Book Review of Diary of a Witchcraft Shop 2

by JoHarrington

Running a shop full of witchcraft supplies can have its dramas. They really are the sort you don't find anywhere else. Trevor and Liz are back to tell us all about it.

Unlike the last time, I didn't read this book in the actual shop in which it was set. That's because the Cat and Cauldron was closed. I waited forlornly on the pavement, looking every now and again at the 15th century pub over the road. That worked.

Trevor Jones emerged, "I've got a pint in there!"

"Your shop is shut and I want to buy your book." Stare off. Large sigh. Trevor opened his shop.

Within minutes I'd emerged again clutching a hard-back edition of the second installment of 'Diary of a Witchcraft Shop'. It was signed by the authors. I relocated to the George and Pilgrim pub, where Liz Williams was waiting, to begin reading it.

Trevor didn't return. His open shop door attracted the hordes. It took him nearly an hour to get away. How he must love having me around.

Declaring a Bit of a Bias

I know the authors. A conversation involving me is recalled in the book. I read most of it in Trevor and Liz's back yard.

Image: Glastonbury GangEach year, a gang of us descend upon Trevor and Liz's home. We're all destined for the Glastonbury Festival, and they live conveniently down the road.

On the eve of the festival, we throw up our tents in their orchard, ready for a strategic start when the gates open. When it's all over, we return for showers and a nice sit down.

It's in these circumstances that I picked up Diary of a Witchcraft Shop 2. You can read about it on page 31 of the book, where Katy (B) and I (A) discuss the toilets.

This year I perched on a wooden chair at the edge of Trevor and Liz's orchard, in order to read their book. Occasionally, one of my peers would wander by in order to take their turn in the bathroom, or to switch on the kettle.

"We can hear you laughing on the other side of the orchard." McKenna blithely informed me.

"Read this!  Read this!"  I thrust the book under her nose. There's a short pause while the American woman gets up to speed. Then laughter that you could probably have heard in Wells. "See my point?!"

"Yes."  And a grin like a chipmunk carried her into the house.

So there's the thing. While I have to declare the bias of knowing these people (and drinking their tea, demolishing their mead, abusing their hospitality at every turn), I still feel quite justified in recommending their witchcraft shop diaries to all.

In fact, McKenna's friend and traveling companion Ember returned to the shop the very next day to get a copy of the first installment!

Diary of a Witchcraft Shop II by Liz Williams and Trevor Jones

Image: A and B react to being quoted
Image: A and B react to being quoted

All the Madness of Glastonbury

The second installment of Diary of a Witchcraft Shop 2 brings us nearly up to date. It covers the period 2008-2012, in the usual monthly segments.

The Queen of the Fairies has gone, but she's been replaced by several more (this is Glastonbury), and a Haitian deity is peering through the window. 

In the shops, Trevor and Liz have been joined by the Voodoo Boys, Jamie and Jack, while Lily the Rottweiler is working on her artistic career. Usual stuff.

You don't have to know these people (or these animals, or these entities) in order to enjoy the anecdotes on offer. By the time you finish the book, you'll feel like you know them anyway, as they are very vividly brought to life. Or conjured into being.

Magic and insanity exist in Glastonbury in equal measures, often as pretty much the same thing. The authors react to all with an open-minded practicality, which is the only sane way to meet incidents such as they encounter.

Unless you're Jamie - one of the Voodoo boys - who seasons his reactions with quips and hilarious one-liners, some of which are dutifully recounted in these pages.

If you're not wide-eyed with wonder that such-and-such a thing actually happened, then you're crying with laughter over it. The sort of laughter that can be heard across acres.

Diary of a Witchcraft Shop 2 in Paperback

Diary of a Witchcraft Shop 2

A second opportunity to share in the joys, challenges and downright oddness inherent in running an eclectic business in the fable-rich village of Glastonbury. Aided and abetted...

View on Amazon

The Serious Business of Running a Shop in Glastonbury

Beneath all the eccentricities and charm of a magically inclined Somerset town, there's a recession to beat and a home under siege.

Image: SekhmetWe all read these diaries to watch the eccentric and bizarre trotted out for our amusement. But sometimes those concerns trip past the point of harmless fun, into real danger.

