Welcome to another post here at Alchemical Thoughts. I read quite a bit during the month of July. I also got quite a few reviews done. This was in part because a few requests I put in at NetGalley came due pretty close to each other (that whole expiration thing they got on their galleys), so I had to read a bit more than I usually do. However, it was worth it overall. Plus, there are a couple of items that made it into the reviews this month I had read a while back.
As always, comments are welcome. If you read any of these, let me know what you think. If you have a book you think I should read, let me know too. I might consider it. So, without further fuss, let’s see what got reviewed last month.
- Batman, Volume 6: Graveyard Shift.
- Time on Two Crosses: the Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin, 2nd edition. It was not planned, but this year is a year where I have read a lot of African American, LGBTQ, and civil rights history books. Anyhow, this is one I do recommend. Bayard Rustin is a guy we hear little about in most histories of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
- Gotham Academy, Volume 1.
- Bodies. This is one that I thought had a great premise, but it did not deliver.
- VHS Video Cover Art. If you remember the good old days of VHS and going to the video store to rent movies, you will enjoy this book.
- White Whine. For this one, just read it on the Internet.
- Flash Gordon Omnibus.
- Deathstroke, Volume 1: Gods of War. I have to admit this was a lot better than I expected at first.
- Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 6: Icarus.
- Grayson, Volume 1. From Robin to Nightwing to secret spy.
- Injustice: Gods Amongst Us, Volume 2. Yea, Superman is still a superpowered tyrannical asshole in this one.
- Batgirl, Volume 1: the Batgirl of Burnside.
- MPH. A good read from Mark Millar, who you may know from works like Wanted and Kick-Ass.
Another week, and another list of books I would like to read someday. So, let’s see what we got this week.
Items about books I want to read:
- AlterNet recently featured a profile piece on Ta-Nehisi Coates. It mentions his new book Between the World and Me. Given all the recent racial tensions going on, this may be a timely read. It certainly would go well with a few other relevant books I have been reading recently.
- Via Liberation News, the book Revolution Manifesto: Understanding Marx and Lenin’s Theory of Revolution (no WorldCat record available as of this post). Some may say Marx and his ideas have no relevance today. I say given today’s climate of inequality and oppression Lenin’s and his ideas on revolution may well be relevant once more. As the news site states, “whether it is brutal murders by the police, the injustices perpetrated every day in the legal and prison system, or the military interventions around the globe—the state remains a topic of utmost importance for today’s revolutionaries. In the everyday struggles of working class and oppressed people the state often presents itself as the main enemy.” That may be a good reason to read this.
- This I just saw on my news feed, and I knew it was timely and had to add it to my list right away. Via Counter Current News, a review and discussion of the book Rise of the Warrior Cop: the Militarization of America’s Police Forces. This is one I will very likely order for my library as well.
- The next item is for one of those phrasebooks you can use in a workplace. I have used one or two before, usually to help fill out annual job reviews that require very specific language and usually use Likert scales to measure competency (as if, but that is another conversation for another day). Since then, I have a small interest in this kind of workplace book, which can either be good aids when you are short on words or right out workplace bullshit enablers. Anyhow, here is Powerful Phrases for Dealing With Difficult People. I am sure this is the kind of book you need if yo are doing annual evaluations, and you need to say “Bob is basically a sociopathic uncooperative asshole” in nicer terms. The book was reviewed at San Francisco Book Review.
- We have two cats in our home, and they help keep life interesting. To that end, learning more about felines is a good thing, and the book Cat Sense may be helpful for that. It was also reviewed at San Francisco Book Review.
- This is a different book about Alice in Wonderland. The book is a documentation and look at ways the characters of Alice in Wonderland have appeared in comics over time. In other words, how those comics somehow brought in the literary characters. The book is Alice in Comicland, and it was featured at Wink Books.
- Here is something different, a book about mazes. The book is Labyrinths and Mazes, and it was also featured at Wink Books.
- Moving to a different track, here is looking at food in terms of it being a commodity. Via the Food Politics blog, a book on the food commodities trading world. The book is Bet the Farm.
- Also via the Food Politics blog, a book looking at industrial farming and its consequences for the world. The book is The End of Plenty.
