As I find interesting books on any of these topics, I plan to update the list, so I hope you’ll visit again!
Act One by Moss Hart. New York: The Modern Library. 1959.
This is charming and engaging, a memoir by half of the famous Kaufman & Hart. A must-read for theatre lovers.
At This Theatre: 110 Years of Broadway Shows, Stories, and Stars. By Robert Viagas & Louis Botto. New York: Applause Books. 2010.
A great coffee table book specific to each of the Broadway theatres and their unique stories.
The Bishop of Broadway: The Life and Work of David Belasco. by Craig Timberlake. New York: Library Publishers. 1954.
Unfortunately, out of print and difficult to hunt down, but well worth it.
Joy Ride: Show People and Their Shows by John Lahr. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2015
New Yorker writer John Lahr profiles playwrights, productions, and directions of wonderful shows, giving a sense of the passion necessary to make a show happen.
The Roots of Theatre: Rethinking Ritual and Other Theories of Origin. By Eli Rozik. Iowa: University of Iowa Press. 2005.
Rozik challenges the often-quoted theories that theatre grew out of religious ritual, believing it doesn’t give human creativity enough credit. An interesting examination of an alternate theory of creativity.
The Season by William Goldman. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. 1969.
Screenwriter William Goldman spent 18 months going to theatre and researching the shows he watched. This intimate look at what did and didn’t survive is both breathtaking and heartbreaking.
Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays. by Tina Packer. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2015.
Written by this brilliant director and one of the founders of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company in Lenox, MA, this is an addictive, fascinating book about the female characters in Shakespeare, a playwright who is still relevant. As a Shakespeare addict, this book is a necessity to me.
The Aromatherapy Garden: Growing Fragrant Plants for Happiness and Well-Being by Kathi Keville. Oregon: Timber Press. 2015.
The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews. By Scott Cunningham. Minneapolis: Llewellyn Worldwide. 1990
Recipes to make your own incense, bath salts, blended oils, tissanes, and more. Terrific information, friendly style.
The Fragrant Veil. By Elizabeth Millar. Minnesota: Llewellyn Worldwide. 2000.
Recipes for every mood and every room in the house.
There are thousands of books on tarot. But these are the ones I’ve found the best, and the ones I return to again and again:
Choice-Centered Tarot. By Gail Fairfield. California: New Castle Publishing. 1984.
In my opinion, this is THE best and most practical book on tarot.
Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot. Part 1: The Major Arcana. Part 2: The Minor Arcana and Readings. By Rachel Pollock. 2 volumes. London: Aquarian Press. 1983. Rachel Pollock’s classic on tarot holds up decade after decade.
Tarot: Your Everyday Guide. By Janina Renee. Minnesota: Llewellyn Worldwide. 2000.
Practical daily advice to sort through some of the denser cards, and also, if you do a daily card pull, clarifies the difference between a one-card advice reading and the card’s place in a more complex spread.
ON THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION/NEW YORK/PRISONERS OF WAR (re: The Spirit Repository):
The following books were useful research material (and heartbreaking reading) as I developed the back story of the restless ghost of Klaus Hendrik, a young American solider who died in the American Revolution, after the Battle of Fort Washington. Far too often, the Tory occupation of New York during the American Revolution is forgotten.
Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War by Edwin G. Burrows. NY: Basic Books. 2008. Between this and Ghost Ship, the reader realizes how horrifying American prisoners were treated — in New York!
The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: An Untold Story of the American Revolution by Robert P. Waston. NY: DaCapo Press. 2017. Newspaper articles, diaries, and military records were used to write this book.
New York At War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham by Steven H. Jaffe. NY: Basic Books. 2012. Stretching far beyond the American Revolution, this book reaches from Colonial Times to 9/11.
The Unruly City: Paris, London, and New York in the Age of Revolution by Mike Rappaport. NY: Basic Books. 2017. This goes all the way to the beginning of the nineteenth century, and shows how closely Paris, London, and New York were woven together, including the revolution in France.
These four books are fascinating to read together, showing a deep historical context. Three of the four are published by Basic Books in New York. All four were written by men. I’m searching for a women’s perspective on this tumultuous time.