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Old 12-05-2012, 12:37 PM   #1
UConnFan
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The DIS Book Club Discussion Group: Round 10 - A Discovery of Witches

Its Book Club time! Woo hoo!

The people have spoken and A Discovery of Witches is our next selection.



A Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness


Over the next several weeks, we will read and share our thoughts on the novel in this thread. Anyone who is interested in joining us is welcome. You could be a first time poster or a regular visitor to the DIS. Either way, we'd love to have you!

Novel Synopsis
Source: Amazon

It all begins with a lost manuscript, a reluctant witch, and 1,500-year-old vampire. Dr. Diana Bishop has a really good reason for refusing to do magic: she is a direct descendant of the first woman executed in the Salem Witch Trials, and her parents cautioned her be discreet about her talents before they were murdered, presumably for having "too much power." So it is purely by accident that Diana unlocks an enchanted long-lost manuscript (a book that all manner of supernatural creatures believe to hold the story of all origins and the secret of immortality) at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and finds herself in a race to prevent an interspecies war. A sparkling debut written by a historian and self-proclaimed oenophile, A Discovery of Witches is heady mix of history and magic, mythology, and love (cue the aforementioned vampire!), making for a luxurious, intoxicating, one-sitting read. --Daphne Durham

About the Author
I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and have lived in western Massachusetts, the Chicago area, Northern California, upstate New York, and Southern California. In other words, Ive lived in three out of five time zones in the US! Ive also lived in the United Kingdom in the cities of Oxford and London.

For the past twenty-eight years Ive been a student and scholar of history, and received degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. During that time I researched the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700. The libraries Ive worked in include Oxfords Bodleian Library, the All Souls College Library at Oxford, the British Library, Londons Guildhall Library, the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Newberry Libraryproving that I know my way around a card catalogue or the computerized equivalent. These experiences have given me a deep and abiding love of libraries and a deep respect for librarians. Currently, I teach European history and the history of science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

My previous books include two works of non-fiction: John Dees Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (Yale University Press, 2007). It has been my privilege to receive fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. And I was honored to receive accolades for my historical work from the History of Science Society, the North American Conference on British Studies, and the Longmans/History Today Prize Committee.

In 2006, I took up my keyboard and entered the world of blogging and Twitter. My wine blog, Good Wine Under $20, is an online record of my search for the best, most affordable wines. These efforts have been applauded by the American Wine Blog Awards, Saveur.com, Wine & Spirits magazine, and Food & Wine magazine. My wine writing has also appeared on the website Serious Eats and in Wine & Spirits magazine.

My career in fiction began in September 2008 when I began to wonder if there really are vampires, what do they do for a living? A Discovery of Witches is the unexpected answer to that question. The book debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, and was also a bestseller in the UK, France, and Germany. Thirty-eight foreign editions and translations will be published. The story of Diana and Matthew continues in the #1 New York Times Bestseller Shadow of Night. I am currently working on the third book in the All Souls Trilogy.

The Other Book in the All Souls Trilogy
Shadow of Night

Reading Schedule
We will read five chapters per week. Its a pretty long book, so if you feel like this might be too much or too little, let me know and Ill adjust the schedule. We can adjust as we go, depending on how quickly we read.

Obtain a copy of the book by Dec. 13
Ch. 1  5 by Dec. 21
Ch. 6  10 by Dec. 28
Ch. 11  15 by Jan. 4
Ch. 16  20 by Jan. 11
Ch. 21  25 by Jan. 18
Ch. 26  30 by Jan. 25
Ch. 31  35 by Feb. 1
Ch. 36  40 by Feb. 8
Ch. 41  43 by Feb. 15

Discussion
I will post some questions to get the discussion going. Please feel free to jump in with ideas related to this question or with other things you thought about as you read.

If you read ahead of the schedule, please change your font color to white so that the story isnt spoiled for others! Those who would like to read your response can highlight to see your text.

Participants
UConnFan
disneydreamgirl
fisherjenn
WorldWacky
evildiva
PinkBudgie
1Grumpy9
*NikkiBell*
pit303
limace
lttlmc3
hmonkeyruns
Stacy's a freak
nmoore14
quigs3
beachwarmer
StitchesGr8Fan
msande
tinkerbellandeeyor
mousefan5
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Last edited by UConnFan; 12-08-2012 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:46 AM   #2
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Looks great! Thanks for all of your hard work getting this set up!
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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Thanks! I can't wait to dig in.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:59 PM   #4
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Thanks for getting this started. Have my copy loaded on my iPad and a couple of days of vacation to read.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:04 PM   #5
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Has anyone started reading? It's good so far. I'll be posting our first discussion questions soon :-)
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UConnFan View Post
Has anyone started reading? It's good so far. I'll be posting our first discussion questions soon :-)
I"ve actually already read this book twice, so I'm looking forward to discussing.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:15 PM   #7
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I have mine also will get started this weekend I am off Monday so maybe I can get some reading done.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:39 PM   #8
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Sounds like fun. I will purchase my book this weekend.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:11 AM   #9
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I've read through chapter 5. Not my normal genre but good so far.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:59 PM   #10
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Hi everyone My name is Cheryl and I have lurked in the book club thread for a long time and I think I am finally going to throw my hat into the ring. I am going to purchase it for my iPad and will start reading it soon. Cannot wait to discuss it.
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:35 PM   #11
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This is the first book of the trilogy. I've read this and the second book, which came out earlier this year. I'm not sure when the third book will be released, but I'm looking forward to it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:54 PM   #12
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Da-da-da-da!!! It's discussion time! Feel free to answer this question or share any other thoughts you had.

Diana has worked hard to make her academic work her own, without the influence of magic. Why do you think this is so important to her?
If you had magical powers would you use it to get ahead?
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UConnFan View Post
Da-da-da-da!!! It's discussion time! Feel free to answer this question or share any other thoughts you had.

Diana has worked hard to make her academic work her own, without the influence of magic. Why do you think this is so important to her?
If you had magical powers would you use it to get ahead?
I think part of it is due to her personal history (not sure if you got to that yet), and part of it is to prove she could get ahead on her own merits.

I'm lazy enough to say that I would probably use magic to make things easier for myself.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UConnFan View Post
Da-da-da-da!!! It's discussion time! Feel free to answer this question or share any other thoughts you had.

Diana has worked hard to make her academic work her own, without the influence of magic. Why do you think this is so important to her?
If you had magical powers would you use it to get ahead?
I think Diana wants to succeed on her own merits. Also, she's been taught not to show her magic to others, and since she lives in a non-magical world she needs to be extra careful. What she doesn't realize, is that her puzzling things out in her mind is still magic.

Personally I would probably try not to use magic as well, but would most likely fall into the same trap of using it and not realizing it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UConnFan View Post
Da-da-da-da!!! It's discussion time! Feel free to answer this question or share any other thoughts you had.

Diana has worked hard to make her academic work her own, without the influence of magic. Why do you think this is so important to her?
If you had magical powers would you use it to get ahead?
I think she doesn't want magic to define her the way it does her relatives and other witches. The loss of her parents that resulted from their studies of magic had a huge impact on her. I also think she fears that she does not have control of her abilities yet.

Yes I would use magic. If the option was available to me I just know there are times when I would say "why not". Example, I hate driving in snow so I use magic to make the car not slide.

As the characters build I am enjoying the story more. It was a great choice.

Michaelle
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