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What to read this Scorpio season

Posted by Sarah Bofenkamp on

The magic of Scorpio season is arcane: preserved but not explained. It is an alternate reality, a new sky full of constellations in new shapes – thistles and snakes and clasped hands – with a far off ruling planet named Pluto. It is a time for the cold and the clear and the creeping darkness that necessitates the bedside lamp. It is a spell to be cast, but not without guidance.  

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

An indisputable Scorpio, Margaret Atwood was a soothsayer before The Handmaid’s Tale and remains one still today. She can read palms and cards and pasts and futures, just as she can write them. Published in 1996 but inspired by the true story of an 1843 Canadian murder trial, Alias Grace is a charm for the season: a history with a dash of hypnotism, a mystery with a taste of femme fatale, a romance with a vengeance. 

Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li

Nothing says Scorpio like all-encompassing heartbreak, furious love, or communing with the departed. Written by Yiyun Li after losing a child herself, Where Reasons End is a book-length conversation between a mother and her dead son. An impossible novel born of impossible pain, it is a book written where language stops… and where the voice gives over to both grief and intimacy. 

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart is the story of centers that could not hold, told by one of the hands still clenching the pieces. Born in the Igbo town of Ogidi in 1930, Chinua Achebe collected fragments of a colonized culture – shards of memory and myth – and planted them in what would become the most widely read African novel in history. Ardent and rooted and seething, its season goes without saying. 

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

This book is an assertion; a commitment; a chorus sung from rural eastern New Mexico. This book is a blessing, an often-banned badge of Mexican-American survival and spirit, where people of color were “centered instead of stereotyped.” Like the scorpion encased in amber or like the orange mirage in the desert distance, it is divine. First published in 1972,  Bless Me, Ultima shimmers and stupefies still, 50 years since.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

When Sylvia Plath wrote, “I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow,” she cemented her name on the Scorpio shelf. Except she kept writing. She wrote until she became something other, something epitomical. Tortured, possessed and powerful, she wrote shadow into “ bureau drawers and closets and suitcases… shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles… shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.” She wrote it into The Bell Jar, and invited us all to see.

Sarah J. Bofenkamp is a reader, writer, and librarian living in Palouse, Washington.

More Famous Scorpio Authors

Michael Crichton - October 23, 1942
Denise Levertov - October 24, 1923
Pablo Picasso - October 25, 1881
Nathaniel Mackey - October 25, 1947
Zadie Smith - October 25, 1975
Dylan Thomas - October 27, 1914
Nawal el Saadawi - October 27, 1931
Sylvia Plath - October 27, 1932
Fran Lebowitz - October 27, 1950
Evelyn Waugh - October 28, 1903
Ezra Pound - October 30, 1885
John Keats - October 31, 1795
Andre Malraux - November 3, 1901
Yiyun Li - November 4, 1972
John Berger - November 5, 1926
Sam Shepard - November 5, 1943
Colson Whitehead - November 6, 1969
Albert Camus - November 7, 1913
Bram Stoker - November 8, 1847
Alice Notley - November 8, 1945
Kazuo Ishiguro - November 8, 1954
Ivan Turgenev - November 9, 1818
Anne Sexton - November 9, 1928
Carl Sagan - November 9, 1934
Oliver Goldsmith - November 10, 1728
Neil Gaiman - November 10, 1960
Carlos Fuentes - November 11, 1928
Mary Gaitskill - November 11, 1954
Fyodor Dostoevsky - November 11, 1821
Kurt Vonnegut - November 11, 1922
Roland Barthes - November 12, 1915
Lucia Berlin - November 12, 1936
Robert Louis Stevenson - November 13, 1850
Marianne Moore - November 15, 1887
J.G. Ballard - November 15, 1930
Jose Saramago - November 16, 1922
Chinua Achebe - November 16, 1930
Margaret Atwood - November 18, 1939
Alan Dean Foster - November 18, 1946
Joanne Kyger - November 19, 1934
Nadine Gordimer - November 20, 1923
Don DeLillo - November 20, 1936
Voltaire - November 21, 1694
Isaac Bashevis Singer - November 21, 1902

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