10032012: On My Wishlist (9)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City

Codex Saerus: According to tradition, each Master or Mistress who was responsible for a particular Satanic Temple or group, was given a copy of the Black Book of Satan. The Black Book contained the basic Satanic rituals and instructions relating to ceremonial magick in general. Copies were forbidden to be made, although Initiates above the grade of External Adept were allowed to see and read the Temple copy. In Traditional Satanism this practice continued until quite recently when the Grand Master representing traditional groups decided to allow Initiates of good standing to copy the work. This decision was recently extended to enable specialist publication in a limited edition. The whole text of the traditional Black Book is included in the present work, together with several additional chapters. These additions make this present work a concise practical handbook for those seriously interested in the Black Arts.
A Great and Terrible Beauty: A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel. Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.
The God Delusion: Discover magazine recently called Richard Dawkins “Darwin”s Rottweiler” for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. Prospect magazine voted him among the top three public intellectuals in the world (along with Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky). Now Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes. He critiques God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. In so doing, he makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just irrational, but potentially deadly. Dawkins has fashioned an impassioned, rigorous rebuttal to religion, to be embraced by anyone who sputters at the inconsistencies and cruelties that riddle the Bible, bristles at the inanity of “intelligent design,” or agonizes over fundamentalism in the Middle East or Middle America.
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