The Bookshelf Survery

Getting back into the swing of things after Christmas seemed the perfect time for a bit of fun. Book-related fun is all the better, so a big thank you to the lovely Dee Dee Chainey for tagging me in the Bookshelf Survey. (Though let’s face it, we hardly need an excuse to talk about books!) 

Find a book on your shelves for each of your initials.

(I have a confession to make on this one. My first response was “Oh dear, I’m not sure I’ll have any that start with W….” Then I looked. Yeah. I read and write mostly about witches. Enough said….!)

It was very hard to pick two, but I finally decided on:

Witchcraft, Magic and Culture, 1736-1951 by Owen Davies.
This fantastic book was actually one of the first I read on witchcraft history. Covering a period often neglected in witchcraft studies it looks at beliefs and practices relating to witchcraft across all sections of society in the decades after the passing of the 1736 witchcraft act. I love Owen Davies’ style and anything by him promises to be a good read, but this is my favourite and sparked my own interest in 19th century witchcraft cases.

Witches and Wicked Bodies by Deanna Petherbridge. 
This was the exhibition guide to the Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibition at the British Museum last year. The guide “provides an innovative, rich survey of images of European witchcraft covering from the sixteenth century to the present day. It focuses on the representation of female witches and the enduring stereotypes they embody, ranging from hideous old crones to beautiful young seductresses.” It’s still available to buy on Amazon and would highly recommend it especially if you didn’t get to see the exhibition in person.

Count your age along your bookshelf. What book did you land on?

 Folklore Myths and Legends of Great Britain by Reader’s Digest.
It seems I had a deprived childhood without knowing it, as everyone else I know seems to have had this book in their lives a long time before I even knew it existed. My fellow #FolkloreThursday hosts soon rectified the situation however, and now I can read about everything from giants to haunted stately homes to mermaids and everything else in between to my heart’s content. It truly is a most fabulous book and there was only a limited print run, so snap up a copy (or snag your dad’s!) before they all go. My only trouble now is that my 7 year old wants to have mine on permanent loan!

Find a book that takes place in your city or state.

Derbyshire Ghost Stories by Jill Armitage. 
A lovely little book filled with local ghostly tales, this book is great for flicking through for inspiration or if you just fancy dipping in for a story or two. There’s the added bonus that there aren’t a lot of historical sources mentioned, which gives plenty of scope for going off and getting happily lost in research. 

And because we’re so close to the boundary of Nottinghamshire, Nottinghamshire Folktales by Pete Castle also needs a mention, not least because of the gorgeous artwork by Karen Soutar on the cover. 

Find a book cover in your favourite colour. 

 I don’t seem to have any purple covered books! So instead I will cheat and share my favourite book cover of all time – that of Lloyd Shepherd’s Savage Magic. I fell in love with the cover the first time I saw it, and the book itself more than lives up to it. If you like well-told historical fiction with a hefty dose of madness, magic and maleficium this is definitely worth a read!

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. 
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this one, and it’s certainly not one I’ve left behind with childhood. I regularly re-read the whole series that charts the story of the March family, but the first one is always going to be my favourite. I’m not ashamed to add that it makes me cry!

Ghostly Tales by Ladybird.
This also has to be mentioned here because it is the book that has scared me the most ever. I begged my mum to buy it for me from Woolworths when I was about seven and freaked myself out good and proper by reading it over and over. (Didn’t help that we lived in the house below at the time – perfect spooky setting!) Does anyone else remember the book? I have my old copy here but can’t bring myself to open it again….!

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien. 
I’ve started it four times now and haven’t managed to get further than about 300 pages in. Think I’ve been beaten by this one!

Do you have a special place at home for reading?
I do a lot of reading in the bath! I think that’s partly because it’s one of the few times during the day when I can justify it (or at least when it isn’t work related.) I also read a lot at my desk when I’m doing research etc. 

Can you read while listening to music/ watching TV?
Nope! I find it really hard to focus on reading if there is any background noise, which can sometimes be rather a challenge!

What do you use for bookmarks?
Had to laugh at Dee’s answer to this, as I am also guilty of using random bits of tissue that happen to be at hand! I also use bits of paper and sometimes, rarely, actual proper bookmarks.

Are your book spines creased or unbroken?
Crease and proud of it!

What is the last book you bought?

The Faerie Thorn by Jane Talbot.
I’ve not read it yet as it was a Christmas present but very much looking forward to this one! 

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas – Wishing you all a Happy New Year, and there’ll be more from The Witch, The Weird, and The Wonderful soon!

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