This time I am catching up with some older items I have saved on my feed reader. As often is the case when I compile these lists, there is a little bit of everything. I still hold on to the hope that I will read some of these down the road, but for the moment, I want to remember by adding them to my list of books I want to read.
Items about books:
- Via Bending the Bookshelf:
- a review of Medusa: a Love Story by Sasha Summers. This book intrigued me due to the premise. As the reviewer writes, “to think of Medusa as not just a sympathetic character, but a genuine love interest, is daring to the point of genius. . . . ” It is still retelling the myth, but it seems done in a new and different way, so I figure it must be worth a look.
- review of Alice in Fetishland (Amazon link on this one) that brings together urban fantasy and retelling of the classic with fetish, BDSM, and a few other things. In a guest post on the blog, the author discusses the novel a bit more.
- a while back, the folks at Bending the Bookshelf were waiting for Anything for You: Erotica for Kinky Couples edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. The book is out by now. I have read and reviewed another work by Ms. Kramer Bussel, so I am willing to take a chance on this one. When it comes to good erotica, she is a very good editor with a good eye for finding the good stuff.
- this just sounded totally out there. Ok, that is the only reason it is getting on this list. That, and the title. The review is for Mother’s Shemale Truck Stop Whore. The reviewer writes, “Okay, let’s be honest here – when you are dealing with a book called Mother’s Shemale Truck Stop Whore, [link to Amazon record] you really ought to expect at least a few taboos to be bent (if not broken) and a few lines to be skirted (if not crossed).” On the one hand, I want to giggle, but on the other hand I am just curious enough to consider it.
- A Case for Suitable Treatment reviews the third omnibus volume of Alice in the Country of Hearts (link to WorldCat record for this omnibus). I need to catch up on this tale, and now that they are putting it in omnibus editions may be a good time to do so.
- Via Liquor Snob, a short review of The Brewmaster’s Table, which they describe as “a treasure trove of information on beer styles, brands, and ways to pair brew with food.” Though the book came out in 2005, according to the reviewers, it still holds up pretty well.
- Bookgasm reviews the anthology The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 4 edited by Ellen Datlow. I have to admit that, as of this writing, I have not read much horror lately. I’ve read some other anthologies edited by Datlow, so I am willing to give this a shot.
- Via Guys Lit Wire:
- review a graphic novel of a mystery. The title of the book is Judge Bao and the Jade Phoenix.
- review of the new Ultimate Spider Man series featuring Miles Morales (link to volume 1 and to volume 2). I am not a big Spider Man fan, but I remember when the comics of this first came out and all the fuss over the new guy being Latino and black (for some people, especially some comics geeks, as if it was the end of the world). I am curious enough to want to give this a chance, so I will be looking for it. Nice to see compilations are coming out.
- two books by Sergio Aragones, who many people know from his work in Mad Magazine. The books are Louder than Words and Actions Speak.
- From Library Juice Press, announcement of the book Make Your Own History: Document Feminist and Queer Activism in the 21st Century. It seems to be geared mostly to archivists and such, but I think, from the table of contents, there may be a thing or two that an instruction librarian like me who has a bit of an activist streak may find of interest.
- Via Drinkhacker, a review of Vintage Cocktails: Retro Recipes for the Home Mixologist. I would not call myself a mixologist, but I do enjoy experimenting with a cocktail recipe here or there. I also enjoy looking through vintage cocktail recipe books when I can. Since I can’t always get my hands on old recipe books, this may be the next best thing for me.
Book lists and bibliographies:
- Bookgasm has a Euro Comics round up with some items I may be interested in.
- Lambda Literary highlighted some items last July. Of the list, I am very interested in No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics published by Fantagraphics, but there are some other titles I would consider from the list too.
As always, if you find something interesting from this or another post in this series of mine, feel free to comment and let me know.
