Circulating Now Celebrates 20 Years of Harry Potter!

Our fascination with magic knows no bounds. It grows and shapes our culture. We are muggles searching for the portal that can whisk us free of our mundane lives.

Circulating Now from NLM

By Erika Mills ~

J. K. Rowling published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the debut novel in the seven-book series that became a pop culture phenomenon, on June 26, 1997. Over the past two decades, the exploits of the boy wizard and his friends have spawned successful cinematic and theater adaptations, developed a devoted and enthusiastic global fandom, inspired admirers to create Harry Potter-themed art and media, instilled important moral lessons into a generation of young people now coming of age, and even added to the English lexicon! (See: “Muggle” in the Oxford English Dictionary.) The NLM History of Medicine Division celebrates the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter with special events onsite, as well as a five-post series in Circulating Now.

While the world reflects on 20 years of Harry Potter, we look back further in time—to the Renaissance—at the history that inspired some of the…

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Horned God?

via The Horned Helmet Of Henry VIII With Its Capricious Bearing



Henry at 29

Fascinating photographs and video about the helmet gifted to Henry VIII by Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I, in 1514 AD.



Just to put it into context, Henry was still young (only 23), still tied to Rome, still married to Catherine of Aragon, and still trying for sons and heirs.

Several horned gods thrive from pagan times. Most, like Cernunnos and Jupiter Ammon, are associated with fertility. It makes me wonder where and when Henry donned his helmet.

Thanks to Realm of History for this post and all the fascinating bits they unearth.


5 Queer Non-Fiction Books You Should Read

South Dublin Reads

As part of Pride Month, today we’re pointing out some new queer non-fiction that has caught our eye.

Oh, and today is Dublin Pride! A Happy Pride to one and all!

Queer City by Peter Ackroyd 
queer city.jpg
*** A Sunday Times Bestseller ***

In Queer City Peter Ackroyd looks at London in a whole new way – through the history and experiences of its gay population.

In Roman Londinium the city was dotted with lupanaria (‘wolf dens’ or public pleasure houses), fornices (brothels) and thermiae (hot baths). Then came the Emperor Constantine, with his bishops, monks and missionaries. And so began an endless loop of alternating permissiveness and censure.

Ackroyd takes us right into the hidden history of the city; from the notorious Normans to the frenzy of executions for sodomy in the early nineteenth century. He journeys through the coffee bars of sixties Soho to Gay Liberation, disco music and…

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Committing to the Mistake and Writing in the Age of That Guy

Some sage thoughts for another Monday morning…

The Green Study

canstockphoto15407070The hunger divide between writing meaningful stories and writing what I am capable of feels like a gaping maw now. A novel draft I wrote in 2012 seems limp and unedifying. Great novels come out of periods of strife and war and social upheaval. My little domestic drama on paper seems out of step.

I lay in bed last night rewriting my entire novel. It had power and endurance and spoke to the demographics and polarity in our nation – the great canyon between urban and rural, educated and uneducated. It could not be read without raising one’s fist and yelling, “Hell yeah!” It was deep, with a whiff of posterity and the flavor of critical acclaim.

Then I pulled up to my keyboard this morning. The Post-It on my monitor yelled at me: Tell the @#$! Story. I need that reminder these days when my ambition gets ahead of…

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Lycian & Mylinka: Becoming Heroes

UnknownMeet Lycian. Sad, gentle, purple-eyed Gailfen child. Orphan. Wolf clan.  A Wyrm, judged unfit to practice magic. A Mageling still unaware of his enormous power.

Meet Mylinka. Healer. Lavender-haired Visioncaster. Daughter of the Guardian. Once a princess; then a slave child, Mylinka is as stubborn as he is sweet; as fierce as he is fragile.

They meet in innocence, kiss, and are torn apart– thrust into a violent nightmare from which there seems no escape. And yet, the two remain entwined as if by an invisible thread. Is it love?

Lycian and Mylinka are children of a corrupt world, abused by men who lust for power and revel in pain. And so, this other world’s song, is not so distant from our own. As does all great fantasy, the author mirrors our misery in this dystopian world. Listen closely, and you can hear their cries beyond the humming of the spheres.

Things I Love About This Book


First and foremost, Sionnach Wintergreen’s writing. I find myself highlighting passages on my iPad so I can go back and reread them. Though the language appears seemingly effortless, I know what it takes to craft poetic prose.

The kiss on the beach is my favourite scene, but much too long to quote. And so: “She pulled off her remaining sandal, emptying the black sand from it. He watched, with a sense of tragedy, the black grains scatter in the wind.”

A brilliant crimson sun rose above his head, bathing the world in blood. Red sea, red rocks, red sky–everything from the beach in Malyndor, but altered, thin and weeping, drenched like a gauze bandage over a great wound, covering Malyndor like a cruel lie.

The Study of Magic:

Read and learn, all ye apprentices of the magical arts.

“If one can draw magic from another being, or an object like the Astralasphere, or from her surroundings, she can hold her own power in reserve. Mages drew magic from the Astralasphere, warmancers drew the innate magic of other beings–often by force, but magic can also be drawn from one’s surroundings. ‘Free’ energy is all around us–ambient magic. One only has to channel it.”

Fascinating creatures:

Gryphons, telepathic wolves, goblins, and my favourite, the beautiful xhanti who dances dressage.

The Kierighan coughed into one of his black-gloved hands. His xhanti champed its heavy bits. It moved sideways as if it were dancing. Mylinka thought she had never seen such a beautiful animal. The three horns on its otherwise clean wedge-shaped head were evenly spaced and in a neat row that followed its straight profile. Thick curly mane floated against a sleek and heavily muscled neck. Its pricked ears were perfectly shaped and tufted, and the silken fringe on its legs waved like black flags as it moved. Watching it filled her with an inexplicable joy. Riding it would be like being a feather on a breeze.

Tragedy Met with Hope

In what seems a doomed world, populated by monstrous men and women who crave only power, two children meet and form a bond, and from that meeting comes a moment of love, a moment of hope. Is this a message for our own time?

“Rhymer,” she vowed softly. “I’ll save us all.”

I read Book One and Book Two of the Astralasphere Series out of order, but it worked perfectly for me. I wanted to know the children who age and take their revenge. You can find my thoughts on Under the Shadow here. Now I wait for Book Three. And hope. And hope…that kiss will come again.

You can discover more about the characters and series firsthand by reading the author’s blog,