A friend and I spent a few lovely hours at the local Barnes and Noble yesterday. I was there to pick up Anne Rice's new novel, and it should have been an in and out shopping trip seeing as the book was on display right as you entered the store. Can anyone just pop in and out of a bookstore? I'm sure such a person exists but I am not one of them.
We eventually found our way to the Aisle du Woo. My friend isn't Pagan but he is vaguely aware of what Paganism is. He started flipping through a book as I did a quick scan of the shelves.
Five books on Wicca. Three tarot decks. One book on general Occultism. One book on Satanism. The rest of the shelving unit was filled with books on ghost hunting, astrology, and Doreen Virtue.
The Wicca books were surprisingly retro - Buckland's Complete Book Of Witchcraft, To Ride A Silver Broomstick and Solitary Witch by Silver RavenWolf, Wicca and Living Wicca by Scott Cunningham. There was a copy of The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish and LaVey's The Satanic Bible for good measure. There was no Necronomicon in sight.
I'd been expecting there to be some newer releases on the shelves that I could flip through and possibly buy. I didn't expect to only find the least exciting** books that were on reading lists twenty years ago. It could just be that there isn't a high demand for witch books in my area and so the store only stocks the books that are statistically going to sell well.
My friend started thumbing through To Ride A Silver Broomstick and asked me which book would give him the best picture of what Wicca is about. I told him I wasn't sure any one particular book could do that job properly given that most people today practice Wicca as a free-form religion and that we don't have a bible. I've been looking over my own bookshelves trying to decide which book, if any, I might suggest to him if he asked me again. I'm not sure I have an answer.
I once gave my parents The Truth About Witchcraft Today by Scott Cunningham when they had questions. Today I'd probably recommend the Wikipedia article or The Bast Novels by Rosemary Edghill, not that I'd ever loan those books out to anyone.
I suppose I could always invite him to circle with me.
*Yes, the title of this post is a Beetlejuice reference. It's also a joke at the expense of The Big Blue Book. You know it's true.
**Fully recognizing that when I was reading those same books twenty years ago I thought they were the best books ever written, and that the Goddess Herself wanted to be my best friend.
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A friend and I spent a few lovely hours at the local Barnes and Noble yesterday. I was there to pick up Anne Rice's new novel, and it sh...