With the podcast going like gangbusters, I’ve had to up my reading game to keep up the interviews. I’m also in three bookclubs and sometimes I just like to read stuff for my own edification or just for fun. So here’s the reading from March with some commentary from me.
Links are either directly to the publisher or bookshop.org and are not affiliate links.
The Witches’ Sabbath by Kelden — (podcast guest) This is a good introductory book for witchy folk interested in spirit flight or hedge riding in contemporary practice. Kelden talks about what spirit flight is and the history of it as pulled from the confessions of the accused during European witch trials. I would recommend following this book up with selections from Kelden’s bibliography—especially books by Emma Wilby and Roger J. Horne for more in depth discussions of the history and significance of spirit flight.
The Dabbler’s Guide to Witchcraft by Fire Lyte (Don Martin) — (podcast guest) Another good introductory book for the new practitioner complete with discussions of where the pitfalls are and what to be wary of. This is book is also sparkling with Don’s personality and wit and just a fun, sometimes laugh out loud, read.
Dreaming the Goddess edited by Karen Dales — (podcast guest) A collection of short stories telling new tales of the Goddess in modern context. The book features a new Bast mystery story from Rosemary Eluki Edghill. The story that really stood out for me was “The Mother of Stars” by Robin Rowland. Some of the selections are a little uneven but overall give a broad look at modern ideas of the divine. I would have liked to see more own-voices for some of the cultures represented.
Witchful Thinking by Zoë Howe — (podcast guest) I described this book to Zoë as sitting down with a friend and a cup of tea to talk about every possible witchy thing. Zoë was a delight to interview and her book is good introduction to a brand range of topics. I have already purchased several of her rock and roll biographies to add to my fun read pile.
The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy — (fun read but I have asked Margaret to be a guest on the show) Part occult horror, part mystery, part post-apocalypse fiction based in anarchist community building. I’m not a big horror reader but the horror here didn’t give me terrible nightmares or anything. Margaret’s world building is subtle and layered. This is a novella so I wanted more and luckily there is a second book in the series.
Rivers of London Volume 9: Monday, Monday by Ben Aaronovitch — (fun read) I’ve read everything in this series and enjoyed this graphic novel as part of the overall story arc. Start with Midnight Riot (U.S.) or The Rivers of London (UK) and enjoy the ride.
Empty Cauldrons by Terence P. Ward — (podcast guest) Terence weaves his own struggle with depression through an almost workbook like journey of using his Hellenic spirituality in concert with therapy and medication to live with depression. I found this book incredible helpful in thinking about my own issues with anxiety.
A Witch at the Forest’s Edge by Christine Grace — (personal edification first, second as podcast guest) Christine wrote this book initially as a teaching tool for the Forest’s Edge tradition of witchcraft—of which I am a dedicant. As presented, it goes beyond that to a larger discussion of how one might engage with the modern practice of witchcraft. Christine’s writing is conversational and thoughtful. It’s a lovely read.
The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger — (writing bookclub) I wanted to love this book. I did get some good information out of it but I felt like it was struggle to decide if it was a book for writers or a book for readers (and viewers). Carriger says it’s both, but I don’t think it works as both. I love her fiction—especially the Parasol Protectorate universe—and I appreciated her work here but I think it’s a jumping off point.
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler — (serious book club) Go read this if you haven’t. It’s about our near future. It’s about how people deal with a broken down world. It’s about intentional family and community. It’s about being ready.
Lights, Camera, Witchcraft by Heather Greene — (podcast guest) I’m still finishing this and thoroughly enjoying Greene’s study of the witch in American film and television and what that says about our cultural relationship to the figure of the witch and all they represent.
Tarot Witch by T. Thorn Coyle — (fun) third in the Seashell Cove Paranormal Mystery series set on the Oregon coast near Portland. This is a fun, palate-cleansing read that I’ve been dipping into between heavier subjects.