James's Reviews > The Witches: Salem, 1692

The Witches by Stacy Schiff
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did not like it
bookshelves: 1-non-fiction, 5-least-favorite-books, 2-nfic-informational

1 star to Stacy Schiff's The Witches: Salem, 1692. It is rare that I cannot finish a book especially when it's on a topic that I find fascinating, but after multiple attempts, I can't leave this sit on my night-table any longer. It mocks me because it has won...

The Salem Witch Trials are such an historic part of our country, and I've read numerous articles or viewed multiple TV shows or movies depicting this time period; however, this book fell short in capturing my attention. I'm sure for the right person it will have a higher ranking but I have to place it back on my shelf as a book to donate rather than truly finish.

A mix between reality and fantasy, it is too incongruous to stay focused. You go several pages focusing on a narrative describing the facts and then you are dropped into an imagination of what someone thinks a witch is doing. You're given so many facts to interpret followed by creative character descriptions that you have to keep readjusting your perspective to stay on track.

I think this book needs to be handled differently for me to enjoy it. It's a few books in one; perhaps it would have done better as 3 short stories in a single novel so that you have a creative story using the facts applied to a family for depicting what happened while separately you have a true account of what's known - the good and the bad and then a third one dedicated to all the things people didn't know about this time period in America.

I have heard good things about the author and will peruse something else she's written in the book store before committing to buying it. Good luck to anyone else who takes this book on -- just wasn't for me.



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For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.
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Reading Progress

January 2, 2016 – Shelved
January 2, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 16, 2016 – Started Reading
January 16, 2016 –
page 10
2.01%
January 18, 2016 –
page 50
10.04%
March 17, 2016 –
page 76
15.26%
September 5, 2016 – Shelved as: 1-non-fiction
September 19, 2016 – Shelved as: 5-least-favorite-books
September 19, 2016 – Finished Reading
March 11, 2017 – Shelved as: 2-nfic-informational

Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)

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James After about 100 pages, it sat on my night table for 6 months. I want to give it a chance again but it is not an easy read. It reads more like an encyclopedia to me. If the topic really interests you, maybe give it a try. But it's not light nor does it draw you in.


James I'm still surprised how popular it is, and how often I see it front and center on bookshelves in small little stores.


Amalia Gavea You are absolutely right, James. I struggled to finish this one, and in retrospect, I think that I gave it quite a generous rating.


James Amalia wrote: "You are absolutely right, James. I struggled to finish this one, and in retrospect, I think that I gave it quite a generous rating."
But I wanted to like it... at least I'm not the only one. Will check yours out.


Amalia Gavea James wrote: "Amalia wrote: "You are absolutely right, James. I struggled to finish this one, and in retrospect, I think that I gave it quite a generous rating."
But I wanted to like it... at least I'm not the ..."


I agree, I wanted to love it too. I didn't even write a review about it...


message 6: by Holly (new)

Holly  B I hate when that happens....but lets face it one stars do happen


James Holly wrote: "I hate when that happens....but lets face it one stars do happen"

Yes..... I'm hoping someone who loved it can help me figure out what I missed. :P


message 8: by Teresa (new)

Teresa It's a bummer when you can't finish a book. I hate it!!


message 9: by Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!! (last edited Apr 09, 2017 01:32PM) (new)

Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!! I also find this topic fascinating as well. When I first seen this book pop up on my feed I added it but then I have seen quite a few not so favorable reviews for it so I decided against reading it. Thank you so much for an honest and awesome review, James! :-)


message 10: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James Teresa wrote: "It's a bummer when you can't finish a book. I hate it!!" Totally agree.


message 11: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James Norma wrote: "I also find this topic fascinating as well. When I first seen this book pop up on my feed I added it but then I have seen quite a few not so favorable reviews for it so I decided against reading it..."

I'm glad it helped you decide. I hate slamming an author and always try to find something redeemable in a book. The writing was good in this one, just came across too boring.

Any other books on the topic you've come across that you'd recommend?


Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!! James wrote: "Norma wrote: "I also find this topic fascinating as well. When I first seen this book pop up on my feed I added it but then I have seen quite a few not so favorable reviews for it so I decided agai..."

