Alchemical Thoughts

Archive for May 15th, 2015


And so we continue to add to the ever growing list of books I want to read someday.

Items about books I want to read:

  • The automobile is a big part of the U.S. mythology. Now, there is a book looking at the United States and the American Dream through American cars. The book is Engines of Change, and it was reviewed at San Francisco Book Review.
  • I do find works from and about the WPA to be interesting. This book, also featured at San Francisco Book Review, is an “able reprinting of the WPA travel guide to California, published by the University of California Press.” The book is California in the 1930s. There is also one for San Diego, entitled San Diego in the 1930s.
  • IDW, one of my favorite publishers, has a compilation volume of Judge Dredd. It is discussed at SF Signal. The book is Judge Dredd, Volume 1.
  • Sex education is not just important. It is essential. If you don’t believe me, ask the folks in this small town in Texas who just believed in one of those “abstinence only” education programs. They now have a rampant epidemic of chlamydia in their public high school. Perfect illustration of why you need sex education. Perhaps a comic book like Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf: A Sex Education Comic Book might help. The book was featured in Lambda Literary.
  • I enjoy baking, even if I cannot do much of it myself. I certainly enjoy eating baked goods, maybe a bit much at times. And like this reviewer, “I love interesting but ultimately useless trivia.” I think to a small extent, loving trivia is a requirement to being a good librarian. Anyhow, I digress. Point is here is a book with recipes and a lot of trivia and history about specific baked goods. The book is The Secret Lives of Baked Goods. It was reviewed at San Francisco Book Review.
  • As my four readers know, I enjoy books about books. So of course I have to add The Art of American Book Covers, 1875-1930 to my reading list.  The book was also reviewed at San Francisco Book Review.
  • This book caught my eye in large part due to this interview with the author where she discusses her world building and the setting, which sounded intriguing if you like some scifi with your erotica. The book is Jenna McCormick’s No Rules, and it is part of the series taking place in the fictional world of Illustra.
  • As a manga reader, I am always interested in books about manga to help me learn more as well as do readers’ advisory on it. Via Experiments in Manga here is a review of Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices.
  • Another manga book, this time for folks who may want something quick and easy. The book is A Brief History of Manga, and it was highlighted at Contemporary Japanese Literature.
  • Want a little classic horror? Maybe Victorian Ghost Stories: an Oxford Anthology may be for you. It was suggested by Blogging for a Good Book.
  • Once in a while I find something I may want to at least look at via Awful Library Books. Way I see it, someone’s awful book could be someone else’s treasure. As librarians say, every book its reader and every reader its book. Anyhow, is there anyone out there who still remembers Joe Bob Briggs and his, shall we say, unique brand of B-movie reviewing? I do remember his days in Monstervision. At any rate, while Awful Library Books recommends you get rid of his book Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In, there are a few libraries that still have it. Maybe I can get it via ILL if I hurry. By the way, there is also a sequel, Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In.
  • Let’s toss some more erotica into the list. Though I have read Cleis Press titles before, and some featuring gay characters, I have not read one of their gay (read M/M) anthologies yet. No particular reason other than I have not gotten around to it. So to move me to try one out I am listing now their Best Gay Erotica 2013 which I saw reviewed at BDSM Book Reviews. They liked it, so why not? Besides, I need to add titles to that LGBT Reading Challenge I am working on in 2015.
  • Also reviewed at BDSM Book Reviews was House of Sable Locks (Amazon link; not listed in WorldCat). Now, while I do read it, I am not a huge fan of male sub tales. But if they are well written, I will bite. This book sets the tale with some steampunk, which makes it hard to pass up. Sounds like the kind of rare thing I like reading now and then.
  • Another one under erotica, this one is erotic photography. The Library Vixen highlights the book Dirty Rendezvous, featuring the photographic work of Chas Krider.
  • I like having a drink or two now and then, in moderation of course. I also enjoy reading about cocktails and bar culture, even though I am not a big fan of going to bars; I prefer to do my mixology at home. So, here are a couple of books I may want to read down the road, which I found via Drinkhacker. The first one is Liquid Vacation, which looks at tiki drinks. I had no idea tiki drinks were undergoing a revival, but so the reviewers assure us. We’ll see. The second book for this round let’s go with a little history with Gentlemen Bootleggers, which is about a small town in Iowa and its Prohibition-era bootleggers.
  • I always say that if you drink, you should have some food as well. So allow me to point out a couple of books about food. Both were highlighted at the Food Politics blog. Let’s start with The Culinary Imagination, which is “an overview of contemporary food writing and thought.” The other one is Eating Asian America. This one is about the  Asian-American food experience.
  • Here is one that I would consider somewhat work-related (i.e. that an academic librarian should be interested in). Found via review in Inside Higher Ed, the book is Paper Knowledge. Mostly about generation of documents, their move to the cloud, that sort of thing.
  • And speaking of paper, here is a book that sounds a bit more interesting than the previous one. Then again, I will admit I enjoy the work of Nicolas Basbanes, so naturally I have to add his On Paper to my reading list. Review from Times Literary Supplement.
  • Well, workplaces do use a lot of paper, including ones that claim they want to go paperless. Workplaces also have a history and that is captured in the book Cubed: a Secret History of the Workplace. The book was reviewed in BookForum.
  • Keeping a bit longer the secrecy theme, how about state secrets? diplomacy? There is a book on that too, relevant to a time when leaks of information cause a variety of scandals and embarrassments to those in power. The book is Secrets and Leaks, and it was reviewed at Lawfare.
  • I have always wanted to get a good edition of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and while this one is not complete–it focuses on the stories of his Arkham cycle– it does look pretty good, and it seems to have great art and an essay by Alan Moore. I need to check this out. The book is The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, and it is reviewed at Bookgasm.


Lists and bibliographies:

  • The U.S. yet again celebrated Cinco de Mayo. Maybe instead of just drinking, you may want to do some reading and learn more about that date and Mexican history. Here is a Cinco de Mayo reading list. Via University of Nebraska Press.
  • Want to read some mystery? Here is a list of the 101 best crime novels of the last decade. Via The Booklist Reader.
  • Want to read some erotica and kink? Would you perhaps like to do it on a Kindle (or e-reader)? Violet Blue has some suggestions to Kink Your Kindle.
  • Via BuzzFeed, here is a list of 32 Asian American writers to read. Just doing my part to help you diversify your reading.
  • I am not a huge fan of the dystopian genre, but I have read a comic or two in the genre, including a title or two on this list. I think some folks out there may find it of interest. The list is of “Top Ten Superhero-Free Dystopian Comics.” Published at SF Signal.

May 2015


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