Welcome to another edition of this semi-regular feature where I make a list of books I would like to read at some point. I come across books I want to read in various places, and I use these posts to make a note of them for future reference. Maybe you will find a reading idea or two as well here. As always, book links go to WorldCat to help you find it in a local library (unless otherwise noted); I figure you can find a place to purchase the books if need be.
Items about books:
- If you are a parent, you might appreciate this. If you are not, this may tell you a thing or two you need to know before you consider parenting (if you were to consider it, that is). Via Boing Boing, a review of A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting.
- In recent news, China was trying to buy Smithfield Foods. The New York Times has a piece in their Sunday Review on China’s rising economic power that I found interesting. I also found interesting the authors of the piece have a book out, and I might want to read it. The book is China’s Silent Army: the Pioneers, Traders, Fixers and Workers Who Are Remaking the World in Beijing’s Image.
- Librarian Avengers blog recommends the book Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City, a memoir by a former resident of Flint, Michigan. As the blogger writes, sometimes you have to leave the home you came from in order to “make some peace with the goddamned place.” I can certainly relate to that sentiment.
- Like Sean Gaffney, dystopian lit is not really my cup of tea. I may read a work in the genre here and there, and that is about it. In his blog, A Case for Suitable Treatment, he finds an item in the genre that may be worth looking at, if nothing else, for the characters. The book is the manga No.6.
- Via Guys Lit Wire, a review of the new Joe Hill book NOS4A2. It sounds intriguing, but I wonder if I really need to read Hill’s previous novels to really appreciate it or not.
- Here are three review items from City Book Review. First, we have a cookbook. But it is not just any cookbook. You stuck inside, maybe in your bunker, after some disaster and are stuck with just your rations and hoarded food? Fear not. You are not stuck just eating out of the can. Now you can make good food out of the hoarded food with The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. Now, I made a little light out of it, but it actually sounds like an interesting book. And speaking of disasters, how about that plutonium? As in the stuff you use to make atomic bombs? Well, during the Cold War, the material was pretty popular in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., and someone had to get it out of the ground as well as process it, so on. Those folks lived in what were basically “company towns” and the book Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters tells their history. Finally for this round, they can be disastrous, tools, collector items, or sporting gear (depends on who you ask), but guns are a part of American culture. So, what happens when a guy decides to go talk and be with people who own guns and live the culture? You get this book: Gun Guys: A Road Trip. This actually does sound interesting, and being someone who knows little of the gun culture per se, I am curious to read it.
- Keeping with three books at a time, here are three reviews from BDSM Book Reviews. You guys do know I read some erotica, right? Anyhow, brief warning some of this is NSFW. That out of the way, here we go. First, a review of Violet Blue’s edited anthology Voracious: Erotica for Women. Next is a fan fiction anthology, which I will admit I am a bit skeptical about, but it is edited by Laura Antoniou, who is author of the Marketplace BDSM setting, so I am holding hope. The book is No Safewords: A Marketplace Fans Anthology (Amazon link). Finally, want a bit more Laura Antoniou? Well, her new mystery novel with a BDSM twist is out. Here she is talking about it and her work. The book is The Killer Wore Leather, and by the way, I already have it on my shelf to be read soon; I will post a review once I read it.
- Another one under erotica. This one is Best Lesbian Erotica 2013, published by Cleis Press (they do put out some pretty good anthologies overall. I tend to prefer their erotica over their erotic romance, but either works to read and share with the Better Half). There is a review of it at Erotica For All.
- Via Intoxicated Zodiac, a short review of the book Happy Hour at Home. It is a book about making cocktails and small plates of food, kind of a la tapas I guess. It does sound interesting to look at.
- Via Bookgasm, a review of Fervid Filmmaking: 66 Cult Pictures of Vision, Verve, and No Self-Restraint. According to the reviewer, the book deals with “those movies which author Mike Watt believes to contain everything but the kitchen sink, as if their creators threw in every element imaginable, just in case they never got another chance to direct again.”
