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Reading List

As long as I'm in the mood to make lists, I might as well set down my reading list for the biographical research. As with the interviews, I anticipate this list will expand; for example, before I finish reading these books, I believe Deborah Lipp's and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart's memoirs will be published.

First, "how-to" books on research and oral history recommended to me by experts:

Article: What is Oral History? by Linda Shopes

The Modern Researcher; Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff. (This and the next two books are considered to be important basic textbooks in their fields.)

The Craft of Research; Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams.

Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences; Valerie Raleigh Yow.

The Battle of Valle Guilia: Oral History and the Art of Dialogue; Alessandro Portelli. (This author is considered a leading oral-history scholar. It's a good idea for me to read some biography. The only one I've read up to this point is The Autobiography of Malcolm X; it's a great book, but it's like "Yankee Doodle" to the experienced researchers: they've all read it and moved beyond it. Edit: I now remember that I've read Genius by James Gleick, a biography of Richard Feynmann.

Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community; Martin Duberman. (I was told to read this after I said that I didn't want to include my part in Isaac's life in a biography I wrote.)

Witchfather: A Life of Gerald Gardner, Volume 1 - Into the Witch Cult and Witchfather: A Life of Gerald Gardner, Volume 2 - From the Witch Cult to Wicca; Philip Heselton. (This just came out. I have to see what someone else did with a similar subject.)

Next come books that mention Isaac, or give more context to the evolution of paganism of which he was a part:

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America; Margot Adler

The Triumph of the Moon; Ronald Hutton

People of the Earth; Ellen Evert Hopman and Lawrence Bond

The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft; Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Green Egg Omelette; Oberon Zell-Ravenheart

And of course, books written by Isaac himself:

Real Magic; Isaac Bonewits

Authentic Thaumaturgy; Isaac Bonewits

Pagan Rites; Isaac Bonewits

The Pagan Man; Isaac Bonewits

Real Energy; Phaedra and Isaac Bonewits

Bonewits' Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca; Isaac Bonewits

Bonewits' Essential Guide to Druidry; Isaac Bonewits

In addition to this, I have 10GB of scanned documents from Isaac's files, and the computer files that were on his laptop. Those all have to read and coded by me.

In a previous post, I told the story of how a friend gave me a copy of seven novels by Jules Verne. I appreciated the gift, but at this point I must ask everyone: No more books, please! My reading queue is quite full!

Added 22-Mar-2012: Although I haven't made much progress on the above stack, I've read two other books to get some insight into the different ways to present a biography:

A Coin for the Ferryman: The Death and Life of Alex Sanders; Jimahl di Fiosa. I wrote to Jimahl, and he was quite helpful in describing his research techniques.

Marty Feldman: The Biography of a Comedy Legend; Robert Ross. Apart from being a biography in someone in whom I have an interest, this is an example of a book researched primarily via the same types of sources I'm using (interviews, media, old memos).



Jan. 12th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
I'm sure that you'll love Triumph of the Moon, but I don't think it's essential to your research. Hutton writes about Great Britain in particular. On the back of "Witchcraft: A Concise Guide," Hutton himself said that Isaac's book fills in the U.S. gaps.

BTW, Bonewits's Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca *is* Witchcraft: A Concise Guide in later edition and from a new publisher. So, there's one off your list.

--Deborah Lipp
Jan. 12th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
I don't think Deborah won't see this reply, since she's not an LJ user, but:

I've already read Truimph of the Moon and enjoyed it. The reason I feel I have to re-read it is that although TotM focuses on Britain, Hutton quotes Isaac as a reference in several spots. Will those quotes be of biographical significance? I don't remember; that's why I have to re-read the book. I also want to go over Hutton's brief description of the evolution of the Craft in the US.

Unfortunately, I can't skip reading both W:ACG and BEGW, or at least skimming them. The differences between the two might be significant. Again, I won't know until I read them.

Edited at 2012-01-12 07:18 pm (UTC)
Mar. 22nd, 2012 07:32 am (UTC)
Changed my mind. Given the length of the reading list and my slowness working my way through it, W:CG is off the list.