The Cutting Room, by Louise Welsh

This is the kind of novel that makes the Glasgow marketing chaps and business brethren curl their toes.  How can Glasgow shed its grime-infused, murderous-capital, criminal-underbelly stereotype when wee women keep writing about it?  In a city where poverty resides in every second postcode, the marketing machine simply can’t ignore the side of Glasgow that isn’t ‘world class’ in the way we want it to be.

When I refer to women collectively, I am of course referring to Denise Mina, the titan of Glasgow crime and author of the Garnethill trilogy and the Alex Morrow series.  The End of the Wasp Season was, literally, a book I couldn’t put down.  I loved the attention to detail – the reference to the speed bumps in Castlemilk particularly sticks in my mind.

Eat Deli, Clarkston, near Glasgow

By all definitions, Eat Deli in Clarkston is a great cafe.  It’s decor is tasteful while the handwritten menus and the close seating give it an intimate feel. It sells artisan bread, brunch (a rare find), deli salads and an impressive range of cakes and traybakes. The Suki tea is served in a pot and although it’s not loose leaf (coming in one of those delicate tea bags) it is still a fine cup of tea.

It has received plaudits from Joanne Blythman (food critic and author) and awards from the Observer and the List.

Drizzle Cafe, Battlefield, Glasgow

As the double doors swing behind me: ‘Pot of English Breakfast tea?’. I nod and grin, then mumble incoherently about not looking at the lovely cakes…on a diet….. look so good but… etcetera. A smile to acknowledge my mumble.

As a creature of habit, this is one of the most comforting moments of my week. I never knew it till it happened, but how I had longed for a cafe owner to recognise me on arrival and to know my order before I do.

And this isn’t even the best part of Drizzle. A small cafe on Sinclair Drive in Glasgow, it envelopes you with its friendliness.  As you walk in, you have to acknowledge the selection of home baking and the artisan bread at eye level. You see the daily specials notice, sitting above the selection of Scottish cheese and chutney.  The menu promises home made soup and farmhouse style sandwiches.

This is where I am, By Karen Campbell

This is Where I am is a narrative woven together from the differing perspectives of two central characters – Abdi an asylum seeker who has fled Somalia with his daughter, and Deborah, a woman who has withdrawn from her world after the death of her husband. The story centres around their journeys, both emotional and literal, to reconcile their past with their present.

Gradually we learn both of these character’s back stories and their own tragedies. Abdi fled Somalia and then a Kenyan refugee camp to seek asylum in Glasgow, but in the mayhem of his exodus his wife was left behind. Deborah spent much of her time caring for her husband, who eventually died of a muscle-wasting disease: at the point we meet her she is afraid to rebuild her life.