Lists and bibliographies:
- This may be good for some people getting ready to watch the new Superman movie (or for after they watch the movie). Via BuzzFeed, a a list of “12 Superman Stories Everyone Absolutely Needs to Read.” I would not say everyone absolutely has to read every item on the list, but there are one or two good ones. One can also argue that there are items missing. For instance, Superman for All Seasons did not make this list, and it is an excellent work. From the list itself, I have read Superman: Secret Identity and Superman: Red Son. I am intrigued by Superman: Brainiac, which I recently placed on hold at my local public library. There may be one or two others I want to read but not as urgently.
- Also via BuzzFeed, a list of “60 Comics Everyone Should Read.” Again, it is one of those relatively subjective lists. There are some good things, and there are some not so good things, but the good things can give a reader just getting into comics and graphic novels a nice exposure. There are a few in here that I have read. One interesting thing they do on this list is give you a suggestion of what to read next if you liked a particular title.
- Book Riot offers a small list of “5 Books on the Business of Books.” That kind of book for a librarian who is also a bibliophile like catnip to a cat.
- Joshua Kim at Inside Higher Ed offers his “Summer Nonfiction Recommendations.” There are one or two titles on this list that spark my interest.
Here is the question of whether I give books as gifts or not. This is in reply to this prompt on “Gifts” from Booking Through Thursday I saw a while back. For the most part, I do not. The only people I give books as gifts are the Better Half and our daughter. For my spouse, I know her pretty well as a reader, plus I know her book collection fairly well, so I am fairly comfortable in choosing books for her. For our daughter, while I know her as a reader too, we find it is better to get her a bookstore gift card and let her choose. However, once in a while she will ask for a specific title or genre; for example, art and drawing books are big with her given she is an artist.
As for other folks, I do not give books as gifts. When it comes to family, the vast majority of them are non-readers. Some may read a newspaper or news online here or there, but that is about it. As for friends, the few I have outside librarianship (and the ones who are in librarianship are few too), it is the same thing: they are non-readers. I don’t buy many gifts as it is, but when I do, books or book-related gift cards are usually not an option. In the end, I have a lot of non-readers in my life. Part of me wonders if maybe I need to make new friends. On a serious note, that is why I do a lot of my sharing about books and reading via blogging and social media. There are plenty of readers out there.
This post comes from a prompt at Booking Through Thursday. The prompt is as follows:
“What book(s) do you find yourself going back to? Beloved children’s classics? Favorites from college? Something that touched you and just makes you long to visit?”
So, what books do I go back to?
I will start with One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I think I have been through the book four or five times at least, and I never lose my sense of wonder for it. Every other year or so, I just know that it is time to go back to Macondo. For me, this is one of the best books of all time, period. There are so many stories, so much imagery, magic, and history that you can’t catch it all by reading it just once. This is a novel that is truly immersive. By the way, I read this in original Spanish, but for our English language friends, there are good translations available.
Next, I will add Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. This is kind of comfort food for me. While I do like the films, especially the first one, as is often the case the book is better than the film. In addition, the film leaves out quite a few things from the novel. I don’t reread this as often, but when I get in the mood, I go spend some time with the Corleones and their family values.
Around Halloween, I return to Gotham City with the graphic novel Batman: The Long Halloween. The first time I read it was during the month of October. Though it can be read any time of the year, the ambiance and the story just seem like a good fit for October and Halloween. In this story, Batman has to deal with Holiday, a killer who commits murders during holidays, starting on Halloween.
A nonfiction book I return to is A Passion for Books. I very much enjoy reading books on books, reading, the book trade, and bibliophilia. This particular book is a collection of quotes, essays, vignettes, and other short pieces on books, reading, and collecting. When I want something for comfort, something light, on a topic I enjoy, I reach for this book. I have read it cover to cover, but now I usually browse and pick out favorite pieces to reread here and there.
There are a few others that I have read that I would like to reread. However, life and new books usually keep me from those other books I would like to read again. Maybe if I do get to them, I could share them in a future post. Overall, the books I’ve listed now are the ones I always return to at some point.
