Friday memes and 'Storms of Witchcraft' by Emerson W. Baker
It's my birthday!! I'm officially 21 which means I'm not allowed to legally drink in America, not that that does me any good over here in the UK. It does feel like I'm not at an 'officially grown up' age, so I'll try to be a bit more adult ;) No promises though. Now, let's get onto these memes!
Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee and this week's question was suggested by Jess over at GREAT Read and is:
Before blogging (dark times people!) how would you find out about new books or did you?
I actually am not quite sure, it feels like such a long time ago! I got most of my books from family, I think, and because I wanted to study English I looked up a lot of lists of books to read which meant I tried to read Catcher in the Rye at twelve, which wasn't a good idea. The first Twilight book on the other hand was a bit more of a hit at that age, although when I was fifteen those two switched around and Catcher in the Rye became a new favourite. OK, got side-tracked there. I got most of my new books from just seeing them in stores and since I tend to be wary of books that get hyped I missed out on most of them even then!
What books would you want to read again for the first time?
Ugh, which wouldn't I? I watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night and realized I would love to read the Harry Potter books again for the first time and just be completely new to J.K.'s whole magical world. It was just such fun! I would also love to read Wuthering Heights again because I think I have decided on it being my all time favourite book and I would just love to experience that rollercoaster all over again. There are lots of other ones as well, like Pride & Prejudice, Frankenstein, Special Topics of Calamity Physics and more.
This week I'm using a book that has me slightly obssessed and fascinated for Book Beginnings (hosted over at Rose City Reader) and Friday 56 (hosted over at Freda's Voice). That book is A Storm of Witchcraft by Emerson W. Baker. This isn't the whole blurb, but it's a bit long:
Beginning in January 1692, Salem Village in colonial Massachusetts witnessed the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft in early America. Villagers--mainly young women--suffered from unseen torments that caused them to writhe, shriek, and contort their bodies, complaining of pins stuck into their flesh and of being haunted by specters. Believing that they suffered from assaults by an invisible spirit, the community began a hunt to track down those responsible for the demonic work. The resulting Salem Witch Trials, culminating in the execution of 19 villagers, persists as one of the most mysterious and fascinating events in American history.
Baker shows how a range of factors in the Bay colony in the 1690s, including a new charter and government, a lethal frontier war, and religious and political conflicts, set the stage for the dramatic events in Salem. Engaging a range of perspectives, he looks at the key players in the outbreak--the accused witches and the people they allegedly bewitched, as well as the judges and government officials who prosecuted them--and wrestles with questions about why the Salem tragedy unfolded as it did, and why it has become an enduring legacy.I'm fascinated by witchcraft and Baker's account is really interesting. I've already learned so much about not only the Salem trials but also about Puritanism, Massachusetts' history and other, fascinating, witchcraft cases and I'm only a third in.
'Tucked away in a corner of the Peabody Essex Museum in the City of Salem sits one of the great artifacts of early American history: a small oak valuables cabinet. - Introduction'In the middle of January 1692, strange events began to take place in the Salem Village parsonage. Reverend Samuel Parris and his wife, Elizabeth, began to notice that their daugter, Betty, and niece, Abigail William, were behaving oddly.' - p.14I decided to give you the beginning both of the intro and the actual book because it shows two examples of why the book is so interesting. Baker approaches the trials from a lot of different angles, such as for example the cabinet, while also giving quite detailed accounts of what the documents tell us. It's simply really interesting!
'Even the climate seemed to be part oft he conspiracy against New England. The 1680s and 1690s were part of the Maunder Minimum, the most extreme weather of the Little Ice Age, a period of colder temperatures occurring roughly from 1400 to 1800. Strikingly cold winters and dry summers were common in those decades.' p.58Climate and environment are really important contributors to culture and this makes the book even more interesting because currently out climate is changing quite a lot as well. I'm not suggesting we'll soon have new witchcraft trials, but I can imagine some of our current world problems can be brought back to it.
So, that was my post for today, now I'm going to go blog-hopping!