are high for this one.
Pride and Predudice and Zombies – 11 February
What’s a well-brought-up young lady to do when the countryside is taken over by the undead? Seth Grahame-Smith’s (and Jane Austen’s) hilarious parody is brought to life on the big screen by an all-star cast that includes Lily James (Downton Abbey and the recent BBC adaptation of War and Peace), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and Matt Smith (Dr Who). Expect lots of guts, gore and gowns.