Welcome once again to this semi-regular feature here on Alchemical Thoughts. This time, I got a good number of reviews from City Book Reviews. They don’t always have stuff I am interested in, but when they do, it’s like hitting a jackpot for me as a reader. As always, comments are open, so if you read anything mentioned here, feel free to comment and let me know. Also, reading suggestions are always welcome.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (link to first omnibus) is one of those series I keep meaning to read. Apparently, new omnibus editions are coming out, and this may be the excuse I need to start. A Case for Suitable Treatment recently reviewed the omnibus with volumes 7-9.
- George Mann has edited yet another collection of Sherlock Holmes tales (i.e. written by people not Conan Doyle). Knowing me, I will probably go looking for it; I like Holmes too much not to take a chance at least. The book is Encounters of Sherlock Holmes: Brand-new Tales of the Great Detective. It was reviewed here at City Book Review.
- It’s Neil Gaiman. That is usually good enough reason for me to take a look. However, these are stories selected by him, but I think I would still take a chance. The book is Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman. It was also reviewed at City Book Review.
- Another one reviewed at City Book Review. This is on a serious topic, food security and hunger in the U.S. The book is a companion to the documentary of the same title. Sadly I had to say that there was a screening of the documentary here in town, but I missed it because I was out of town at the time, so hoping to read the book (and maybe order the documentary and book for our library later). The book is A Place at the Table by Peter Pringle.
- Via Lambda Literary, interview with Luis Negron, author of the short story anthology Mundo Cruel. They write that “Luis Negrón’s striking debut short story collection, Mundo Cruel (Seven Stories Press [this link to their review of the book]), mines the emotional lives of ‘a small community in Puerto Rico joined together by its transgressive sexuality.’”
- Via City Book Review, this sounds like a book more people in the U.S. need to read now. Contrary to the milquetoast review of “some people believe this, others that,” let’s face facts. The U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation no matter how much the Right Wingers and fundamentalists wish it to be so. This book addresses that. The book is In Freedom We Trust: An Atheist’s Guide to Religious Liberty.
- I used to be pretty good at drawing in my younger days. I have not done it in a while. Maybe this book will help me try it out again. Reviewed at City Book Review, the book is Just Draw It! The Dynamic Drawing Course for Anyone with a Pencil & Paper.
- This time I am getting a good number of book reviews from City Book Review. Here are two comic book compilations of classics. First, a review of Tarzan Archives: The Russ Manning Years, Vol. 1 (Link to publisher. For some reason, I could not find it in WorldCat. Wait, I did find it, but apparently a few librarians gave it a whole different title in cataloging it. Accurate? Probably. Searchable? Not so much. Anyhow, link to WorldCat now). Next, a review of Flash Gordon: The Tyrant of Mongo: The Complete Flash Gordon Library 1937-1941.
- Via Blogging for a Good Book, they review Mark Kurlansky’s The Food of a Younger Land. This book seems awfully similar to America Eats!, which I read. So I may or not pick it up and compare.
- This book has trivia, something I like. Also, it may remind us of those things our parents or other elders told us when we were young. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and see how much truth our parents imparted or not in Because I Said So! the Truth Behind the Myths, Tales and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids. Reviewed at City Book Review here.
Lists and bibliographies:
- The 2013 Independent Book Awards have been announced. They have a lot of categories, and this year they totaled 382 medals. Worth a look. Odds are good you can find something to read from this big list.
- Want some science fiction and fantasy? The 2012 Nebulas have been announced. The announcement includes winners and nominees.
- Via the blog Papeles Perdidos, a list of “Once novelas para descubrir el corazón del mundo” (11 novels to discover the heart of the world). Article is in Spanish. A few of the titles are basically translations of international works into Spanish, which may be useful for Spanish readers.