- I always have an interest in higher education books. This looks more like a book for my library, but if I do order it, I may pick it up. I do also have an interest in international affairs. The book is China’s Rising Research Universities, and it was reviewed at Inside Higher Ed.
- Also discussed at Inside Higher Ed, a book that “makes the case for all colleges — not just those religiously affiliated ones that were part of the Lilly experiment — to talk to their students about living meaningful lives.” The book is The Purposeful Graduate.
- As I am always looking for new manga to read, preferably with some kind of dark twist, this seems to fit the bill. The book is Alice in Murderland, Volume 1, which was reviewed at A Case for Suitable Treatment.
- Let’s toss a little smut in for fun; yea, I do read some low end fun stuff once in a while. I got Becoming a Thug Wife (Amazon link. Check the pricing as it may have changed) when it was a freebie on Amazon, and I have been reading it in bits and pieces; it’s written as a set of short episodes. When I do get it done, I will likely review it. Anyhow, I saw that Bending the Bookshelf posted a review of it, so jotting down here as a reminder for me to finish it. I can tell you the book does have its entertaining moments.
- And now, let’s go for a little armchair travel with Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats, and Ramen. It was reviewed at Contemporary Japanese Literature.
- A couple of books on drinking and spirits via Drinkhacker. One of the things I enjoy doing is visiting wineries and distilleries. I do find the process of making alcoholic spirits to be quite interesting, and often you get taste the product. First, let’s learn about the science with Proof: the Science of Booze (reviewed here). Second, the book Whisk(e)y Distilled (review over here).
Lists and bibliographies:
- This post from Hack Library School mentions a couple of books on library history. Given I am a librarian, and the topic does interest me, I am jotting it down here to remember.
- Via Wink Books, I am learning that IDW put out a series of anthologies collecting classic Tarzan comic strips.
- Big news recently was the daring jailbreak of drug lord El Chapo. Want to learn more about the narco world, here is a list of 6 books on the narco world and the war on drugs. Via The Booklist Reader.
- Interested in exploring or learning more about Brazilian literature? Book Riot has a post on “Where to Start With Brazilian Literature.” Like many readers, I am already familiar with Paulo Coelho, but from this piece I am also familiar with Jorge Amado (though I have not read him in a long time).
Ooh, we made it to 55 lists, nice number. Once again welcome to this semi-regular series in the blog where I keep expanding my TBR list. As always, comments are welcome.
Items about books that I want to read:
- Let’s start this post with something nice and cute. I am a fan of Jeffrey Brown’s Star Wars children’s books. Thus, I am looking forward to reading Star Wars: Jedi Academy. It was featured in San Francisco Book Review.
- This one, even though the review was mixed, still sounds interesting. And given recent events, such as the SCOTUS decision on marriage equality, it may be a bit more of a relevant read. The book is How Not To Be American, and it was featured in San Francisco Book Review.
- I will be honest on this next one. I am not quite sure what the deal is, but the idea of yeti-hybrids controlling society sounds just crazy enough to get my attention. The book is Behold!!! The Protong, and it was featured in Wink Books.
- Though I do not foresee myself getting a tattoo anytime soon, I do find good tattoo art fascinating, and I do admire those who have good quality ink work done on their bodies. So, books about tattoos are something I find interesting. Here is a book about tattoos of folks into science. The book is Science Ink, and it was also featured in Wink Books.
- To many people, books of quotations may seem like anachronisms. Aside from people looking for a quote to fix up a speech a bit, who reads them? Well, I do. I do enjoy and browsing quotation books, especially quotation books around a specific topic. In this case, we have the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations, 5th edition. I discovered it via San Francisco Book Review.
- Next, a little erotica with Best Women’s Erotica 2014. This line from the reviewer at San Francisco Book Review may say what you need to know, and it is a sentiment I concur with: “If your only experience with erotica is that ‘certain trilogy,’ you deserve better.” Need help finding similar books so you can get better, ask your local friendly librarian. Your librarian turns out to be a prude (or worse, a fan of that “trilogy”)? Find another librarian.
- Some manga titles via A Case for Suitable Treatment:
- High School DxD, Volume 1. From the review, ” It’s your classic harem comedy, with lots of added fantasy this time, where the goal is to see how many different types of women you can have fall in love with the hero without any actual fornication occurring. . . “. I had no idea this was a “classic” genre, so I am curious now.
