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Tomes and Tea Leaves

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Kismetology
Jaimie Admans
On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History
Nicholas A. Basbanes
Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing
Anya Von Bremzen
The Mirror Lied: One Woman's 25-Year Struggle with Bulimia, Anorexia, Diet Pill Addiction, Laxative Abuse and Cutting.
Marc A. Zimmer, N.R. Mitgang, Ira M. Sacker
Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet
Stephen Manes
Sisterland
Curtis Sittenfeld
Flora
Gail Godwin
The Old Curiosity Shop
Charles Dickens, Norman Page
The English Eccentrics
Edith Sitwell, Richard Ingrams (Introduction)
Not In Kansas Anymore - Christine Wicker Christine Wicker set out to investigate alternative magical religious practices in the United States. Noting that the popularity of magical belief is growing, and turning up in unlikely places, Wicker's book seeks to understand how and why magic is turning up in unlikely places. The result, Not in Kansas Anymore, is part travelogue, part personal reflection, and part religious study. Wicker takes us through Voodoo, Wicca, Vampirism, and other magical traditions currently practiced in the United States. The point of this book is not so much to come to any great conclusion about magical religions as it is to experience the journey. And for Wicker, it is indeed a journey. This book is infused with much of Wicker's personal reflections. As an experienced religious journalist (that is, journalist who covers religious topics) Wicker is used to treading in the realm of the spiritual, and she has been forced to think about her own place in the larger spiritual-paranormal world. Clearly, she's open-minded, and her own interactions with magical religious traditions are an important component of the book. Thus, we see plenty of personal interjection, when Wicker explicitly considers her own experiences and beliefs. She finds some of the traditions she observes more appealing than others, and she feels more spiritual energy surrounding some than others. Ultimatley, while I found this book engaging enough, I was dissappointed too. I was hoping that the book would be more argument-driven, and I found that that combination of personal reflection and journalistic reporting detracted from one another. I'd rather have read two books on each of the above topics, rather than trying to digest both in one book. Each could use more development.