- Not quite sure what to make of this news item, but since I am curious reader, who knows. I may seek some of this out down the road. BetaBeat (being a bit alarmist if you ask me) reports on Luna Loupe, an author on Amazon who writes erotica a bit off the beaten path. Basically mermaids, tentacles, etc. I don’t think it is that big a deal, but then again, being a bit alarmist does get the eyeballs to a website I suppose. Anyhow, the story does include links if interested. Here is her Amazon page.
- A few authors and scholars come together to give their lists of “5 Arabic Books to Read Before You Die.” Via Arabic Literature (in English).
- Bobbie Newman, at Librarian By Day, has a list of “Recommended Reading for New and Not-So-New Librarians.” From the list, I do recommend Sutton’s Book, The No Asshole Rule (link to my review) though maybe not for the reasons she suggests. That is a book every library manager does need to read, but also every librarian so they know when to leave Dodge City.
These few additional thoughts on being a reader were prompted by a blog post at Booking Through Thursday on the topic of “Being a reader.” I have to say that I cannot imagine not being a reader. Since the days when my mother placed my first books in my hands, I’ve been reading. I cannot imagine any life without reading, nor can I imagine a house without books (even if they can be a pain to move).
The curious thing, if you can call it that, is that not many people in my life read, and that does include librarians in and out of my workplace. Contrary to popular belief, not all librarians read, or, I should say, they do not read more than the absolute minimum required by their jobs–memos, an article now and then, a paper on occasion. I’ve written on that before, as I think it diminishes our profession when librarians admit, some with pride, that they do not read. But that’s them. I read because I enjoy it. I read because I am curious, inquisitive, and I enjoy learning. I often get many solutions to problems from reading books. In addition, I get pleasure and entertainment from reading. So I make it a point to always have a book or two nearby.
As for my relationship with others, it depends on who it is. For the most part, my family, with one or two exceptions, are not readers. They know that I read a lot, and some may acknowledge I am a bit more knowledgeable about a few things because of my reading, but we really don’t talk about my reading or about books. I can talk books with a friend or two and with a librarian or two now and then. However, I will admit that most of my book talking and discussion happens online via my blogs or my social sites online. There are a lot of people online who read books and enjoy sharing their reading experiences. I enjoy meeting them, even if many have different reading tastes than me. It’s interesting to me learning what others like to read. Granted, sometimes I do wonder about some reading choices people make, but as a librarian, I try to abide by the old laws of every book its reader and every reader its book. Besides, who knows what they think about some of the things I read.
Via The Daily Beast, we get a question on why people buy cookbooks. In an age when you can access all sorts of recipes online, and you can do so with an iPad or some other tablet computer, why buy a cookbook in print? Naturally, that question goes back to why buy any print books at all, but let us focus on cookbooks at the moment.
The author of the article provides some explanations such as cookbooks being objects of art and for some people the cookbooks are status symbols. But she goes on to make the argument that culture of cooking from cookbooks and recipes is moving online. To her, very often, cookbooks are given as gifts. Let me then look at why we buy cookbooks.
At home, The Better Half is a cookbook collector. We don’t really buy big, sumptuous, oversized cookbooks. We do buy a variety of cookbooks from practical ones to a few on various ethnic cuisines. I will add that I do collect, in a small capacity, some cocktail recipe books. Anyhow, part of the reason we get them is aspirational: we hope to make some recipes from the books. The Better Half and I do make some recipes out of them though probably not as many as we could in order to get the full potential. She particularly enjoys buying small and local cookbooks, the ones put together by local groups, churches, or community organizations. You probably won’t see those on Amazon or the bookstores, but they are part of her collection. Cookbooks are one of the areas she enjoys collecting and reading. Plus it makes me happy to make her happy when I can add another one to her collection. And while we do go online, we cook out of books when making a recipe. Having a laptop in the kitchen is not really an option for us, and we are not into tablets at this point in time. So, at least in our household, we still buy cookbooks.
Besides, cookbooks do not require power, a battery, an Internet connection, and unlike e-books, we actually own then and can do with them as we wish.