Blinking At You from a Pile of New Books

21 07 2008

Sometimes you can get out of kilter – you either have nothing to read, and all day to read it in; or you see a hundred new books you want, buy a selection and then they sit there, bindings uncracked, till you have to start dusting them and they become part of the furniture.

I’ve taken with me to the new house a stack of books I haven’t yet got to grips with, and I’m going to read them all. Cover to cover. With notes taken. And then I’m going to bore you all silly with them.

Reading, to me, is the last great unadulterated pleasure. I still have good enough eyesight. It doesn’t cost anything, in practical terms, because when I buy a book it’s an investment and I rarely if ever get rid of them. It’s not illegal, immoral or fattening. It’s quiet, and above all it’s portable. Wherever I go I can slip a book in my bag to make the idle minutes go more quickly. And also, hilariously enough, if you’re reading one of *those* books, people don’t feel the irrestistable urge to plonk themselves down and engage you in conversation – which is a habit in others that drives me wild.

My Amazon wishlist is groaning with stuff as yet unbought; my bookcase smells like a bookshop, all glue and new bindings; I’ve got my avaricious eye on all manner of new titles; but I’m calling a halt and going to plough through what I have methodically –  good, bad or indifferent. I’ve got titles in the pile by Rae Beth, Christopher Penczak, Sorita D’Este and David Rankine, Phillip Cooper, Ronald Hutton and Dion Fortune – and this is only a selection.

If the British weather ever does decide to play by the rules and behave as though it really is August (9 degrees and a sharp wind this morning, *sigh*) then I may even be able to do some reading in the countryside. I used to do this when I lived in Essex, at the end of a tiny lane to nowhere. The little cottage I rented, in the grounds of a large house, had no separation from the fields and woods around; you were in the countryside even when you leaned out of the bedroom window. On days off from my job in the little town nearby, I used to grab a book and a blanket and head out across the meadows and rutted baked-earth trackways, under the bright sun, surrounded by nature, verdure and the dark black-green of English oaks in high summer. I’d find a likely spot, miles from anywhere, set up camp and read till I was drowsy; and like as not, roll over and have a snooze in the sun and fresh air. I remember once waking up surrounded by Muntjac deer – I don’t know who was more startled!

Now, most of my reading is done in the eye-flapping 10-minute margin between awake and asleep at 10pm. Not the best time to wring the juice from a work of scholarship. I need a rethink on this – I’m never going to make any headway if I’m reading three pages at a time, two of them with my eyes shut!

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18 responses

21 07 2008
nicnevyn

+++Now, most of my reading is done in the eye-flapping 10-minute margin between awake and asleep at 10pm. Not the best time to wring the juice from a work of scholarship.+++

Ditto, it is something I intend doing something about and sharpish, I was bought a couple of books as presents this weekend at the conference we went to and as lovely as it was to be gifted them, a small voice in the back of my head groaned wondering when I was going to get time to read them.

I’ve spent far too many evenings over the last few years vegging in front of the TV with a bottle of wine to forget the ills of the day. I need to get back to reading, which once upon a time was an all consuming passion.

21 07 2008
The Green Witch

It’s blogging and wine with me, or site work and wine, or wine and wine! 🙂

Reading was similarly a passion for me too; let’s bring back the old days!

21 07 2008
nicnevyn

lol yes blogging and wine, oh and wine and wine play their part. I actually decided this weekend the wine was playing a big part in the whole not reading (and not doing lots of other things for that matter), that we have decided to “go dry” in the house for six months. lol it should also mean that the couple of pints I have out at the little moot I still sometimes attend seem that much sweeter 😉

21 07 2008
The Green Witch

I try not to drink during the week – but if I’m having a bad week, there’s a Co-op at the end of the road, lol! I’ve got the breaking strain of a melting kit-kat….

21 07 2008
nicnevyn

Hahaha! me too, we have two offies and a late night Supermarket all within walking distance, and I am a bugger, I can’t just have one glass, it’s not in my nature. So I figure what the heck, I didn’t drink at all at home once upon a time, perhaps I should go back to the house being t-total.

Funny thing is, it’s only red wine I am a sucker for, I have vodka, whiskey, beer and white wine currently in the house, some of which has been there untouched for months, but you show me a bottle of red and it’s gone sooner than you can blink, normally followed by me falling alseep snoring!

21 07 2008
The Green Witch

I’m having a white period at the moment… one glass? No, doesn’t seem natural to me, two or nothing!

22 07 2008
Mereth

I trust, TGW, that you’re not going to go dry this weekend? I have been ever so good and on a health and re-hydration scheme and drinking up to 3 litres of water and fruit juice a day (I look like a bloomin’ blackberry!) so I have been looking forward greatly to falling from grace and cracking open a bottle or two – don’t let me down!

