Take Ten: Witches

If you’re a kid of the 20th Century, you probably dressed up as a witch one Halloween. With so many fun fictional witches to choose from – like the Wicked Witch of the West, here – many of us had a good time turning ourselves into hags (or pretty witches, if you happened to be a fan of, say, Bewitched).

And while Hermione might be what the younger generation pictures when they hear the word, witches certainly haven’t gone away, they’ve just gotten more interesting. Pick up one of these novels and brew up a good time this Halloween season, my pretty!

~~~

Dark Witch – Nora Roberts

  • Morgana Donovan, a beautiful woman gifted with extraordinary abilities, proves to Nash Kirkland, a hardheaded skeptic who is using her to research his latest screenplay, that magic really does exist. (First in the fourbook Donovan Legacy series.)

Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison

  • American Iona Sheehan searches for her Irish ancestors, the O’Dwyers, to learn more about her powers and break an ancient curse, and meets Boyle McGrath. (First in the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy.)

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

  • Discovering a magical manuscript in Oxford’s library, scholar Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who has rejected her heritage, inadvertently unleashes a fantastical underworld of daemons, witches and vampires whose activities center around an enchanted treasure. (First in the All Souls trilogy.)

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane – Katherine Howe

  • Forced to set aside her Ph.D. research in order to help the settling of her late grandmother’s abandoned home, Connie Goodwin discovers a hidden key among her grandmother’s possessions that is linked to a darker chapter in Salem witch trial history.

Practical Magic – Alice Hoffman

  • The story of two sisters, Gillian and Sally Owens, brought up by their elderly guardian aunts in a small New England town. The aunts possess magic that they in turn hand down to their nieces. (New prequel: The Rules of Magic)

A Secret History of Witches – Louisa Morgan

  • Follows five generations of women—all of whom happen to be witches—from 19th-century Brittany to London during World War II.

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West – Gregory Maguire

  • Set in an Oz where a morose Wizard battles suicidal thoughts, the story of the green-skinned Elphaba, otherwise known as the Wicked Witch of the West, profiles her as an animal rights activist striving to avenge her dear sister’s death. (First in the Wicked Years four-book series.)

The Witches of Eastwick – John Updike

  • Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie ply their individual witcheries in contemporary Eastwick, Rhode Island, and are themselves bewitched by a dark, wealthy, decadent stranger. (Next read: The Widows of Eastwick)

The Witches of New York – Ami McKay

  • A tale inspired by Manhattan’s 19th-century witchcraft revival finds a celebrated teahouse proprietress and a gifted medium teaming up with a dream interpreter in the aftermath of a psychic colleague’s disappearance.

The Witching Hour – Anne Rice

  • Moving in time from today’s New Orleans and San Francisco to long-ago Amsterdam and the France of Louis XIV, Anne Rice introduces a dynasty of four centuries of witches–a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being called Lasher who haunts the Mayfair women. (First in the Mayfair Witches trilogy.)

~~~

Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus. Log in to NoveList Plus for book recommendations, series information, book club guides, and more!

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1971

Let’s all take a groovy ride back to 1971 this month – a year we at the TFPL Reference Desk can appreciate, and not just because Starbucks was established the same year. We’re showing our age, literally, to admit more than that…

Still, you might remember that Dyn-O-Mite year for the following events:

  • The Ed Sullivan Show, a staple in homes each Sunday for more than 20 years, broadcasts its last episode in March.
  • Jim Morrison of The Doors (who had a memorable appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show) dies in his Paris apartment in July.
  • Walt Disney World in Florida opens in October.

Relive the year through its literature – here are the New York Times Best Sellers for the week of October 10, 1971.

~~~

FICTION

1. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

2. The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

3. Wheels by Arthur Hailey

4. The Other by Thomas Tryon

5. The Shadow of the Lynx by Victoria Holt

6. The Drifters by James A. Michener

7. Message from Malaga by Helen Macinnes

8. Theirs Was the Kingdom by R.F. Delderfield

9. The Passions of the Mind by Irving Stone

10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

~~~

NONFICTION

1. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

2.  Any Woman Can! by David Reuben, M.D.

3. The Gift Horse by Hildegard Knef

4. America, Inc, by Morton Mintz and Jerry S. Cohen

5. The Ra Expeditions by Thor Heyerdahl

6. The Sensuous Man by “M”

7. Madame by Patrick O’Higgins

8. Do You Sincerely Want To Be Rich? by Charles Raw, Bruce Page and Godfrey Hodgson

9. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer

10. Living Well Is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins

Read, Watch, Listen: Horror

The calendar has turned and the weather is reminding us it’s fall – which means it’s a great time to cozy up and get invested in some horror before Halloween. Ranging from good old-fashioned blood and guts stories, to haunted house tales, to psychological thrillers, horror can encompass a wide variety of good spooky scares – and what better time than October to enjoy one!

~~~

READ

Damnation Game – Clive Barker

  • In a nightworld where decomposing corpse-assassins stalk their prey, Marty Strauss, the bodyguard to a famous industrialist, discovers that someone is coming to collect the soul of his employer as payment for an ancient debt.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

  • The inhabitants of the Rochester house wield a strange power over their neighbors.

My Soul to Keep – Tananarive Due

  • Jessica believes she has it all — a loving husband, a wonderful daughter and a rising career as a Miami Herald reporter. David, her husband, is a master of languages, history and jazz music. But unbeknownst to Jessica, he is also 500 years old. He belongs to the house of the Life Blood Brothers, an Ethiopian brotherhood of immortals.

