Books I don’t need but still buy

Over the last few days, as is my wont, I bought some used books. Some came from a book stall at the fair that happened this past weekend in my neighbourhood, others from charity shops.

Here are the history-relevant recent purchases:


I read Ray Page’s book ages ago, and although I’m sure it’s out of date now, hey, it was £1 and it will be handy to look some things up for someone who is not a runes guy. And I gueess I do tutor the impact of Empire part of the history GCSE, so a big illustrated book about it could come in handy.

I have no earthly use for a collection of engravings from 17th-century alchemical texts. But it was £1 and they’re so cool.

This … is the kind of thinking that has led me to own a lot of texts relating to esotericism and the occult.


Well, I say “lots.” It’s obviously not “lots” by the standards of someone who actually studies the subject, but I’m not that. And insofar as I care about magical and supernatural beliefs — and I do — the things I care least about are alchemy and sort of 18th-19th century ritual magic. And yet I do keep acquiring books about them.

Partly it’s because there are a lot of books out there on the topic, and partly, I think, it’s because they look so cool. I can’t pass them up!

I suppose it does provide lots of material and cool set-dressing for other creative endeavours, but I do worry that people will get the impression that I’m some kind of genuinely knowledgeable occulty type, when I’m just a sort of aesthetic dabbler.

Books I don’t need but still buy

4 thoughts on “Books I don’t need but still buy

  1. Interesting! I’ve never really… encountered anyone buying books like that. But I would have to agree with you, it IS a pretty interesting subject. Do you ever plan on, you know… reading them? I mean, at least perusing?

    1. Oh, sure. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t glanced at them. I’m curious about the subject, and I probably have a better grip on it than the average layman. It’s just that I’m not really interested in becoming an expert on the subject, so I’m not sure why I need to *own* a bunch of books about it. I have used a few of them more extensively — I used Scot’s

        Discoverie of Witchcraft

      and the


      in a talk I gave about 17th-century witch trials. But that’s still not quite the kind of formal ritual magic covered by half those books.

      1. I suppose then it’s sort of like… interior elements then? 😀 you know, some people buy books just so they’d look pretty, without the intention to ever really open them (I know, OMG!), so it’s really not so bad in your case 😀

  2. Oh, sure. Most of my books are bought with the understanding that I’m going to use them for researching something *some* day. I guess this is just a collection that hasn’t really found its purpose yet.

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