I’ve just returned from a quick Thanksgiving jaunt to Berkeley, loaded, as usual with books. Berkeley has seen the sad demise of two independent bookstores, but Moe’s Books on Telegraph keeps on thriving: thank goodness! I always comb the stacks in the European history section. Here’s what I came away with this time:

Life in the French Country House, by Mark Girouard. This is a delicious art book filled with beautiful old illustrations. A delight.

The Dirt on Clean; An Unsanitized History, by Katherine Ashenburg.

The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley. I own this book in my Ontario library, but I thought it would be worthwhile to have it in my Mexico library, as well. 

The Remarkable Life of Don Diego; being the autobiography of Diego de Torres Villarroel, translated from the Spanish by William C. Atkinson. This is a treasure of a book, a Folio Society edition published in 1958, with etchings and a swirly ink cover. It’s an early 18th autobiography, and not French, yet there is a great deal to be learned from accounts of the period. Every page is rich in expression. 

Malleus Malefícarum; The Hammer of Witchcraft, translated by Montague Summers. Another Folio Society treasure! This “how-to” text was first published in 1486, and is considered the most important work on demonology ever written.

As well, in the San Francisco MOMA, I picked up a gorgeous little Taschen on sale: Alchemy & Mysticism by Alexander Roob. Like all Taschen books, it has gorgeous illustrations. I’m amused by the blurb from the NYTBR on the back: “…a fast-food, high-energy fix on the topic at hand.” 

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