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UK: Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands 2 - Books & Movies
RECOMMENDED READING 
  • Scottish Art, 1460-1990 by Duncan Macmillan. Scottish painting, neglected by American art-lovers, is handsomely showcased in this robust narrative history studded with masterpieces. Containing 350 plates, most in color, the book argues for the distinct identity of Scottish art and establishes the two-way flow of artistic influence between Europe and Scotland. Macmillan, an art historian and curator at Edinburgh University, accentuates the originality and vibrancy of Scottish art from medieval royal miniatures of James IV's court to John Bellany's angst-ridden mythscapes influenced by Francis Bacon. 
  • Sean Connery: From 007 to Hollywood Icon by Andrew Yule, who traces the legendary actor's rise from humble origins in Edinburgh to later success "escaping bondage" in such films as Rising Sun. Like all true Scotsmen, Connery is said to have an interest in golf (playing it) and money (not spending it). Scottish-American readers may find the early years of growing up in Edinburgh during the Depression the most interesting.
  • R.B.: A Biography of Robert Burns by James MacKay.  A biography of Robert Burns, arguably one of the world's greatest poets. This work places him and his poetry in the context of the period in which he lived. Not the least important aspect of this new work is a re-appraisal of earlier biographers and a re-examination of their sources. Another new dimension has been the study of the lives of those with whom Burns came into contact, those who influenced the course of his life and the quality and range of his work. 
  • Curriculum Vitae: A Volume of Autobiography by Muriel Spark. It is no surprise that one of Muriel Spark’s most lively and entertaining works would be her own memoir, Curriculum Vitae. Born to a Scottish Jewish father and an English Presbyterian mother, Spark describes her childhood in 1930s Edinburgh in brief, dazzling anecdotes. We experience Spark’s joy with the publication of her first novel, The Comforters, her trials with other writers’ envy, and her emergence as the most brilliant femme fatale of 20th-century English literature. 
  • The Clans and Tartans of Scotland by Robert Bain. On a purely decorative and symbolic level, but with rich interest for anyone tracing genealogical roots, enlarged and re-edited by Margaret MacDouglass, with heraldic advice supplied by P. E. Stewart-Blacker and with dozens of illustrations.  This lovely book speaks of Scottish clans, clan and family names, personal names in English and Gaelic, outstanding dates in Scottish and clan history, and contains a clan and family map of South Scotland.
  • Scotland Through the Ages by Michael Jenner. This unique and comprehensive account of 5,000 years of Scottish history combines concise historical backgrounds with illustrated narratives of Scotland's rich heritage. 184 photographs, 105 in color. Weaving Celts, Picts, Britons, and Angles with the 13th century wars of independence and the Jacobite rebellions of 18th century Scotland, Jenner brings us the history of this amazing and ancient land.
  • Two Queens in One Isle: The Deadly Relationship of Elizabeth I & Mary Queen of Scots by Alison Plowden. The relationship between Queen Elizabeth I of England and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, is one of the most complex, tempestuous and fascinating in history. United in blood but divided by religion, the two women were in some ways uniquely close; in others, poles apart. Alison Plowden shows how political fear brought out the worst and yet the best in these women, and how history was overshadowed for centuries afterwards.​
  • Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser. She was the quintessential queen: statuesque, regal, dazzlingly beautiful. Her royal birth gave her claim to the thrones of two nations; her marriage to the young French dauphin promised to place a third glorious crown on her noble head. Instead, Mary Stuart became the victim of her own impulsive heart, scandalizing her world with a foolish passion that would lead to abduction, rape and even murder. Here is her story, a queen who lost a throne for love, a monarch pampered and adored even as she was led to her beheading, the unforgettable woman who became a legend for all time.
  • Scotland and America in the Age of Enlightenment by Richard B. Sher. 16 contributors including David Daiches, Andrew Hook and Bruce Lenman, focus on 3 main topics: religion and revolution as affected by the work of John Witherspoon; the influence of Scottish philosophers such as David Hume, Adam Smith and William Robertson on the American founding fathers, and vice-versa; and Scottish thought and culture in early Philadelphia. For those new to the period there is an extensive historiographical introduction, and chapters cover all aspects of the arts and sciences, including music, rhetoric, politics, philosophy, economics, jurisprudence, medicine, architecture and literature.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING 
  • Gregory's Girl (1981). A coming-of-age romantic comedy film from 1981, Gregory's Girl was written and directed by Bill Forsyth. High school oddball Gregory (Gordon Sinclair, Local Hero) discovers that the only thing better than scoring on the soccer field is scoring off it in this "ever delightful adolescent romantic comedy" (The Village Voice) that won a British Academy Award for Best Screenplay. 
  • Local Hero (1983). A young representative of an American oil company is sent to a fictional fishing village of Scotland on a mission in this film written and directed by Bill Forsyth, filmed near Mallaig and starring Peter Riegert with an appearance by American movie legend Burt Lancaster.
  • My Name Is Joe (1988), directed by Ken Loach. Peter Mullan stars as an unemployed recovering alcoholic in Glasgow who meets and falls for a health worker. The film was shot mainly in the slums of Glasgow, and many members of the cast were actual drug addicts.
  • Braveheart (1995). Mel Gibson stars in this famous film as William Wallace, a warrior who marries secretly and leads a revolt against the tyrannical English king in 13th-century Scotland. 
  • Rob Roy (1995). When a harsh winter threatens the majestic Scottish Highlands, Rob Roy MacGregor (Liam Neeson) is forced to borrow money from the less-than-noble Marquis of Montrose (John Hurt) to provide for his clan. But when Montrose's henchman (Tim Roth) conspires to take the wealth for himself, Rob is thrust into the most challenging battle of his life.
  • Stone of Destiny (2008). College student Ian Hamilton (Charlie Cox, HBO's Boardwalk Empire, Stardust, Casanova, The Merchant of Venice) was a dedicated nationalist who deeply resented "England's subjugation of Scotland." Garnering the support of three fellow students in 1950 - and despite their bungling maneuvers - Hamilton managed to reignite Scottish national pride with a daring raid on the very heart of England. 
  • Brave (2012). The Oscar-winning animated adventure from Disney Pixar follows the flame-haired heroine Merida, a skilled teenage archer battling to change her fate. When Merida's actions inadvertently unleash chaos in the kingdom, she must harness all of her skills and resources -- including her clever and mischievous triplet brothers -- to undo a beastly curse before it's too late, and discover the meaning of true bravery.
  • Made of Honor (2008). Tom (Patrick Dempsey) loves his life, until he realizes he also loves his best friend Hannah (Michelle Monaghan). But when Hannah gets engaged to a dashing Scotsman and asks Tom to be her maid of honor, Tom faces hostile bridesmaids, bridal showers, and bad hair days, all in an effort to pull off the perfect wedding and steal the bride.
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Why travel with other women?
Many women do not have families or compatible friends who wish to travel. When going on a main-stream tour, women often find that most activities are geared towards couples and quite often they feel left out. Singles' tours are not always what women are looking for. If you do not have a traveling companion, there is also the issue of the expensive "single supplement", sometimes as much as 50 or even 100 percent of the tour cost. By going on women-only tours, women can easily avoid paying for the single supplement by sharing a room with another woman traveler.
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