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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Books & Chocolate

Tagged by my pal Jordan at Sweatpants and Coffee, I offer this little book-and-chocolate pairing.

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The biannual Harvard Books warehouse sale is one of the unexpected pleasures of my new life in Boston. The pre-Christmas sale made me feel like a kid again: so many delicious books! Free samples from Taza ChocolateThe warehouse event inevitably becomes a be-your-own-Santa kind of shopping excursion.



Having been a Victorian two lifetimes ago (I’m kidding…I think), the other thing that gets me in the cozy Christmas spirit is an old-fashioned ghost story. Will Storr vs. the Supernatural might not fit that description exactly, but this book turned out to be just as satisfying as anything by M.R. James or Sheridan Le Fanu. Storr, a British journalist, understands that a skeptic, in the proper sense of the term, does not reject strange phenomena out of hand because it conflicts with his own worldview. (The author interviews a psychiatrist, but the doctor dismisses all talk of supernatural phenomena as symptomatic of mental illness, which actually makes no sense from a scientific standpoint, right? Everything is a mystery until scientists figure out how to observe and measure it.) A true skeptic maintains an open mind while pursuing all rational explanations. And while Storr, in all the nights he spends in reputedly haunted houses or tagging after demonologists on their rounds, never sees a “full-body apparition,” there is one freaky episode in particular that pretty much convinces him there’s something to all this ghost stuff. The author tells us enough about himself and his history to give him a comforting air of the everyman, and his sense of humor tempers some of the more unpleasant anecdotes and characters we meet in the book. Even with the chapters on Satanists and religious nuts Will Storr vs. the Supernatural is an absolute delight, and I’m really glad I stumbled upon it at the warehouse sale.

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I’d heard of Taza, but I hadn’t yet tried any of their chocolate when I got to the warehouse last December. Taza is fair trade and vegan, they’re based in Somerville, and any one of their gourmet flavors might send you into a fit of ecstasy. Cinnamon and gingerbread are my favorites, but I see why people love guajillo chili. I had a Hershey’s childhood, and I’m making up for it now.

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Thanks to Jordan and Sweatpants & Coffee—this was a lot of fun. And now I tag Deirdre and Erica!


4 Comments to Books & Chocolate

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    July 27, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I think the belief in the supernatural is just a way to comfort ourselves into thinking that there is more than just rot and earthworms after we die. Sorry to be a downer.

    As for the chocolate, thanks for the introduction. Yum!

  2. July 27, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    The book sounds really interesting! I’ve been on the search for some new fiction to read, I’ll check this out.

  1. By on August 1, 2014 at 2:20 am

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.