Bucket List Bookshops & Book Events: Scotland

Recently I was looking around the internet at possible future travel locations and ended up reading all about Scotland.  What I found to be so fascinating about Scotland is not only that rugged beauty, but that the Scots have a deep love and appreciation of books and literacy.  So much so, that they have a week long celebration of books every year in November.  So I did a little more digging and it turns out that it was just last week.  What is so remarkable, okay there are quite a few things that are remarkable, but the first is that its book week for all genres, here in the states we have Children’s Book Week and Banned Book Week.  Still cool, but not exactly the same thing.  What I loved most about Scotland’s Book Week is that it is about all aspects of books – early literacy programs and book gifting, writing of books, inspiring readers and writers, funding literacy events, outreach for needy families, online lists and resources for all book lovers.  The Scottish Book Trust website is complete with lots of resources, fun articles and my personal favorite – book lists.  Check it out here.

Another fun aspect is that I’m currently obsessed with is a mystery book sculptor,  who hides (her, people believe it may be a woman) amazing sculptures all around Edinburgh.  These mysterious sculptures have been hidden around the city since 2011. What is so neat is that the citizens of Edinburgh have been on a scavenger hunt, if you will, to find these sculptures.  They are usually left at a Scottish historical site or points of literary interest.  The sculptures come with a message about literacy and the importance of books and literacy.  They are amazing.

Mystery Book Sculptor Scotland

Scottish Book Week, Scotland.org

I’m rather obsessed with how fun this is, in 2012 the sculptor created five sculptures and hid them around the city for Book Week.  They released online clues as to where they would be hidden, when they were found the “winners” received a smaller sculpture and the honor of being awesome and finding the sculpture.  So much fun.

WigtownWigtown Town Center

Next Wigtown, this is where I want to go, it is a town that was named Scotland’s National Book Town in 1998, this charming little town has everything a book lover could ask for, 20 businesses dedicated to books.  Its own book festival.  This is where I get super excited, I found this on their website:

The Open Book is a six-month project run by Wigtown Festival Company. The project will invite members of the public to apply to help run a real bookshop in Scotland’s National Book Town in Wigtown for a period of between 2 and 6 weeks and to blog about their experience. Training will be given in bookselling, and help will be provided by Wigtown’s community of booksellers, who will also offer practical and moral support. 

WHAT?!  Amazing, right?  If you want to check this out go to their website.

Finally, and I think I may have saved the best for last here, Leakey’s Bookshop and Café which is Scotland’s largest secondhand bookshop.  It is in Inverness and just looks cool, it looks like it smells amazing…all you will need to be in complete bliss is a cup of tea, a drizzly afternoon and a wallet full of pounds….oh yeah and a cute tote bag to carry all of your finds home.




All Things Outlander

All Things Outlander

I don’t know if you are new to the party or have been here all along since 1991.  I’m relatively new, I’ve been reading Diana Gabaldons books since 2009 and feel like Claire and Jamie are old friends at this point.  The wait between books has been so incredibly hard for me, in all honesty, I stop reading the last hundred pages and wait till a publication date is announced and then will start reading again only when the next book is on the horizon.

Now that Outlander is a television series I feel like there are so many more people who I can share in the fun of all things Outlander.  So here goes, these are some of my most favorite things inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

Outlandish Companion

Outlandish Companion

The perfect addition to any Outlander fans collection of books.  This book has a little bit of everything.  A synopsis of the first four novels, pronunciation guides, Diana Gabaldon’s explanation of her time travel theory, personal stories, recipes and essays about eighteenth century medicine magic and other goodies.  Rumor has it that there will be another Outlandish Companion since this one only covers the first four novels.

Source: Lovelit Etsy Shop

Source: Lovelit Etsy Shop

Tote for those weighty tomes

You will need a rather sturdy tote to carry around these books – did you know that in total the eight books weigh almost 23 pounds – yes, I’m a nerd and just got out the scale to weigh them.

Herbal Salve Set - Claire's Salves. Inspired by Diana Gabaldon's Best Selling Novels the Outlander Series

Source: Earthtastic Etsy Shop

 Outlander inspired Salve

Claire is such an interesting character to me, how her interests in botany lend themselves into the role of a healer.  I found these incredibly delightfully packaged salves on Etsy.  I haven’t yet tried them, but am deeply in love with the packaging and the inspiration behind their creation.

READY TO SHIP! Hand Knit Outlander Inspired Claire's Mobius Super Soft Cowl in Brown Marble, Chunky Knit, Infinity Scarf, Neck Warmer

Source: Knit Play Love

 Claire’s Cowl

After watching Outlander on Starz, I think many people who knit must have run out the next day and started making the amazing knit items that Claire wears in the show.  The cowls, hand warmers and shrugs are gorgeous and make me wish I could knit a little bit better than I can.  I found this awesome cowl on Etsy.  Perfect for those chilly days that are among us now.

Standing Stones Scotland

Source: Visit Scotland


Scotland’s tourism folks have used the love of all things Outlander to create some really fantastic travel tips, tours and packages on their website.  When I first started reading the books, I dreamed of traveling to Scotland and walking in the highlands and drinking whiskey, maybe forcing my husband to wear a kilt.  It is brilliant marketing, I hope you enjoy checking it out.

source: Blue Monocle Prints

source: Blue Monocle Prints

Antique Scotland Map Circa 1752

If you’ve been reading my blog you know I love maps, I couldn’t resist this beauty.  This map is just a few years ahead of when Claire is transported back in time.   I suspect that if you look really closely you will see Doune Castle west of Sterling on this map which is where the filming of Castle Leoch took place.

Let me know which item you like best and if I’ve missed something let me know too.

Tá lá iontach,