An aphorism (n.) is a pithy observation which contains a general truth. 'All my teachers have been women. Though several men have taken me aside for an hour to tell me things they know'. The "Book of Shadows" contains several hundred reflections and aphorisms on love, God, art, sex, death, work, and the spirit, imagination and conduct of the human animal. Writing with the same mixture of high seriousness, dark humour and lyric precision that define his poetry, Don Paterson has made a book to carry everywhere and open anywhere - to brighten or darken the moment, but always to administer a jolt to the idling mind. 'Falling and flying are near-identical sensations, in all but one final detail. We should remember this when we see those men and women seemingly in love with their own decline'.