Notorious look at 16th century: check this out! An amateur (!) builder spent 10 years (!) researching and building a replica of a Portuguese caravel. This is the kind of insanely dedicated experiential archaeology I lurve. To my eternal regret I can’t find a website or blog chronicling the building process, but the ship’s Wikipedia page has some information. To find out where it docks next check out its Twitter and Facebook page.
Full disclosure: though I’m writing fiction I’ve been more of a non-fiction reader most of my life. It’s only in the past ten years or so that the balance has shifted. As someone who tends to go narrow and deep, I’m surprised and embarrassed to realize my fiction exposure has been wide and shallow:
Much as I loved “Rebecca” I’ve not made time to read the rest of du Maurier’s work.
I’ve only read one each of the “Outlander” and “Lymond Chronicles” series. I enjoyed them but didn’t LURVE LURVE LURVE them enough to continue.
Ditto Margaret George and Philippa Gregory, two other histfic heavyweights. I can’t even tell you which ones I’ve read.
My track record in other genres is no better:
I’ve never read “The Hobbit” or “Lord of the Rings”. I tried the former in both high school and college and found the language too dense to get into. As such I figured LOTR was above my pay grade. I enjoyed the movies though (yes, I am a prole). Maybe I should take another run at these.
Many of the classics of science fiction have slipped under my radar: I’ve never read Heinlein or Asimov, save “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” because I wanted to know what inspired “Blade Runner”.
None of McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” series. I couldn’t finish the first because I found it cliché; friends in the know said it’s better if you encounter it at age twelve rather than thirty-two.
No Agatha Christie or Conan Doyle, for no good reason at all.
No Jane Austen. I know, revoke my girl card.
Very little Stephen King because “Pet Sematary” kept me awake for two weeks as a kid. According to one and all he’s a master of suspense, I want thrills, not terror so intense I can’t turn out the lights.
I try to catch up with the old but the new is so tempting!
What haven’t you read that you feel like you ought? What classics did you finally get around to only to find they didn’t live up to the hype?
Hitler Used Werewolves, Vampires, and Astrology to Brainwash Germany: despite the tabloid-esque title, this is a sobering article about a forthcoming Yale U Press book on Nazi exploitation of pre-existing supernatural beliefs to further their ideology. To quote the article, “…in times of crisis, supernatural and faith-based thinking masquerading as “scientific” solutions to real problems helps facilitate the worst kind of political and social outcomes.” Indeed.
Sometime back I asked if y’all had any interest in a link dump of esoteric/occult/paranormal-oriented publishers and bookstores. The response was a resounding “yes”, so I’ve scoured my bookmarks for you!
I’ve not shopped with all of of these, so I can’t vouch for quality of customer service or wares in all cases. Additionally, given the controversial and strange subject matter I can’t vouch for the credibility of all content either. Use your critical thinking.
And as ever, feel free to include your own favorites in the comments!
Teitan Press: publisher of scholarly works primarily focused on Aliester Crowley and Frederick Hockley.
Nephilim Press: “a trade publication that specializes in the rare and unique subject areas of the occult and arcane, that many major publishing companies consider too controversial to print”. Apparent focus on grimoires contemporary and historic.
Feral House: “innovative and celebrated non-fiction books since 1989”. A very mixed bag; the front page alone features a Muhammed Ali coloring book, a canning and fermenting guide, and a history of the Process Church of the Final Judgment. These plus their categories of “realpolitik”, “kulture”, “crime”, “sex”, and “death” suggests an eye-opening browsing experience if nothing else.
Steamshovel Press: zine founded by veteran conspiracy theorist Kenn Thomas in 1992, they boast “All conspiracy. No theory”. Go here for a plate of UFOs and JFK with sides of lesser-known rabbit holes.
Darklore: “journal of exceptional observations, hidden history, the paranormal and esoteric science”. Based on the URL I think they’re associated with the Daily Grail website. Hat tip GeeCee.
Paraview Press “publishes unique and original books by well-known authors and researchers in the paranormal, spiritual, UFO, and conspiracy-theory field”. I’m mostly familiar with them for publishing much of Nick Redfern’s prodigious output.
Rubedo Press “publishes works of scholarship, philosophy, æsthetics, and esotericism, as well as critical translations of source texts previously unavailable in English”. For what it’s worth, “For explicitly scholarly projects, Rubedo Press offers a strict double-blind peer-review process, drawing on an international panel of interdisciplinary authorities.”
Correspondences: “online journal for the academic study of Western esotericism”; comes out once a year.
Atlantis Bookshop: self-proclaimed “London’s oldest independent occult bookshop”, they have a limited online presence but have long been London’s esoteric hub, hosting Gerald Gardner‘s coven among others.
Crystal Blue: this shop has been in Atlanta since I was a little quasi-goth wandering around Little Five Points. Crystals, books, and more.
Hledající knihy: online esoteric bookseller out of Prague. Most offerings in Czech; I include for completion’s sake.
Magonia Review of Books: formerly a magazine and now an extensive book review site, I’ve found it a valuable resource to find the wheat in this chaff-heavy field. Based out of England, they host regular Magonians In the Pub meetups so check them out if you’re in the neighborhood.
Esoteric Book Conference: Seattle-based conference, the latest information is from last year. No word yet on 2017 though given that it goes back to 2009, I’m hopeful.