- Phantom Thief Jeanne, Volume 2. The review is for volume 2, but I will naturally seek out the first volume as well so I can read the series in order. The premise, according to the description of the first volume is: “Seemingly normal high school student Maron Kusakabe spends her nights sneaking into art collections to steal paintings haunted by heart-devouring demons. . . “.
- Servamp, Volume 1. According to the review it’s about a vampire servant, who happens to be a very lazy vampire.
- Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1. The reviewer writes, “The premise is simple and easy to understand. Our hero is a bit of a nerd with a crush on a gorgeous girl who reads the same erudite horror novels he does. On their first date, however, he discovers she is a ghoul out to kill him and eat his flesh.” You can take it from there.
- I was reading this list of “7 Common Tequila Myths, Debunked.” I do drink tequila now and then, and I always find trivia related to alcoholic spirits to be interesting. The article also mentions a book: How the Gringos Stole Tequila. With that title, it sounds like a book to read.
- I have been wanting to read this, and I thought I had added it to my TBR a while back. However, on searching this blog’s archive, I find that I did not add it previously, so here we go. The book is Secret Identity: the Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster, which was mentioned at Wink Books.
- I don’t read much romance other than some to keep some degree of cred as librarian and readers’ advisor when it comes to that genre. However, much like the reviewer at Erotica for All, I also “was totally intrigued by the unique premise of Keira Andrews’ novel, A Forbidden Rumspringa – an Amish M/M erotic romance. ” I usually favor full erotica over erotic romance, but this one has me curious, so if I manage to get my hands on it, expect a review down the road. Keep in mind, this one is an e-book, so it may not be as easy to find in your local library.
- I do like pulp art, so I am adding Pulp Macabre to my list. It was reviewed at Bookgasm.
Lists and bibliographies:
- Here are a couple of books that give advice. One is on how to sharpen pencils. That book I have heard about. The other, on how to poo at work, not really. I will have to look these up. Via Awful Library Books.
- D.L. King is an erotica author and editor I have enjoyed in the past. So when she makes a suggestion of other authors to read, I listen. This time, she is pointing out two books by Lisabet Sarai.
- The Unshelved Book Club recently had a list of books, including graphic novels, about food.
- The Dominican Republic has recently been in the news over how it is dealing with Haitian immigrants. If you would like to learn a bit more about both countries, Book Riot put together a list of reading recommendations that includes articles and books.
Welcome to another week here at Alchemical Thoughts and a few more additions to my ever growing TBR (to-be-read) book list. As always, if you read any of these, please feel free to come back and let me know how you liked a book or not. Who knows, you may convince me to move that book up in my reading cue and read it sooner. Finally, a small reminder that all book title links go to WorldCat so you can find it in a library near you unless noted otherwise.
- Since I moved to eastern Kentucky and the Appalachian region, I have taken a bit more of an interest in rural news. The Daily Yonder is one of the sources I use to keep up on that topic, and recently they had a couple of items on books that sound interesting and are also relevant to rural communities. This first article discusses options and caveats about rural communities trying to bring manufacturing jobs back to their areas. The article also highlights the book Selling the State, ” that traces the evolution of Kentucky’s industrial and economic development policy over much of the last half of the twentieth century.” The book is actually freely available online (link to the book’s PDF) from Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. That book may be a bit more technical than what I usually read, but I am also posting about it here in case others, say librarians in the state, need to know about it. So I may not get to this book anytime soon, but I think folks need to be aware of it. The second article is a book review of The Internet is NOT the Answer. This is relevant to rural communities where Internet access can be sketchy and in some areas barely existent. However, the book should interest anyone in information sciences, including information literacy librarians.
- Want to learn more about horror films? Do you ask what makes a horror film a horror film? Which are the best ones? Which should you avoid? Perhaps the book Horror Films FAQ can help. It was reviewed at San Francisco Book Review.
- The one book I read by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro ages ago, which was a Saint-Germain novel, was one I enjoyed, so I have always wanted to read more by her. So, I am adding another one to my list. This time it’s Night Pilgrims, and it was also reviewed at San Francisco Book Review.
