Illustrated manuscript of The Witchcraft of Dame Darrel of York by Charles Godfrey Leland, humorist, folklorist, poet, and artist. Leland presents the book as an account of witchcraft practiced by Dame Darrel, “the Wise Woman of York,” in medieval England, though the work is primarily based on Leland’s own research and imagination. The majority of the manuscript catalogs various types of fairies, elves, goblins, and other spirits in alphabetical order, but there are also stories and descriptions of spells, all of which are paired with fantastical drawings. If you’re inspired to page through the full volume, the Digital Library record is here. I recommend page 137 for an entry on phasmation or a “fantome.” This manuscript is found in HSP’s Charles Godfrey Leland papers  collection.
Hello! Tonight I will be talking to not one, but TWO writers: Alice Greenway, author of White Ghost Girls and a new novel The Bird Skinner, and Rebecca Hunt, author of Mr. Chartwell and her new book Everland.
Things I hope to discuss are Islands, Victorian children’s adventure novels and Rebecca’s pet pug Nancy who recently stole the show when Rebecca was interviewed for the Telegraph. Their two books are brilliant on their own and work very well together, and if you’re into Arctic expeditions gone wrong, ornithology, gruff seafaring men and/or women you should come and see it: All the info is here: http://www.lutyensrubinstein.co.uk/bookshop-news-events/
Such a great read.
"I’m looking for a fat fantasy epic in which a female protagonist has powers that mean she succeeds where others would fail." I said to T the other day. My reading habits, like my eating and music listening habits, have become compulsive and specific. I have been listening to nothing but the Beach Boys singing Kokomo for about a month now, and eating cereal, bowls of it. Maybe cravings are more holistic than I thought.
"I’ll ask [my partner]" said T, "He’ll know." And lo, not half an hour later, she returned with a name: Robin Hobb’s SHIP OF MAGIC. It was exactly what I was looking for. You know, when you just want your heroines to have a destiny and a skill set to match it? Althea, in this book, is psychically connected to her ship. She also disguises herself as a boy to learn her trade, which she turns out to be good at. I mean, what more could you want? Sex? Lots of that. Fighting? SURE. Revolution? Absolutely. Monsters? Some, but not too many. It’s a genuine pleasure, this, like Game of Thrones if Game of Thrones was written by a woman. And by that I mean, if Game of Thrones was even better. ROBIN HOBB. She’s written a lot more than SHIP OF MAGIC, but do start there.
Ben Yagoda on a short history of “hack” and why it has become the word of the moment: http://nyr.kr/1gfsXNl
“Although Lifehacker and other neutral or positive applications of the word are increasingly prominent, the black-hat meaning still prevails among the general public. Indeed, it has probably influenced the interpretation and enforcement of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It’s as if the mere existence of the term ‘hacker’ has added ammunition to the prosecution of such figures as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who was indicted and charged with eleven violations of the act in 2011.”
Illustration by Jordan Awan.
Today we welcome author Seth Fishman to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight! The Well’s End has been a favorite around here as we geared up for release, and how could it not be? Boarding school, tense familial relationships, a cute boy, and a mystery of epic proportions, this book (with a second one on the way) has all the makings for a story you’ll never forget. Isn’t that just what you’ve been waiting for as you survive this never ending winter? Before you pick up your copy, take a second to get to know the mastermind behind the tale!
Name: Seth Aaron Shai Fishman
Novel: The Well’s End
Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? J.R.R. Tolkien
What’s your favorite thing about your book? That it exists!
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Gandalf, though perhaps Robinson Crusoe or the empress from The Neverending Story (to grant wishes).
Where do you write? A rotating range of desks, most notably my wife’s desk in the living room because my desk in the bedroom is covered with old drafts.
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Emperor Augustus. Oh man, what a great emperor, all things considered. PAX ROMANA (yep, I’m a nerd, but I DID major in Roman history so, like, that’s fair right?)
Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I do tweet but have been told by a wise man that the moment I self-congratulate a bit of humor, it turns to dust.
What is your favorite season? Fall, easily. A) Birthday B) Trees (none where I grew up so I’m still delighted by them) C) New Year (school time) D) great weather E) Football
If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Hmm, assuming I had a spacesuit and could easily teleport back, I wouldn’t mind a nice view of a galaxy that’s not horizontal. Otherwise, Bali…
Do you have any writing rituals? Definitely, I procrastinate first for 30 minutes, and then I start reading the last 5 pages I wrote, lightly editing, and then, by the time I get to the last line, I am ready for the next one.
What is your idea of earthly happiness? Love, health, and security (including Scroodge McDuck style money bins).
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Hmm, good question. Theoretically it was the Rolling Stones 1996 show that Matchbox 20, Dave Matthews and Smashing Pumpkins opened. But in reality, cheesy me will go with Simon & Garfunkle. Dad would be proud.
What are you currently working on? I’m waiting anxiously for my editor to destroy the pages of book two in this series. So, I guess I’m working on my tan.
Thanks, Seth! We can’t wait to find out what comes next after The Well’s End!
Check out me saying stuff and my author photo where I obscure my face!
Seth is here next Thursday with Téa Obreht for The Well’s Wife and The Tiger’s End: Seth Fishman and Téa Obreht Read Fan Fiction it will be guaranteed great.
Blue Willow Bookstore in Houston finds a way to alleviate 90% of Info Desk inquiries.
Bikes park near an arched stone bridge above bathers enjoying the water on Arran Island, Scotland, July 1965.Photograph by Robert Sisson, National Geographic
Why are people’s beliefs about global warming so susceptible to the weather? Maria Konnikova looks at recent studies on the relationship between extreme weather and attitudes about climate change: http://nyr.kr/1lw2Dn4
Photograph by Martin Rollins.