Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Read Controversial Books

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

They're burning books in Tennessee. Supposedly "witchcraft" books, and I would tell you all to go read them, except they mean Harry Potter.

Read that too, if you wish, and if you haven't already. I haven't read it myself, but some younger people I know loved it as kids. The controversy over Harry Potter is that it supposedly promotes witchcraft. The author has become controversial due to anti-trans statements on social media, but the book series does not have much to do with that. There are ways to read a book without putting your money into it, if that is a concern for you.

If you want to read a book and not spend money on it, the public library is likely to have a book as popular as Harry Potter. If you are looking for a more obscure book, say, an actual witchcraft book, which your local library doesn't have, request it and they might get it for you. There are always used books, too.

Recently there was a "banning" of the book Maus, which is what we call it when a school decides not to have its students read a particular book. That was bad enough, but the book burning in Tennessee was literal, they actually lit a fire and burned books in it.

As a book author and editor, I am horrified by book burnings, even though I know the books have an afterlife. I think of all the work that authors and their publishing industry partners book into publishing a book, how much mental strain authors put into revising their books until they are good enough to publish. I think about how I would feel if someone hated my book that much, and it makes me feel so protective of my book!

Society in general responded to the banning of Maus by going out and reading Maus, which I think is exactly the right response. Read banned books. Read controversial books. Find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.

In this atmosphere, it takes more than a couple of reviews that disagree with each other, or people discussing it on social media, to call a book controversial. So I can't really say my book has suddenly become controversial. No one is burning it, knock on wood. There has merely been a recent review on Amazon in which it was criticized for being "full of liberal politics." Then even more recently, apparently someone discussed it on some sad podcast themed around things the caster doesn't like, which I have not seen. Then someone who viewed the video tagged me on social media wanting my book to be MORE full of liberal politics. That is hardly a controversy, merely a difference of opinion between readers.

Being an author in a time of book burnings definitely puts me on edge, even when critics confine themselves to words. Authors have feelings, and we are often given the advice not to read reviews or comments at all. I always read reviews on Amazon and in magazines that I already subscribe to, but not other ones usually. Many other authors don't read any reviews. Please don't tag an author, musician, movie maker, artist, singer, crafter, etc. in a social media thread where people are criticizing their work.

There is a professional review of my book coming soon, I hope; I know it has been written and has been in the files of a magazine since my book was published, and I've heard of a new issue coming out soon. I don't want to say more right now in case the review is not in it. Print magazines often keep a backlog of accepted materials and fill them in as needed, so it might be in a future issue rather than this one.

In the meantime, you the reader can add your own voice to the discussion by writing a review. If you liked my book, please review it on Amazon. If you like my blog but have not read my book yet, give it a try! If you like this blog you would probably like my book, too. You can find all the buy links for my book plus free samples at:

Or check it out of your local public library. Find out what the (really minor lol) fuss was about.

And hope no one starts burning any actual witchcraft, pagan, or heathen books.

Last modified on
Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


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