Alchemical Thoughts

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

These are the last books I reviewed before the end of 2015. This was a bit of a rush month for me as I was making sure I got some reviews in on time to meet some of my reading challenges for 2015. As always, comments are welcome. Let me know if you read any of these, what you think, so on. And new reading suggestions are always welcome.

 

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

I fell a little behind on this, so here they are. Feel free to check out the reviews. As I have said before, just because I reviewed them this month, it does not mean I read them in the same month. In terms of review writing, this was a pretty productive month for me. If you read any of these, or you have other comments, feel free to comment below.

The Hermit, from the Marseilles Tarot.

I chose to illustrate this post with The Hermit, which is a card I often identify with.

I received a nice deck of Marseilles Tarot cards as a holiday present from The Better Half. I will start by saying that I do collect card decks, mostly playing cards, and I collect them mainly for the art.  I have playing card decks with themes such as Star Wars, Hot Wheels, a replica deck of those “wanted” poster cards that soldiers got during the Iraq War, and a few others. I also collect other decks; in fact, this Marseilles deck is my second tarot deck. Anyhow, I was drawn a bit more to the world of Tarot after a presentation by a Tarot card reader, Charla, a spiritual advisor, at my local public library. I am intrigued by the possibility of using the cards and maybe learning about their lore as well as learning to read them mostly for my own meditation and reflection.

You can find a review of the book that came with the card deck over on my book blog, The Itinerant Librarian. This post is one of what I hope will be a few down the road where I write a bit about what I learn along the way. I read the book at least once so I could write the review, and I know I will be keeping it handy for consultation as I get to know the cards.

In the book, the author discusses a bit about choosing your deck in order to find one that you can enjoy and relate to. Though the Marseilles deck did not thrill me initially, as I think the art is a bit too basic, it has grown on me. I can see myself now using it on a daily, casual basis. There are other decks I have looked over that draw me in more in terms of their rich imagery. For instance, prior to getting the Marseilles deck as a gift, I had acquired a Luis Royo Dark Fantasy Tarot deck. Royo is one of my favorite fantasy artists, so at the time I acquired the deck as a collector’s item to add to my collection. Now that I am starting to study and learn about Tarot, I may bring the Royo deck into use once I get the hang of the basics with the Marseilles deck. I will likely use the Royo deck for special times. At any rate, the Royo deck is a favorite of mine, which I treasure, and I look forward to trying it out down the road.

A little later, I added a Ciro Marchetti Gilded Tarot deck to my collection. The colorful and rich art on this one definitely drew me in. It is not as dark as the Royo deck; it is a bit more bright in colors, and it has rich imagery. Once I finish studying the book and feel comfortable with the Marseilles deck, I will begin exploring the Gilded Tarot deck. On a side note, Marchetti is also the artist who did the deck I gave The Better Half as a holiday gift, the Legacy of the Divine Tarot, which I knew she was very drawn to.  It made me very happy to get it for her. The style is pretty similar to the Gilded deck, but the art and symbols are different.

Going back to my deck, another reason I am sticking with the Marseilles deck is that it was a special gift. Charla said that some folks believe a Tarot deck should be given to you. While I am fine with the idea of buying my own, since it is the way to assure you find a deck you enjoy as the book’s author suggests, the Marseilles came to me with love and affection, so I think it is a great reason to use it as my learning deck and in daily life. Plus I am finding much of the medieval lore and symbols associated with the deck to be quite interesting.

We’ll see where this journey takes me.

Peace.

CuriousGeorgeReading

Here is my first post on this series for 2016. My TBR keeps growing, but I also hope these lists help other readers out there find ideas for new books to read.

Items about books I want to read:

 

List and bibliographies:

CuriousGeorgeReading

Look, we made it to 60 of these lists of books I would like to read someday. So, let’s get on with it.

