Friday, July 28, 2017

Now reading at the Green Hand: Egyptian magic & ghosts!

Here is the latest in our (almost) weekly blog posts about our own summer reading here at the Green Hand Bookshop.

From my massive stack of now-reading and to-be-reads, here are a couple of goodies!

One of these is a re-read: Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos.  This is part of a series by R.L. LaFevers which I highly recommend.  This one, the first in the series, is dedicated by the author "To clever girls everywhere who get tired of feeling like no one's listening."  The series' main character is Theodosia, young daughter of two Egyptologists, and alongside her we find ourselves treading the lanes and sidewalks (and museum crypts) of the early 1900s.

Spiced liberally with run-ins with interfering relatives, daft and distracted parents, the suspicious behavior of museum staff members, Egyptian mythology and magic, as well as a dash of international intrigue, this is my favorite kids' series written in recent years.  It is a worthy successor to Harriet the Spy, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Three Investigators, and all the other books about sleuthtastic risk-taking smartypants I loved reading as a kid.  Don't miss a chance to pick some of these up.

The next one, A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof by Roger Clarke, is a book I've had on my to-read shelf since a friend recommended it ... two and a half years ago!!!  So, long overdue to be read, in other words.

Well, it was worth the wait.  Roger Clarke knows his stuff, and while a lifelong ghost hunter himself, he also is well-versed in the accompaniment of ghostly fiction that has trailed along in the wake of our obsession with true-life hauntings over the centuries, making this book a double delight. 

Clarke writes fluidly, so that the reader doesn't feel like a row of placenames and dates is just being reeled past your inner eye.  He doesn't repeat things others have written -- he extrapolates, he draws connections together, and illuminates dark corners of the past long forgotten.  He throws a spotlight on ghosts you may only know as a whispered name, a reference dropped during a Ghost Hunters episode, an intriguing aside in an Astonishing Legends podcast... but now you'll know all about them yourself, thanks to Clarke!

In fact, by the time you're done reading this book, you'll have a long list of hauntings to go research further, as well as a slew of great books to read on the topic.  Clarke is generous in citing his sources, and the book is fully indexed for those among you (like myself) who like to know where everything is, as well as treating readers to a smattering of illustrations to whet your appetite for period pictorials and far away locations (well, for us in the U.S. that is, as most of the book focuses on the UK, Clarke's home turf).

Hope everyone out there is having a good time with their summer reading too!  'Til next time...