We have ghosts. It’s not quite the same thing as having mice in the basement or squirrels in the walls or baby birds in the attic, but ghosts are in keeping with having a bookstore, right? 

Last night, we had our second after-hours session in the store, and this time we had Veil Paranormal in the store too, and they set up a bunch of equipment to investigate the long-gestating suspicion that one is never truly alone in the store. As it turns out, even when we’re not here, there’s at least two people hanging around. 

Michael and Milly, as it turns out. Her name may be Mildred, actually, but we’re going to assume that we can be all familiar-like. Michael—and not “Mike,” thank you very much—floats around upstairs, near the glass room. He wears a white hat. Not a Stetson or a baseball cap. More like a driving around the neighborhood leaving bottles of warm cow juice on your porch kind of hat. 

Right now, though, the bumping noises we hear on the roof are neither ghost nor Santa. Sadly. But those noises mean we might have heat in the building again later today, which would be marvelous. 

Ah, the joy of old buildings. Ghosts and elderly equipment. Senescence, all around. 

Which means it’s probably time to turn the clocks forward again, isn’t it? Our bi-annual attempt to knock our circadian rhythms back into sync with the rest of the world. Well, good luck with that, we say. Stock up on extra books to read for those nights when you can’t sleep, we recommend. 

[As an aside, in ancient Rome, they used water clocks with different volumes so that the number of “hours” during the day remained constant, even if the length of the hour was, well, fluid. These days we have “civil” time, which makes us wonder what was so un-civil about the old methods?]

Speaking of the old ways, this week’s sexy book is Brian Copenhaver’s The Book of Magic

Black on black, of course, with raised glyphs that—from a distance—form a stylized tree image. Copenhaver is a Professor of Philosophy and History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and he’s one of the preeminent scholars on Renaissance magic and mysticism. He admits that this book (which is a historical sampling of magical spells from Antiquity to the Enlightenment) is basically a summation of what’s been preoccupying him throughout his career. 

After we pried a copy out of Mark’s hands, he nodded and said, “Yup. Pretty much.” 

Of course, we’re putting it on the Shiny Shelf, right next to Christelle Huet-Gomez’s Magic Cake, because this sort of thematic shelf stacking is easy when IT’S SO FREAKING COLD IN THE STORE THAT OUR BRAINS CAN’T GENERATE ENOUGH CURRENT TO CREATE SYNAPTIC CONNECTIONS. 

Apparently, if you mix the ingredients correctly, these cakes will automatically separate into three marvelous layers of sweet sweet goodness. All on their own. Such baking hocus-pocus violates at least one of the laws of thermodynamics, and probably completely disregards some of Einstein’s theories as well. But who cares about violating the SpaceTime Continuum when there’s Salted Butter Caramel Cake coming out of the oven, right? 

Also out this week is Mrs. Houdini, a debut novel from Virginia Kelly. Mrs. Houdini focuses on Bess Houdini and the period of time after her husband’s death. Harry always promised Bess that if the afterlife existed, he’d find a way to contact her. Kelly’s novel sweeps us all up into an intoxicating love-after-life-after-death story. With illusions and magic and stuff that isn’t what it seems. 

And finally, speaking of stuff that isn’t what it seems, we’ve got a book by James Michener on the table. Yes, that Michener. It’s called Presidential Lottery, and the subtitle is “The Reckless Gamble in Our Electoral System.” Michener wrote this in 1969, after what he witnessed as part of the 1968 election cycle. Somehow, we suspect, not enough has changed. 

Please visit us. Bring firewood. And don’t forget to register to vote. There might be an ice age coming soon. 

Overheard At Mignon's Cafe »»

Waitress: You can’t be in here. 

Colby: I just want some coffee. Please? I brought a mug. 

Waitress: You’re not a licensed service animal. 

Colby: They were making noises all night. Lights. And bleeping noises. And disturbing the ghosts. 

Waitress: You’re still here. And you’re still not allowed in the restaurant. 

Colby: I’m really tired. Can I just have a little coffee, please? 

Waitress: No. 

Colby: I’ll bite you. 

Waitress: (yelling into the kitchen): Phil!

Phil (from the back): What?

Waitress (still yelling): A customer just threatened to bite me. 

Phil (from the back): Do I need to come out there? 

Waitress: Does he need to come out here?

Colby: Only if he knows how to work the coffee machine. 



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