Items about books I want to read:

  • The Graphic Canon volumes of graphic novels on classical works is a set I have been wanting to read for a while now. And now, to add to the list, there is a volume for children’s classic literature. The book is The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature, and it was mentioned at Wink Books.
  • A new manga to me. The book is Assassination Classroom, Volume 2. I will have to seek out the first volume as well to catch up. The premise, as described for the first volume: “The students in Class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High have a new teacher: an alien octopus with bizarre powers and unlimited strength, who’s just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth–unless they can kill him first!” From looking at WorldCat, it is up to six volumes as of this post. The second volume that caught my eye was reviewed at A Case for Suitable Treatment.
  • This is not so much to read as to color. Adult coloring books seem to be a fad these days, and here is one for kinksters. The book is The BDSM Coloring Book: An Activity Book For Kinksters With Crayons (Amazon link on this one). It was reviewed at BDSM Book Reviews.
  • Apparently, Mickey Spillane, author of the Mike Hammer novels, left a novel or two unfinished. Max Allan Collins is working as literary executor and helping finish those works. One of them is out, and that is Kill Me, Darling. The book was reviewed in Bookgasm. I have enjoyed some older Mike Hammer novels, so I am curious enough to check this new one out.
  • I am a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so of course this book has to make my list. The book is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History. It was reviewed at Wink Books.
  • Also, I find tattoo art fascinating when it is well crafted. I may have mentioned this before. Anyhow, also via Wink Books, here is Bodies of Subversion: a Secret History of Women and Tattoo. Because yes, before these days when inked women seem to be all over, there was a time that for a woman to get any ink on her body was a very subversive thing.
  • Here is a different look at the world of porn, a book that “aimed to explore the dynamic of how porn performers and sex workers reveal their occupation to family, friends and outsiders.” The book is Coming Out Like a Porn Star, and it was reviewed in Ms. Naughty’s Porn for Women.
  • And speaking of things that do not come out (on the media, in news, etc. Yea, I know, it was a bad segue but you try going from porn to geopolitics of American bases abroad), we rarely if ever hear of the extended U.S. Empire and how it is kept by a very hefty network of U.S. bases around the world. You can learn more about that in this article from Common Dreams. The article also mentions the book Base Nation on U.S. military bases abroad, which sounded interesting enough to add to my list of books to read down the road.
  • Osamu Tezuka is in the pantheon of top manga artists, and here is a book devoted to his art. The book is The Art of Osamu Tezuka, and it was reviewed at Wink Books.
  • Another interesting art book is Aurora Monster Scenes. If you are old enough, you may remember those toys. The book was also reviewed at Wink Books.
  • Here is a book with some humor on drinking, which, if nothing else, “It’s perfect bathroom reading.” Hey, I am always looking for bathroom reading material. Anyhow, the book is You Suck at Drinking, and it was reviewed at Drinkhacker.
  • Like movies? Want to learn about those “overlooked masterpieces” you may have somehow missed? Well, then Trash Cinema may be the book for you. (Amazon link this time as it seems WorldCat does not have it). The book was reviewed at Bookgasm.
  • Robert Reich recently finished a book tour and talks about what he learned traveling in “red state” America. The book he was touring for is Saving Capitalism.
  • Marion Nestle mentions in her blog that she was recently reading Falafel Nation about Israeli cuisine recently.
  • I recently read Theda Skocpol’s book on the Tea Party, which I will be reviewing soon. One of the things I became very aware of is how conservatives in the U.S. use a lot of code language to hide their bigotry and racism in polite company. That book goes into that. Now, I recently came across this other book which would make a nice follow up. The book is Dog Whistle Politics, and it was discussed at Addicting Info.
  • A little something in librarianship. Rory Litwin interviews Stephen Bale, author of the book The Dialectic of Academic Librarianship.

 

 

Lists and bibliographies:

  • I did not know that July 25 is the National Day of the American Cowboy. So whether July 25 or any other time, if you would like to read a western or two, here is a small list from The Booklist Reader.
  • Here are a couple of manga reviews on “Prison School and Twin Star Exorcists” from The Manga Critic. Post has a few other titles to look over.
  • By now, mass shootings and overall gun fetishism are business as usual in the United States. There is a lot going on these days, and a lot of it is not good. Perhaps to help out a bit, I am sharing this list of books to read on the topic of “Guns, Politics, and Fear” that I found at Book Riot.
  • Tame the Web blog features a list for “Teaching Students About Information.” This is for library school students mostly.
  • Whether you read this list from The Booklist Reader on summer or not, here are some books on the theme of “I am what I eat.

CuriousGeorgeReading

Another week, and another bunch of books I would like to read someday. As the saying goes, so little times, so many books.