Offhand I really can't remember but I will think on it! :-)


Kris - My Novelesque Life I had a hard time reading her book on Cleopatra...so maybe I will just pass on this one! Great review, James


message 14: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson Thanks for that honest review, James. I will be passing although I rather liked "Cleopatra".


message 15: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James @ Jill and Kris: Cleopatra was the one I considered giving a chance... Thank you for replying and the heads up.


message 16: by Shaina (new) - added it

Shaina I'm going to try to read it and if I find anything I will post it. Historian, this is part of my thesis .. the subject .. and as an anthropologist I just gotta know.


message 17: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James Shaina wrote: "I'm going to try to read it and if I find anything I will post it. Historian, this is part of my thesis .. the subject .. and as an anthropologist I just gotta know."

I definitely look forward to seeing your thoughts on this one. What area are you focusing on for your thesis?


message 18: by Jessaka (new)

Jessaka I read other reviews where people didn't like this book. When I took history in college I went to Tolman Hall at U.C. Berkeley and read their copy of the witch trials. Now that was fascinating, and then I did a term paper on it. I am not certain that I would like this book either.


message 19: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James Reading the original might be fun. How cool. I'd skip it unless you like the mix of storytelling and nonfiction in one.


message 20: by Jessaka (new)

Jessaka Maybe someday it will be offered for $1.99. ha


message 21: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James There ya go!


message 22: by Danielle (new)

Danielle N I almost picked this up last night and something told me to hold off. It sounds like it might be a struggle, but now I am truly curious to see how well it sits with me.


message 23: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James You'll know in the first 50 pages. That was the part I struggled the most with! Too funny.


message 24: by Jessaka (new)

Jessaka Some people rave about books, and I get them and don't care for them. Others hate books that I love. Yet, who want to spend money on a book unless you are really sure. Often you can read the first several pages on Amazon, either on line or on your kindle. I often buy books and wish I had done this first.


message 25: by Jessaka (new)

Jessaka i just looked and there is no way of viewing the first several pages of this book. did amazon take that ability away from us?


message 26: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James I haven't looked in a bit. Maybe?


message 27: by david (new)

david thanks for the warning, James


message 28: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James No problem. I feel bad. I always try to find something positive in a book. This one was just odd.


message 29: by Jessaka (new)

Jessaka Jessaka wrote: "i just looked and there is no way of viewing the first several pages of this book. did amazon take that ability away

from us?"


Some books you can still read samples of, but this one you can't.


message 30: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James Jessaka wrote: "Jessaka wrote: "i just looked and there is no way of viewing the first several pages of this book. did amazon take that ability away

from us?"

Some books you can still read samples of, but this ..."


I wonder if the author, publisher or Amazon decide. Thx.


message 31: by Jessaka (new)

Jessaka I may be that the author does decide. This book doesn't have many 5 star on amazon, and when it comes to stars there are more 1 star than 5 star, and then abut an equal amount inbetween.


message 32: by Dave (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dave It's a tough read, but come on, sometimes you need to just power thru stuff.


message 33: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James This is one where I don’t blame the author. I blame the editing team for the overall construction. I have rarely given out a 1 or 2 and only ever stopped reading 3 or 4 books out of close to a 1000. This just couldn’t work for me unfortunately. A rarity.


message 34: by Matt (new) - rated it 2 stars

Matt I read it all the way through and I still thought it was just okay. There are better books out there with far more original insight than Schiff manages to offer here.


message 35: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James Thanks for mentioning. I love reading about this time and look for new books all the time.


message 36: by Connie (new) - added it

Connie Yes, thanks for the warning. This one has been on my to read shelf for months.


message 37: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James You’re welcome. You might be able to read for free the first chapter on amazon. Then you’ll know for sure in case it’s just me!


~Bellegirl91~ Funny thing: not that I was interested at first, I remember when I cleaned out my TBR list on here, I took this off. BUT last month I believe? I had someone lend me this book and thought "dang. I better read it now" hahaha. Oh well. But I decided to just buy the audiobook on iBooks so I can get through it and so far I'm 96 pages in but I have a VERY challenging 2000 piece puzzle I'm doing in my room to keep me busy while I listen to this. But it's okay so far. I can see why you quit. But since I have this as a loan... Haha I'm going to have to be nice and finish it 😁😁


message 39: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James Good luck Bellegirl. I just saw this! How did it turn out?


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