Due to my undying love of Gala Darling - since the LJ days! since the iCiNG email newsletters! - I ordered a used copy of Not In Kansas Anymore: A Curious Tale of How Magic is Transforming America by Christine Wicker immediately after she mentioned it back in April. It came in the mail a few weeks ago and today I had a day off with NOTHING planned, so it was time to crack it open. I poured myself a chai tea, curled up with Chester and opened to page one.
Christine Wicker is a journalist who wrote a book about exploring the history of magic and magic-believers in American history and in the American present. She touches on how we perceive magic as either commonplace (wearing lucky gym shorts, praying to St. Anthony) or completely alien (performing hoodoo rituals, practicing actual magical rituals with runes, oils, and crystals.) Wicker also makes it clear that she wants to find the completely alien facets of the way of thinking in the most commonplace locations. The first paragraph of the cover sleeve mentions soccer moms performing voodoo traditions in their backyard, and the first chapter title refers to a small town waitress wearing a pentacle necklace.
So far, I love it. I'm only maybe a fourth in, but that's after one lazy-afternoon sitting. Her narrative is a perfect mix between history lesson and investigative journalism, with notes of a handwritten diary entry thrown in. She talks about the background of magic in Puritan colonies, and she also talks about a live bloodletting at a goth vampire-party - all in the same chapter. Right now, she's visiting Cat Yronwode at her occult shop in California. Wicker has a great balance between being a reporter and being a human being who is curious as to why people would live their life so different than her. I can't wait to read more, which is exactly what I'll do after I hit publish on this entry.
To order the book, check Amazon. To read more of Gala's thoughts on the book, check her article on Magical Thinking. I'll be sure to post again once I've finished the novel.