I get a lot more done if I don’t read my RSS feeds and email! I too must start reading again – I often get into bed with the intention of reading and am out cold before I hit the pillow!

22 07 2008
The Green Witch

The fall from grace will be comprehensive – no chance of any po-faced mineralwater quaffer masquerading as TGW turning up on your doorstep! 🙂

D doesn’t drink much except for the odd glass of cider, so I’ll have to do the decent thing and make up for him….

22 07 2008
Mereth

Well, he’s coming to the right county for cider! 😀

22 07 2008
Andy

I share your desire to get back into reading, but I don’t buy new books very often! Mine often come from Courtyard Books or The Speaking Tree, both in Glastonbury High Street, and who sell used and end of line books. I have a house full of them! You must visit both shops whilst you’re in the area! I’ve been taking a book by Rae Beth back and forth to work the past few weeks, but I never get a change to fully engage with the book. I’ve bumped into her once or twice in recent weeks in Galatea, as she gives tarot readings there on a Wednesday and Friday afternoon. You’re right though, we won’t move on unless we engage more fully in our reading – oh why does work have to get in the way of everything?!?

23 07 2008
The Green Witch

I actually managed to read 45 pages of ‘Wicca Magickal Beginnings’ last night – a record for my recent reading 🙂

25 05 2009
lgos7

So how many more books do you have to go on your list? Some good titles here!

27 05 2009
The Green Witch

Plenty, lol! I’m getting round to them, slowly; so slowly it counts as inaction compared to my general speed level. But I may have a bit of space in the programme shortly – watch this space!

7 06 2009
lgos7

ha! You should see me, I tend to have a few on the go too, wish I could do speed reading! So what did you think of Wicca Magickal Beginnings? I think its one of the most important works published on the Wiccan tradition to date and really enjoyed it.

16 06 2009
The Green Witch

Isn’t that interesting, I tried to finish it three times and came up constantly against the poor quality of the editing, referencing, grammar and spelling. I know there’s good stuff in there; I can see it immediately. I simply felt unable to take it seriously.

Despite my immediate dislike of the work I’ve kept the book and will revisit it. The subject matter is important, the reference material heavyweight and wide-ranging, the authors highly experienced and with a great deal to impart.

I am an intellectual snob and I admit it; however, if paganism wants to be taken seriously, particularly from an academic perspective, it has to smarten up its act. I am sure I’m not the only commentator who thinks that the best possible addition to many pagan publishing houses would be an informed and well-educated editorial staff, with the balls to point out errors and omissions!

Bright blessings,

TGW

17 06 2009
starofseshat

Editing? Did someone mention appalling pagan editing?! Hulloooo!!
I found the grammatical and spelling errors more than annoying. They seriously detracted from anything the book had to say and frankly I found that the hypotheses made were loose and stretched to breaking point. I also found that the structure of writing was unhelpful to the reader with certain points made at the end of the book that would have been better placed in the introduction. In general I found the ideas in the book messy – almost as if publishing was rushed before the ideas were fully baked. Unlike TGW I have not kept my copy. It’s a read-once-pass-it-on book for me, I’m afraid.

17 06 2009
The Green Witch

Seshat, good call. It simply did not present a well-structured argument. As for me, I’m not sure I WOULD pass it on! unless I put out a warning alongside, which seems churlish, no? So I’m keeping mine, on the principle that one less copy out there means one less Wiccan learner who careers madly off down an incorrectly reasoned path.

25 06 2009
lgos7

Very interesting. My copy says “Second Edition, Second Printing June 2008” – and I usually get very annoyed at typos and can’t remember seeing any in this book, so I wonder if they picked up on it and fixed it in this edition? I maintain my opinion that it is probably one of the best books on Wicca I have read and certainly the most important to be published since Triumph of the Moon. The books are very different though and if you were expecting something like Hutton’s work you would be left confused as this is a book which is about the actual practices, so really more of use to Wiccans who work in the tradition. I also think that any pagans or magicians who take their practices seriously will find a lot of useful information in there.

As for the ideas presented therein, it was very well supported and I found the writing style very good. So I guess its a difference in opinion there. Though I have to say that many Wiccans seem to share my opinion, so I wonder if it is just that the book is more aimed at people who have been in a coven or at least have some experience of Gardnerian Craft? I can see that such a thing is possible, but it is difficult for me to see it from outside as I have some experience of Alexandrian and Gardnerian Wicca.

The book in my opnion provides excellent research and what is more it doesn’t force any opinion on the reader, so the reader is left to make their own opinion about the material presented. From that perspective I find it difficult to understand what it is exactly that you are objecting to?

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