PB launch celebration of THE BOOK OF LIFE w/ great goodies giveaway!


Manic Readers is happy to be a part of the PB launch celebration for A BOOK OF LIFE to be released May 26th. Thanks to Emma, as part of that celebration MR has a signed copy of Diana’s commonplace book and All Souls alchemical buttons (six different designs) for give away (Sorry, U.S. only).   Keep reading to discover how to enter.

CommonplaceSpreadMockUp2SHADOW buttons

Q: A Discovery of Witches begins with Diana Bishop stumbling across a lost, enchanted manuscript called Ashmole 782 in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and the secrets contained in the manuscript are at long last revealed in THE BOOK OF LIFE. You had a similar experience while you were completing your dissertation.  What was the story behind your discovery?  And how did it inspire the creation of these novels?

I did discover a manuscript—not an enchanted one, alas—in the Bodleian Library. It was a manuscript owned by Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer, the mathematician and alchemist John Dee. In the 1570s and 1580s he became interested in using a crystal ball to talk to angels. The angels gave him all kinds of instructions on how to manage his life at home, his work—they even told him to pack up his family and belongings and go to far-away Poland and Prague. In the conversations, Dee asked the angels about a mysterious book in his library called “the Book of Soyga” or “Aldaraia.” No one had ever been able to find it, even though many of Dee’s other books survive in libraries throughout the world. In the summer of 1994 I was spending time in Oxford between finishing my doctorate and starting my first job. It was a wonderfully creative time, since I had no deadlines to worry about and my dissertation on Dee’s angel conversations was complete. As with most discoveries, this discovery of a “lost” manuscript was entirely accidental. I was looking for something else in the Bodleian’s catalogue and in the upper corner of the page was a reference to a book called “Aldaraia.” I knew it couldn’t be Dee’s book, but I called it up anyway. And it turned out it WAS the book (or at least a copy of it). With the help of the Bodleian’s Keeper of Rare Books, I located another copy in the British Library.  

Q: Are there other lost books like this in the world?

Absolutely! Entire books have been written about famous lost volumes—including works by Plato, Aristotle, and Shakespeare to name just a few. Libraries are full of such treasures, some of them unrecognized and others simply misfiled or mislabeled. And we find lost books outside of libraries, too. In January 2006, a completely unknown manuscript belonging to one of the 17th century’s most prominent scientists, Robert Hooke, was discovered when someone was having the contents of their house valued for auction. The manuscript included minutes of early Royal Society meetings that we presumed were lost forever.  

Q: Shadow of Night and A Discovery of Witches have often been compared to young adult fantasy like Twilight, with the caveat that this series is for adults interested in history, science, and academics. Unlike Bella and Edward, Matthew and Diana are card-carrying members of academia who meet in the library of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Are these characters based on something you found missing in the fantasy genre?  

There are a lot of adults reading young adult books, and for good reason. Authors who specialize in the young adult market are writing original, compelling stories that can make even the most cynical grownups believe in magic. In writing A Discovery of Witches, I wanted to give adult readers a world no less magical, no less surprising and delightful, but one that included grown-up concerns and activities. These are not your children’s vampires and witches.

Here’s a taste of the audio books.. THE BOOK OF LIFE, SHADOW OF NIGHT, &  A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. All read by Jennifer Ikeda. You can also check out Deborah’s Spotify Playlist for THE BOOK OF LIFE. Some of the artists are familiar and others are new but the music shares an enchanting quality…

How can you enter to win the above pictured goodies?  Tell us, do you prefer your fantasy adult based or are you more of a fan of the young and new adult fiction and why? Good luck!

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Deborah Harkness is the NY Times bestselling author of the All Souls Trilogy (A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, SHADOW OF NIGHT, & THE BOOK OF LIFE). A history professor at the University of Southern California, she’s received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. She’s also published works on the history of science, magic, and alchemy.

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7 comments to PB launch celebration of THE BOOK OF LIFE w/ great goodies giveaway!

  • Stacie McArthur

    I can’t say I like one over the other. I like adult based as I’m an adult but I feel a lot of authors feel they need to use language and erotica scenes that are not necessary. The books loose their beauty to me when the Author goes too far. In this case I look a lot at the young adult literature for the fact that it will have much less of all that and more of the story. Deborah Harkness touched very close but didn’t go too far and I loved that she knows she could just say “he swore” instead of adding all that language. The book would not be what it is if she wasn’t so brilliant in writing and knowing that is not needed and takes away from the story line.

  • Dolly

    I love the All Souls Trilogy. One of the biggest reasons that I do besides the rich details is that it is a magical world for adults.

  • L

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway! I prefer my fantasy adult based. The All Souls Trilogy fits that bill.

  • Valerie

    Slight edge to adult, although either type of well-written fantasy is great. To enjoy fantasy, I think you have to have a strong imagination anyway. I can easily empathize with either, because I was once a young adult, and remember what it was like. I’m an adult now, so I also put myself in the different situations that adult novels present.

  • Bea

    YA, mostly. I tend to like the situations; more angst.

  • Ang

    I like both YA and adult fiction. It depends on my mood.

  • IvyD

    Congrats, Valerie. Please check your email.