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10 good reads about Shetland

by Promote Shetland -

There's a great range of fiction and non-fiction books relating to Shetland available to buy online. Make the most of your time indoors by ordering one or more of these enjoyable titles...

Seabirds and Seals

For 25 years, Bressay resident Jonathan Wills operated wildlife tours around the islands of Bressay and Noss. In this book he shares his experiences of his work and his views on evolution, geology, sustainable fishing and seabird ecology. Recommended for anyone with an interest in Shetland nature and wildlife. For an indepth review of the book, read our recent blog.

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Shetland Food and Cooking

Bannocks, reestit mutton and taattie soup, saat cod, all staples of the old Shetland diet and celebrated in this lovely compedium of recipes. Food writer Marian Armitage has drawn on her upbringing in Shetland and her training and experience as a practical food teacher to produce this selection of recipes using traditional as well as contemporary ideas.

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Shetland Folk Tales

The late Lawrence Tulloch was a masterful storyteller and known throughout Shetland for his ability to spin a good yarn. This book by Lawrence is a round-up of some of Shetland's most famous folk stories and features trows, selkies and invading Vikings. A fascinating delve into Shetland's mythological past.

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The Valley at the Centre of the World

This is the debut novel from Shetland writer Mallachy Tallack and explores the themes of islandness and isolation. It charts the stories of a group of characters living in a Shetland community. There's David who has lived in the valley all his life, just like previous generations of his family. Then there's Sandy, a newcomer and crofter, adapting to his new way of life. And then Alice, who has lost her husband and moved into the community. All are looking for a place to belong.

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Shetland Words: A Dictionary of Shetland Dialect

Shetland folk have an accent unlike any other - a mix of Old Scots with a strong Norse influence. English speakers will recognise many words but will likely be baffled by others. This is a handy dictionary of Shetland dialect written by Alastair and Adaline Christie-Johnston and contributing editor Neil Anderson. It provides a useful starting point for those interested in the origin of Shetland words and offers comparisons with similar usage in other languages.

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A Legacy of Shetland Lace

If you want to take up a new skill, this is a collection of lace projects designed by members of the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers. While some are strictly traditional, others are modernised and the patterns featured have designs planned for all levels of skill and experience.

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Otters in Shetland: The Tale of the 'Draatsi'

Two of Shetland's respected wildlife guides, Brydon Thomason and Richard Shucksmith have joined forces to create this beautifully illustrated book about the Shetland otter or, as it's locally known, the 'draatsi'. With gorgeous photography throughout it shares the history and ecology of one of Shetland's best-loved mammals. Brydon and Richard also recently collaborated with a French production company to make a film about a 'draatsi' family, read more on our blog.

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The Shetland Bus

The Shetland Bus was a fleet of fishing boats that took supplies and messages from the islands to occupied Norway under the noses of the Germans during the Second World War. Author David Howarth was a junior naval officer who helped set up and operate the base and this is the story of the successes and failures of the Shetland Bus and the adventurous and brave men who risked their lives for the war effort.

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Bright Pebbles

This is a fine collection of poetry and prose about Shetland, featuring the work of 50 writers. It deals with island themes such as the sea, land, coast and the seasons. The accompanying CD features a selection of the best poems, in a rich mixture of contrasting Shetland voices, together with songs and music.

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A Town Called Toilets: Confessions of a Shetland Tour Guide

Shetland tour guide Allen Fraser shares his recollections of his time in Shetland. Part memoir, part social study of the people of Shetland, it's funny, informative and at times very moving. A lively insight to life in Shetland.

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