My smile certainly froze on my face, when I read of the local lunatic who arrived wielding weaponry at Trevor and Liz's front door.  There was a downright frown at the antics of the paranoid individual, who seemed convinced that they were cursed by all and sundry.

It was a stark reminder that the very difference, which makes Glastonbury so special, can also lead to people spinning out beyond the pale.

So too do we meet those blinkered individuals, who believe that Glastonbury is somehow magically shielded from the rest of the country. While Britain struggles beneath its prolonged recession, there are those in the town who think that it doesn't apply on certain areas of the Somerset plains. As if the Tor will save them, when the ruin on the top is itself testimony to Glastonbury's place in politics and the wider scheme of things.

To complete the spectrum of human experience and emotion, we also travel with Trevor and Liz to the funerals of family members. The sadness underscores the hilarity elsewhere.

Do I recommend this book?  Absolutely yes.  In fact, I'm now hanging on for the third one!

Catch up with the First Installment of Diary of a Witchcraft Shop

Can you imagine working in somewhere like Diagon Alley? The shopkeepers of Glastonbury don't need to, they do it every day!
Updated: 07/26/2014, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 08/14/2013

Isn't it just?! Can you see now why I was laughing so much that day in the orchard? :)

Kenna on 08/14/2013

Hey, great book. Just started reading it and it is hilarious!

JoHarrington on 08/13/2013

Come to the next Glastonbury Festival with me and you could do that very same thing. ;)

Jenny on 08/13/2013

Only you could end up reading a book in the house of the person who wrote it!

JoHarrington on 08/12/2013

Yes! I always have a laugh with Katy. We had a longer conversation too, but it made the picture too small to read.

Paul on 08/12/2013

I love @TidBox's response to being mentioned!

JoHarrington on 07/17/2013

I missed all of that, but probably because I'm a Pagan myself so it wasn't news. It's interesting how these books are read by someone for whom even the context is brand new. I'm glad that it all comes across well!

As a practicing Pagan, I suppose that my biggest difference would be that I'd discern much earlier where behaviour was way out of whack. Whereas you'd have to work out if something is standard Paganism.

I do recommend getting the second diary too. You heard how I was laughing over it! It's going to be interesting to see where they go now. They're already up to 2012, so the next diary will surely be just one year's worth. Mind you, you could fill a book with a WEEK in that place!

Ember on 07/17/2013

I didn't get a copy of this one though, I got the first one. I'd read your review of it, however long ago that was, it seems like a while, and then I'd been inspired after my brief experiences in the town and really wanted to see what was in the book. If one brief afternoon in a pub in Glastonbury could entertain me as much as it did, I could only imagine how and why the book would be as funny as you'd said it was. At that point, I was pretty curious to see what owning a witchcraft shop in the area was like. I was surprised to find the book really took me into their lives, more than I thought it would. But then, you know, it is a diary. Parts really were as amusing as your review had said it would be, as well as a lot of other things.

I mentioned it to you the other day, but I actually learned a lot about Druid and other pagan traditions and about the religions themselves (and a lot of history related to the religions) throughout the entire book. I mean, it is a diary about owning a witchcraft shop, so there's no surprise that it was inundated with pagan...everything. I really don't think there was a page where I didn't learn something new, about pagan religions specifically. And then there are bits in there that I feel really challenged traditional thinking, which maybe didn't impact you, as you're already Wiccan, but which really stood out to me. I don't know if Trevor and Liz included it on purpose, or if those were just the messages that came across as they conveyed their opinions on life. Maybe it stood out to me, because that's what I was meant to gain.

I feel like bits of knowledge, such as on pagan religions, that I went in with helped me follow parts of the stories as well, and I wonder if I'd gone in with far more knowledge, like from your perspective, or even far less, if I'd have gotten a totally different series of stories. Because I really think I would have, which I think makes the book special, because I know I can probably go back and re-read it at some point in the future, to remember my time in Glastonbury, as well as just to enjoy the book, and I'm almost certain I'll get a different experience out of the book. (Part of me feels like I got way too much out of what might be just a simple book anyways, but I don't care.)

For all of those reasons, I enjoyed that book immensely, and have every intention of reading the second. :)

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