- Like whisky? Want to learn more about it? Maybe some new ways to mix it? For instance, coconut water and whisky, which by the way, when I traveled to Puerto Rico for my mother’s funeral I discovered is a fairly popular drink down there. And you do use good whisky for it. The book Whisky: The Manual may be of interest. It was featured in Liquor Snob.
- Let me toss in next some work-related items in my quest to keep up in my profession:
- Higher Education Outcomes Assessment for the Twenty-First Century. It was reviewed at The Journal of Academic Librarianship.
- Via The Journal of Library Innovation, a review of The Personal Librarian: Enhancing the Student Experience.
- The book Library and Information Sciences: Research and Trends is now open access (link to publisher). I learned about this via Libraries are for Use.
- I always looking at good photography books, especially ones where I can learn new things or see rare things. This book is right up that alley. The book is Before They Pass Away, which features photographs of tribal groups that may be in danger of vanishing forever. It was featured at Wink Books.
- Also via Wink Books, a different book on a different set of tribes, this one about Japanese street tribes’ fashions. The book is Tokyo Adorned.
- Next we have a history book that aims “’to show that there are other US histories than the standard Anglo narrative’ by focusing on Hispanic influence in the country’s past and future’”. The book is Our America: a Hispanic History of the United States. It was reviewed at the Times Literary Supplement.
- Let’s have a look at the early days when forensic science was starting out. The book is The Poisoner’s Handbook, and it was featured in Blogging for a Good Book.
- I wonder how well or not this book may go in my campus, which does have a pretty strong wellness obsession (some could say a bit much, this kind of thinking is not new or unique to the campus). The book is The Wellness Syndrome, and it was reviewed at Inside Higher Ed.
- Marion Nestle provided a blurp for this book on pigs and the pork industry. It does sound interesting. The book is Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat.
Lists and bibliographies:
- This is one that has been sitting on my feed reader cue for a while, and it is time to add it here and share it. Via The Advocate, this is “Yaoi: The Art of Japanese Gay Comics.” The article serves as a primer as well as a short list of some reading suggestions. And yes, I do read yaoi (and yuri, and so on).
- Many readers, especially women, get their erotica fix via Amazon and the Kindle. However, Amazon is notorious for censorship of erotica titles. In this piece published a while back at BDSM Book Reviews, you can find a list of alternative online sites that will sell you erotica without the prejudice and fuss.
- I was not terribly interested in this piece on culture shock and other discoveries new academic librarians make. Maybe because I experienced some of it. At any rate, the piece out of ACRLog does mention a couple of books I would be interested in reading.
- If you are interested in learning more about the Philippines and Filipino libraries and culture, you are in luck. Vonjobi has just published a great list for beginners at Filipino Librarian: “The Philippines for Beginners: Book Recommendations.“
- Bisexual Books has compiled a “Black Queer and Trans* Reading List.” From the looks of it, is it intended to be updated as needed.
Rolling right along in adding books to the ever growing TBR list. Let’s see what we got this week:
Items about books I want to read:
- This book is probably not one for vegetarians and vegans. The book is In Meat We Trust: an Unexpected History of Carnivore America, and it was featured in San Francisco Book Review. Apparently, according to the book, meat helped make America. I will have to read and see.
- Staying with the food theme, this one was also featured in San Francisco Book Review. Now this one is more about food choices and sustainability. The book is Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. This is probably not one for the carnivores who may be reading the previous book, though probably eating a little less meat may be a good thing. I am not quite ready to just stop eating all meat.
- Let’s look at lack of food now. Marion Nestle has written a foreword to an updated edition of the book Breadlines Knee-Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression.
- And now let’s go for a little dessert with Bourbon Desserts. The reviewer at Drinkhacker claims that “novices, experts, and destructive cooks alike can approach this book with confidence knowing that in the end, bourbon makes everything taste better.”
- The great actor Christopher Lee passed away this year. He did some of his fine horror work for Hammer Films, but did you know Hammer Films made more than just horror films? Apparently, they also did a series of psychological thriller and suspense films too. You can learn about them in the book Hammer Films’ Psychological Thrillers 1950-1972. The book was reviewed in Bookgasm.
- Also reviewed at Bookgasm, a new collection of short stories by Ed Gorman. I admit, I am not terribly familiar with that author, so there is a possible reason to add the book to my list. “The 14 tales range from straight-up crime to peeks into a bizarre future. ” The book is Scream Queen and Other Tales of Menace.
