From the Keeper Shelf – 1

There’s a little game going around on Facebook – it’s been there for a while, actually – in which people post images of ten of their favorite movies or books, one each day, without explanation. I haven’t played because I can’t choose just ten favorites, whether we’re talking books or movies. I’ve often thought about starting a thread here, on my blog, but hadn’t gotten around to it until today. Why now? Well, I’ve been re-reading a lot of my favorites from my keeper shelf, and maybe you’re doing the same thing. Maybe my favorites will end up becoming some of yours.

These won’t be reviews. I’ll tell you one thing that I like about the book, pretty much why it’s on my keeper shelf, then give you a Goodreads link, an Amazon link and a link to the author’s website so you can find out more.

Be warned that my keeper shelf isn’t in any reasonable kind of order. It’s a bookcase with each shelf having two rows of books, one in front of the other, and then more stacked sideways on top. The only order is by format – the mass market paperbacks are at the top because they’re lighter; trade paperbacks in the middle; hard covers at the bottom. Lots of books, so they’re packed in really tightly. 🙂

This week’s choices are from the mass market shelf. I literally pulled the first five books out of the front row on the top shelf.

Practical Magic by Alice HoffmanFirst up is Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I have the Berkley paperback from 1995, which looks like this=====>

This is one of those rare stories that I loved both as a movie and as a book. It’s a tale of two sisters raised by their odd aunts. They’re estranged from each other and one and no longer as close to the aunts, but they have to work together for one to escape an abusive situation. I love this book for the story – which is one of reunion and redemption – and for the characters, but mostly I love Alice Hoffman books because of her voice. She has a marvelous way with words that draws me right in – and often I keep reading right to the end of the book. Here’s an excerpt from just before the big finish, to give you a taste:

“The aunts stand in Sally’s driveway, between the Honda and Jimmy’s Oldsmobile, their black suitcases set down beside them. They close their eyes, to get a sense of this place. In the poplar trees, the sparrows watch with interest. The spiders stop spinning their webs. The rain will begin after midnight, on this the aunts agree. It will fall in sheets, like rivers of glass. It will fall until the whole world seems silver and turned upside down. You can feel such things when you have rheumatism, or when you’ve lived as long as the aunts have.”

It’s melodic and as seductive as a siren’s song.

This is mainstream fiction or maybe women’s fiction, although there are romantic elements and fantasy elements, too. (The aunts are, after all, witches of a most sensible kind.)

Here’s the book on Goodreads and here it is on

Here’s Alice Hoffman’s website. What excellent timing! There’s a prequel to Practical Magic being published this fall. Something else to add to the TBR pile and an excellent reason to re-read this book now.