Monday, May 18, 2015

THE BOOK OF LIFE PB launch celebration & special giveaway!

Deborah Harkness's BOOK OF LIFE, 3rd in her bestselling trilogy, is coming out in PB May 26th . The Book Nook is fortunate to be a part of the celebration. Below you'll find out how to enter the special celebration giveaway. 

If you enjoy audio books you can listen to a portion of THE BOOK OF LIFE, SHADOW OF NIGHT, & A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. All read by Jennifer Ikeda.
For the curious, here's a bit of a Q&A with Deborah.....

In your day job, you are a professor of history and science at the University of Southern California and have focused on alchemy in your research. What aspects of this intersection between science and magic do you hope readers will pick up on while reading THE BOOK OF LIFE? There’s quite a bit more lab work in this book! 

There is. Welcome back to the present! What I hope readers come to appreciate is that science—past or present—is nothing more than a method for asking and answering questions about the world and our place in it. Once, some of those questions were answered alchemically. Today, they might be answered biochemically and genetically. In the future? Who knows. But Matthew is right in suggesting that there are really remarkably few scientific questions and we have been posing them for a very long time. Two of them are: who am I? why am I here?

From the moment Matthew and a pregnant Diana arrive back at Sept-Tours and reinstate themselves back into a sprawling family of witches and vampires, it becomes clear that the meaning of family will be an important idea for THE BOOK OF LIFE. How does this unify the whole series? Did you draw on your own life?  

Since time immemorial the family has been an important way for people to organize themselves in the world. In the past, the “traditional” family was a sprawling and blended unit that embraced immediate relatives, in-laws and their immediate families, servants, orphaned children, the children your partner might bring into a family from a previous relationship, and other dependents. Marriage was an equally flexible and elastic concept in many places and times. Given how old my vampires are, and the fact that witches are the keepers of tradition, I wanted to explore from the very first page of the series the truly traditional basis of family: unqualified love and mutual responsibility. That is certainly the meaning of family that my parents taught me. 

While there are entire genres devoted to stories of witches, vampires, and ghosts, the idea of a weaver – a witch who weaves original spells – feels very unique to THE BOOK OF LIFE. What resources helped you gain inspiration for Diana’s uniqueness? 

Believe it or not, my inspiration for weaving came from a branch of mathematics called topology. I became intrigued by mathematical theories of mutability to go along with my alchemical theories of mutability and change. Topology is a mathematical study of shapes and spaces that theorizes how far something can be stretched or twisted without breaking. You could say it’s a mathematical theory of connectivity and continuity (two familiar themes to any reader of the All Souls Trilogy). I wondered if I could come up with a theory of magic that could be comfortably contained within mathematics, one in which magic could be seen to shape and twist reality without breaking it. I used fabric as a metaphor for this worldview with threads and colors shaping human perceptions. Weavers became the witches who were talented at seeing and manipulating the underlying fabric. In topology, mathematicians study knots—unbreakable knots with their ends fused together that can be twisted and shaped. Soon the mathematics and mechanics of Diana’s magic came into focus. 

Some of the songs from Deborah's Spotify BOOK OF LIFE playlist are...
C'est la mort ~ The Civil Wars (my youngest son introduced me to this duo. Too bad they're no longer together)
Blood Sings ~ Suzanne Vega (80's music fans may remember her hit Luca).
What the Water Gave Me ~ Florence and the Machine (discovered this group when I worked in books at Hastings).
Dark Night of the Soul ~ Philip Wesley (new to me but quite a lovely piano solo).
Mumford and Son, Fleetwood Mac, and others I've never heard of the playlist has a haunting magical quality that pulls you in...

Thanks to Emma we have a pb print copy of THE BOOK OF LIFE and  a small BOOK OF LIFE mirror with ouroboros design to give away (sorry U.S. only).  To enter the giveaway please share with us your preference, scifi or fantasy, and why? Good luck y'all!! 
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Deborah Harkness is the NY Times bestselling author of the All Souls Trilogy (A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, SHADOW OF NIGHT, & THE BOOK OF LIFE). A history professor at the University of Southern California, she's received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. She's also published works on the history of science, magic, and alchemy.


  1. I prefer fantasy. While both have elements of the unexpected and alternate world possibilities, I like the whimsical elements that often are in the fantasy genre.

  2. I lean towards fantasy (although I enjoy either genre). Although the genres are very similar in world building, the fantasy genre tends to force me to stretch my imagination more.

  3. I am a big fan of both. I have always enjoyed the realistic qualities of scifi, the thought that it could happen and I love the mystical aspects of fantasy, it allows your imagination to fly.

  4. Perhaps Sci-Fi because there are usually some very cool gadgets and concepts, tho that can be true of fantasy too - so I have to choose both!
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  5. I like both as the really great stories always keep me guessing what will happen next. The possibilities are endless.

  6. Congrats, Angela. Please email me your info by 12am est 5-27-15. If it's not received another winner will be drawn. Thank you to everyone who entered. Look forward to seeing y'all often.

  7. Angela didn't respond so another winner has been drawn....L, please contact me by 12am est 6-3-15 or another winner will be drawn.