THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
Raw Spirit is the perfect companion on a trip to Scotland - a book about single-malt whisky, the art of production, the pleasure of consumption, and the people and the country that live and breathe it. Iain Banks, a hugely popular Scottish fiction writer, had the good fortune to be asked to take a road trip across his native country to tour distilleries, to taste a lot of whisky along the way, and to experience the fun of trying to find the perfect dram (the Scottish Gaelic word for "drink"). The book is more of a travelogue than a guidebook, and more of a witty cultural commentary than an exhaustively detailed review of whisky. It is a funny book, filled both with enthusiasm about the country and anecdotes about Banks' life, and one that shows that the journey is often more important than the final destination. Not many will have the chance to fully explore remote distilleries in the Scottish Highlands, but Raw Spirit still works as a great book for those who just want to know more about the country and about their national drink.
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ABOUT IAIN BANKS
Iain Banks was a popular Scottish author, influential in the Scottish literary scene, and known more broadly for mainstream fiction like The Wasp Factory and science fiction, work which he published under the name Iain M. Banks. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
INTRODUCTION TO RAW SPIRIT
'Banksie, hi. What you up to?'
'Well, I'm going to be writing a book about whisky.'
'I'm going to be writing a book about whisky. I've been, umm, you know, commissioned. To write a book about it. About whisky. Malt whisky, actually.'
'You're writing a book about whisky?'
'Yeah. It means I have to go all over Scotland, driving mostly, but taking other types of transport - ferries, planes, trains, that sort of thing - visiting distilleries and tasting malt whisky. With expenses, obviously.'
'Course I'm serious!'
"... Do you need any help with this?'
- Ian Banks, Raw Spirit
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