For those of you who have been reading for a while I tend to post a fun tag or meme on Friday’s to get us into the weekend spirit.
The Book Beginnings on Friday book meme was created by Rose City Reader, where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.
Interested to see what my current read had in store for me? Keep on reading to find out.
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The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem by Stacy Schiff
Publisher: Back Bay Books (September 20, 2016)
Print Length: 512 pages
The panic began early in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s niece began to writhe and roar. It spread quickly, confounding the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, husbands accused wives, parents and children one another. It ended less than a year later, but not before nineteen men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.
Speaking loudly and emphatically, adolescent girls stood at the center of the crisis. Along with suffrage and Prohibition, the Salem witch trials represent one of the few moments when women played the central role in American history. Drawing masterfully on the archives, Stacy Schiff introduces us to the strains on a Puritan adolescent’s life and to the authorities whose delicate agendas were at risk. She illuminates the demands of a rigorous faith, the vulnerability of settlements adrift from the mother country, perched-at a politically tumultuous time-on the edge of what a visitor termed a “remote, rocky, barren, bushy, wild-woody wilderness.”
With devastating clarity, the textures and tensions of colonial life emerge; hidden patterns subtly, startlingly detach themselves from the darkness. Schiff brings early American anxieties to the fore to align them brilliantly with our own. In an era of religious provocations, crowdsourcing, and invisible enemies, this enthralling story makes more sense than ever.
“In 1692 the Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women, five men, and two dogs for witchcraft. The sorcery materialized in January. The first hanging took place in June, the last in September; a stark, stunned silence followed.”
Well that first sentence was short, sweet, and to the point. Also, did anyone else question the fact that dogs could be witches after reading that sentence? The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem has been sitting on my unread shelf for quite some time. Given the types of non-fiction books I’ve been picking up as of late it seemed like a no brainer that this should be next. Let us just hope that this book boasts more paragraphs like this, should make finishing this hefty 500 page stunner easy.
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And that is my contribution to the Book Beginnings on Friday conversation. What is the first sentence of the book you’re reading right now? Leave it as a comment below and let’s chat about it.