~~~

WATCH

The Girl With All the Gifts

  • Humanity has been all but destroyed by a fungal disease, with only a small group of children seem to be immune to its effects. At an army base in rural England, these unique children are being studied and subjected to cruel experiments. When the base falls, one little girl escapes and must discover what she is, ultimately deciding both her own future and that of the human race.

Cujo

  • A young boy befriends a hulking, but lovable St. Bernard owned by the town’s mechanic. When his mother takes their decrepit car for repairs at the mechanic’s remote farmhouse, Cujo appears. The once docile dog has undergone a hideous transformation, and has become a demonic, impeccable killer possessed of an almost supernatural strength.

Paranormal Activity

  • Katie and Micah are a young middle class couple who begin hearing noises while trying to sleep in their new “starter” house. Not knowing if the presence is demonic or not, they attempt communicating through a Ouija board, angering the spirit further. Now they may never sleep again, or they may never wake up!

 

~~~

LISTEN

It – Stephen King

  • They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.

Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection

  • A collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry and short stories read by Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone.

Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury

  • Story of two young boys who begin to encounter evil secrets when a lightning rod salesman gives them one of his contraptions covered with mystical symbols.

~~~

Annotations for books and audiobooks courtesy of NoveList Plus. Movie annotations adapted from the TFPL Catalog.

Take Ten: The Vietnam War

We’re seeing a renewed interest in books about Vietnam – the war and its history – with the broadcast of the new Ken Burns documentary. It’s a significant topic, and there are many, many books reflecting various points of view. The list here is a starting point, including titles by some who lived through the experience.

~~~

NONFICTION

The Best and the Brightest – David Halberstam

  • An account of American power and politics in the 1950s and 1960s highlights the political and military figures who shaped domestic and foreign policy and who orchestrated America’s involvement in Vietnam.

A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam – Neil Sheehan

  • Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann was the one clear-sighted participant in an enterprise riddled with arrogance and self-deception, but by the time he died in 1972, Vann had embraced the follies he once decried. A journalist tells the story of John Vann … and of the tragedy which destroyed the country and squandered so much of America’s young manhood and resources.

Chickenhawk – Robert Mason

  • A former Army helicopter pilot describes his experiences during a year’s tour in Vietnam, offering an extraordinary portrait of the terror, banality, stupidity, and waste of war.

Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam – H.R. McMaster

  • Outlines the policies and decisions that embroiled the U.S. in the war in Southeast Asia.

Father, Soldier, Son: A Memoir of a Platoon Leader in Vietnam – Nathaniel Tripp

  • A Vietnam platoon leader describes his challenges with taking care of and being a role model to his men as a son from a fatherless family, in a memoir that considers the realities of war and dysfunctional families.

~~~

FICTION

Matterhorn – Karl Marlantes

  • Lieutenant Waino Mellas and his fellow Marines venture into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and fight their way into manhood, confronting external obstacles as well as racial tension, competing ambitions, and underhanded officers.

The Quiet American – Graham Greene

  • This novel is a study of New World hope and innocence set in an Old World of violence. The scene is Saigon in the violent years when the French were desperately trying to hold their footing in the Far East. The principal characters are a skeptical British journalist, his attractive Vietnamese mistress, and an eager young American sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission.

The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen

  • Follows a Viet Cong agent as he spies on a South Vietnamese army general and his compatriots as they start a new life on 1975 Los Angeles.

The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien

  • Heroic young men carry the emotional weight of their lives to war in Vietnam in a patchwork account of a modern journey into the heart of darkness.

Tree of Smoke – Denis Johnson

  • The lives of Skip Sands, a spy-in-training engaged in psychological operations against the Vietcong, and brothers Bill and James Houston, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war, intertwine in a novel of America during the Vietnam War.

~~~

Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus. Log in with your TFPL card for reading suggestions, series and author information, reviews, and more.

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1961

On this first day of fall, let’s float back a few years for a look at what was happening in 1961. Idahoans might especially remember the explosion of the atomic reactor at what is now INL in January of that year, but can you also remember:

  • One Hundred and One Dalmations was released, launching one of Disney’s most memorable supervillains, Creulla De Vil.
  • Construction of the Berlin Wall was begun – destruction of the Wall won’t occur for another 29 years.
  • Roger Maris hit his 61st homer of the year, breaking the 34-year record of Babe Ruth.

And what were we reading the week of September 24? One of these books from the New York Times Best Seller list, we’re sure:

~~~

FICTION

1. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

3. Mila 18 by Leon Uris

4. The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins

5. The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor

6. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

7. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

8. Clock Without Hands by Carson McCullers

9. Rembrandt by Gladys Schmitt

10. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

11. Mothers and Daughters by Evan Hunter

12. A Shooting Star by Wallace Stegner

13. The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

14. A Man in a Mirror by Richard Llewellyn

15. The Off-Islanders by Nathaniel Benchley

16. A Journey to Matecumbe by Robert Lewis Taylor

~~~

NONFICTION

1. The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H. White

2. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer

3. A Nation of Sheep by William J. Lederer

4. Inside Europe Today by John Gunther

5. The New English Bible; New Testament (Oxford University Press/Cambridge University Press)

6. Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell

7. Russia and the West Under Lenin and Stalin by George F. Kennan

8. The Spanish Civil War by Hugh Thomas

9. The Sheppard Murder Case by Paul Holmes

10. Nobody Knows My Name by James Baldwin

11. Kidnap by George Waller

12. Life with Women and How to Survive It by Joseph H. Peck

13. These Ruins Are Inhabited by Muriel Beadle

14. Citizen Hearst by W.A. Swanberg

15. The Age of Reason Begins by Will and Ariel Durant

16. The Road Past Mandalay by John Masters

 

It’s back…

Brew and a Book