- A couple of books in LIS and related to my work as instruction librarian. Both of these reviews come via The Journal of Librarianship and Information Science (the review links lead to PDF pages from the journal).
- A new to me manga that does look like it may not be easy to get. That is often the case with manga in the U.S.; good stuff may come over, barely gets published, goes out of print before anyone notices let alone the publisher gives it a decent chance, and vanishes. Anyhow, the title this time is Maka-Maka: Sex, Life, and Communication, Vol. 1. There may or not be a volume 2 out (WorldCat found a French edition of the second one), and that may be about it. It was reviewed at Experiments in Manga.
- This seems to be a case where the movie may be better than the book or vice versa, depending on where your preferences lie. The book is Ring, from which the movie was adapted. The book is translated from Japanese. It was reviewed in Contemporary Japanese Literature. On a side note, my library, Hutchins Library at Berea College, has a copy, so I may get to it sooner.
- To this day, and likely for some years to come, we are recuperating from the 2008 economic collapse. Matt Taibbi offers a look at those times in his recent book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. The book was reviewed at Blogcritics.
- Via Wink Books, this looks very nice. The book set is Dian Hanson’s History of Pin-Up Magazines. It is one of those nice editions Taschen puts out.
- On a more serious note, a new book on invisible work, that is important work that is often done behind the scenes, say like U.N. translators. The book is Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion. In some ways, the work of many librarians could well qualify as invisible work by this metric, say catalogers (let’s be honest. If a good cataloger does his or her work well, you never hear of the person, you only see the great work in the catalog they create for us) for example or just good librarians who do the good work daily without blowing their horns every ten minutes it would seem. You know the ones. Anyhow, the book was reviewed by Joshua Kim in Inside Higher Ed.
- I am not sure if this book will answer the old joke, but it certainly sounds interesting. The book is Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization. By the way, have you noticed how often these microhistories are all “sagas” and often they are “epic sagas” of however the subject saved or powered civilization? Anyhow, the book was featured at Blogging for a Good Book.
- Every other librarian seems to be talking about this book, which usually means either the book is a big deal, or it is not that much a deal and folks are just getting on another passing fad. At any rate, I am adding it to my list so I can keep it on my radar, but I am not sure if I will read it right away or not, and books like this tend to need reading right as they come out. This seems another one of those “yea, libraries are great, and they will survive even with Google around” books. I am not sure I need yet another book to tell me that. Although, it seems a lot of librarians do need a book to tell them just that; our profession is amazingly insecure, go figure. So, maybe by the time I get to it, the fad will pass unless it does have a message meant to remain. We shall see. The book is BiblioTech, and it is being reviewed at PhiloBiblos.
Lists and bibliographies:
- If pegging is among your fetishes, then this list may be of interest for erotica readers who enjoy it. While it is not a big topic of interest for me, I have read a tale or two in the genre I have found to be OK at least. As I have said before, I am always willing to read new things. The list is “Peg This: Six Erotic Pegging Stories You Must Read.” It was published at RT Book Reviews.
- Do you like stories set in dirigibles and air ships? Bookshelves of Doom has “Airships Ahoy! Thirteen Stories Set on Dirigibles.“
- Like milk? Shelf Talk has “Got Milk?” highlighting two books on the history and uses of milk.
These are the books I reviewed during the month of June 2015. If you missed any of these, feel free to check them out. As always, comments are welcome. This month we have a bit of everything, including some reading I did for LGBTQIA Pride Month, which falls in June. Although I read a lot during June, I did not get around to writing as many reviews, so we were a bit lean last month. Book links go directly to the book review.
- If you want to learn more about Jewish delicatessen and deli in general, you may want to check out David Sax’s Save the Deli.
- I continued reviewing the manga series Adolf. In June, I reviewed the last two volumes of the series: volume 4 and volume 5.
- The highlight of the month for me has to be the book The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQI Activism. I read this for a Pride Month book blog tour that Cleis Press organized, but I have to say it was a good read for the month overall.
- I reviewed a new graphic novel with a different look at superheroes. The book was Jupiter’s Legacy, Volume 1.
- Finally for June, if the art of letter writing interests you, this book may be for you. The book is To The Letter.