Items about books I want to read:

  • I continue adding to my interest to learning more about bourbon with Bourbon: a History of the American Spirit. The book was reviewed in San Francisco Book Review.
  • Given the current political climate in the United States, this book sounds like a necessary read. The book is Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You The Right To Tell Other People What To Do. The book was reviewed in San Francisco Book Review.
  • Let’s add in some more history. I often like reading about periods or events in history that may not be widely known. Astoria, about how Thomas Jefferson and John Jacob Astor attempted to create a western trading empire, sounds interesting. It was featured in San Francisco Book Review.
  • As I have written before, I am always interested in books about books and the book trade. So I am adding The Art of the Publisher to the list. It was discussed in The Christian Science Monitor.
  • Here is a little something to help diversify my reading for one. Plus I think some of my feminist friends may be interested in this one as well. The book is My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, and it was reviewed in Mother Jones magazine.
  • I remember living through the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The event is often portrayed as this big “American victory,” but as often is the case in history, things are not as simple as that (nor is that vision really true). You can learn more about the reality of what happened in The Last Empire, which was reviewed in San Francisco Book Review.
  • Here is something on higher education in the United States and China. In this article from Inside Higher Ed, “In Palace of Ashes: China and the Decline of American Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press), Mark S. Ferrara contrasts the ‘downward trajectory’ of American higher education against the rise of China’s university system.”
  • Via Drinkhacker, a review of a book on tiki drinks, you know, those nice tropical drinks that evoke some island paradise when done well. The book is Tiki Drinks: Tropical Cocktails for the Modern Bar.
  • Here is another one via Drinkhacker, this time on beer. The book is Beer for all Seasons.
  • I do like vintage things, and yes, I do like adult films and entertainment, so naturally I like vintage and older porn and adult entertainment. Thus a book like Graphic Thrills Volume 2 (apparently there is a volume one too) on adult film vintage posters is of interest. You can find the review in The Rialto Report.

 

Lists and bibliographies:

  • An older item, but still of interest: the first translations of a set of Zapatista children’s textbooks is available as a free download. Story via Global Voices.
  • There is a graphic novel adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Catch is Boom Studios! for some reason thought putting it out in 6 volumes instead of one large volume was a good idea.We’ll see if I can find a set. Story via Wink Books.
  • I will admit that I have not watched the Netflix show “Narcos.” To be honest, I could not care less about Netflix, but that is another story. Anyhow, I do have an interest in the topic of narcos in Latin America overall, so this list of books for folks waiting for the next season of the show interested me anyhow. From the list, I have read Gabriel García Márquez’s News of a Kidnapping, which I do recommend.
  • Via the blog RA for all: Horror, here is a list of small presses in the genre, which I am saving to look over later.
  • Here is more on movie posters. Via Wink Books blog, two books on James Bond movie posters.
  • Via The Booklist Reader, a list of books on creativity.
Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Here is the list of books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian during the month of October 2015, in case you missed any. Feel free to check them out, and if you happen to read any of them, feel free to comment and tell me if you liked it or not and why.

  • Batman: Earth One, Volume 2.
  • Tales of Heresy. This is part of the Horus Heresy series. The collection contains the short story “The Last Church,” which is probably one of the best stories in Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40,000. If anyone ever tells you that WH40K does not have any depth or any philosophical moments, shut them up by having them read that short story.
  • Harley Quinn, Volume 2: Power Outage. I continue to enjoy this series, and I already have volume 3 in my e-reader cue. You can count on seeing a review of that one soon.
  • Mortal Kombat X: Blood Ties.
  • Uncle John’s Beer-Topia. Like beer trivia? Need some bathroom reading? This is one of those Uncle John’s readers, and it was entertaining.
  • Monster Motors. This can be a nice Halloween selection, but you can read it anytime.
  • The Divine.
  • Creature Cops. From the publisher description, which I quoted in my review, “In a world where a rhino can be gene-spliced with a dog, freakish animals are everywhere, and the Creature Cops have to deal with them.”
  • Death of Wolverine.
  • Deadman Wonderland, Volume 2. This is a manga series I am enjoying. Though I have been borrowing from the library, I may consider getting my own set down the road.
  • Castaways. If you hate reality shows, especially dreck like Survivor, this horror novel may be for you.

Happy reading.

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