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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shelf Life: The Little Book of Curses and Maledictions for Everyday Use by Dawn Rae Downtown

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GENRE: Hocus pocus standards to improve your overall quality of life

THE PITCH: Along with a rundown of some of history's most famous curses this little book provides an alternative to waiting out life's natural disasters. Downton lays down all the vengeful recipes you might need to take control of your life. Whether you incessantly get calls from telemarketers or can't stand your monster mother-in-law, you'll find a suggested remedy here.

click to enlarge 419
  • Preparing to cast my first curse.

UM ... WHAT? According to Downton, two separate sorcery rituals caused Hitler to put off his invasion of England. One was arranged by the British security service, MI5, and performed by occultists in the woods of a supposed target for invasion.  The other took place across the pond in Greenwich Village where a knitting group of "witches" casually cast spells. Really Downton? Because this history major is pretty sure Hitler gave up on England because the Luftwaffe couldn't compete with Britain's kick-ass Royal Air Force.

ADDED BONUS: The curses have hilariously awesome names such as, "The Slinky" (reference to "The Slinky Song" which is sung to smite that dude who didn't give you the job); 'The Minverva" (to curse your hairdresser...obvi?); "The Superbowl Six-Pack" (gets rid of your lover's annoying friends); and my favorite, "The Amen Omen" (for disempowering corporations)

click to enlarge I give you the man who has stolen my pleasure. May the grass grow at his door and the fox nest on his hearthstone.
  • I give you the man who has stolen my pleasure. May the grass grow at his door and the fox nest on his hearthstone.

PLAYING WITH FIRE: Of late, my neighbors have been blaring the same terrible playlist on repeat through our paper-thin adjoining walls. No longer wanting to be subjected to the likes of Mika's "Big Girl (You are Beautiful)" a roommate and I decided to test out one of these bad boys. You can see photo documentation of our attempt at "The Vern" to the right. We subbed random notepaper for "first-quality stationary," and safety pins for "dressmakers' pins," but so far my nights have been free of obnoxious Brit pop.

click to enlarge The message rolled up and secured with pins.
  • The message rolled up and secured with pins.

SHELF WORTH: This book could add a little spook-factor to an otherwise candy-coated Halloween, but unless you're a believer or need to satisfy your inner Harry Potter it has no business being on your bookshelf.

The Little Book of Curses and Maledictions for Everyday Use by Dawn Rae Downton. Skyhorse Publishing. $12.95. 155 pp.

Sticking the message under their doormat until the Mika stops for good.
  • Sticking the message under their doormat until the Mika stops for good.

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