Anne Scott has never housed her books in order of theme or author yet she knows where each of them is and the kind of life it has led. Some have been gifts but most have been chosen in bookshops unique in their style and possibilities. They have been observers of discovery, decisions, and marvels with her, following the line of her time and place. Some are everyday shops with a shelf of books in a corner, some are beginning again after long lives as churches, printing presses, medieval houses, a petrol-station. There are a few the author is too late to see: early print-houses and booksellers here too in this book, searched for and described, side by side with all the bookshops open now and busy with readers. Not one is like another. In one way, the book is a sequence about writing. But first it is a map of books and a life.
Anne Scott lectures in literature and has also been a BBC Scotland broadcaster and occasional writer for The Scotsman and The Herald. She studied at Edinburgh and married there, and her son, Mike, is a successful song-writer and musician. When she was nine a bookseller folded a bookmark with a red cord into her newly-purchased book and that was the beginning of her love affair with books and bookshops. Working visits to Ann Arbor and Kansas in the 1980s, and later to New York City, Dublin and Galway, helped define her professional work as an extended study of Irish and American writing.