December 6, 2011


Barbara G. Walker is a woman who has written several interesting books on myth, culture and women’s history. Her definitive work, “The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects” is a classic. Two other works, “The Crone” and “Feminist Fairy Tales” are smaller reviews on the same subject. Walker’s style is crisp and her themes well-documented but she avoids a scholarly tone. Reading her is more like reading gossip and who doesn’t like a bit of that?

Speaking of gossip, Lizzy Shannon has published A Celtic Yearbook to celebrate her Irish roots. To do so, she takes us through the 13 months of that calendar year, giving us remedies, charms and stories to celebrate the seasons. Did you know, for example, that to dine by candlelight on Christmas morning is lucky? Or that a swan’s feather tucked into a husband’s pillow will keep him faithful?

Within its 116 pages a person can find recopies that range from love potions to soda bread — with a little Irish lore on dreams thrown in as well. The book is a bit of fun with a dash of history, a pinch of humor, and a good deal of rural wisdom.   And who knows? That recipe for freckles and blotches might come in handy. Add it to your library or this Christmas give it to a friend who likes to smile.