Lizzy's Literary Life

A Sketchbook of Edinburgh – Iain Fraser and Anne Fraser Sim

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December and my thoughts turn to which books on my Best of 2017 list I have yet to review.  Thus today’s post features Lizzy’s Most Beautiful Book of 2017.

It’s not often I start a review with a picture of the endpapers, but as anyone who has strolled through Edinburgh knows the front doors of private properties, particularly in the New Town, are one of its greatest charms.  I have untold numbers of photographs, and now I have a wonderful selection of sketches.

Strolling is the ethos behind this book –  taking an imaginary, leisurely stroll through Edinburgh, a city of “pure theatre, with its battlements, crags and classical columns”. Coffee-table book sized, it’s not definitely not a book for carrying with you as you do it.  Neither is it a history book, although it does includes lots of interesting snippets of information.

The book is a local labour of love. The authors Iain Fraser and Anne Fraser Sim have lived in Edinburgh most of their lives.  He is the owner of The Elephant House Café.  You know the one in which the first Harry Potter was written.  The 150 colour illustrations by Scottish based artists, Keli Clark, Irina Cucu, Cat Outram and Catherine Stevenson, are intricate, accurate and an absolute delight.  (And perhaps, the inspiration I, the girl who cannot draw a straight line with a ruler, need to sign up to an art class or two.)

A Sketchbook of Edinburgh features all the iconic areas of the city.  There are chapters devoted to The Old Town, The New Town, The West End and The East End, in addition to areas outwith the touristy centre in chapters entitled The Northern New Town, Heading North, Heading South.  I read about lots of interesting new places, including bars and cafés,  to visit in these, despite Edinburgh being my day out city of choice for many years. For instance, top of my to-be-wandered-through list is Stockbridge.

Everyone will have their favourite spot in Edinburgh. No prizes for guessing mine ….

The only suggestion I have for improving on this sketch would be to have featured Charlotte Square during book festival time!   But perhaps that’s one I can submit to the authors for a second volume. They are planning one, and do ask for suggestions on the last page. I’m sure the citizens of Edinburgh will oblige, and I look forward to its future release!

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