Alchemical Thoughts

Archive for February 2018

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

It was a lean month in terms of reviews for January 2018 over at The Itinerant Librarian. I posted a book review and a deck review. In case you missed them, check them out.

Also in January, in case you missed it, I posted my Reading List and report for 2017.

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Here we go again with the latest additions to my ever growing TBR list. As always, book title links to go to WorldCat, so you can borrow it from a library near you unless otherwise noted.

Items about books I want to read:

  • A Thanksgiving article, one of those about chefs giving advice for the holiday. I picked up on this for mention of the chef’s book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Story via Vox.
  • Here is another foodie book, this one about six Americans in Paris including Julia Child. The  book is The Gourmands’ Way, and it was reviewed in The New York Times.
  • There is a new (to me at least) history of hoaxes that may be relevant in these Hard Times of fake news. The book is Bunk, and it was reviewed in The New York Times.
  • Do you ever wonder what kind of food you could bring to a funeral? Or for any  other occasion? Well, Elizabeth Heiskell’s cookbook What Can I Bring? may provide some answers. Story via The Lexington Herald Leader.
  • Here is an early bit of humor on travel narratives with  A Journey Round My Room by Xavier de Maistre. The book is freely available online at Public Domain Review. If you prefer print, some libraries do have it.
  • Benebell Wen reviews a new (to me at least) Tarot basics book. The book is Going Beyond the Little White Book. Book is self-published, so no WorldCat record as of this post. Wen’s review includes purchase options.
  • A lot of (ignorant) people love to say the U.S. is a Christian nation (spoiler: it is not. Go ahead, read the “Founding Fathers” sometime, secular as they were). Histories of Christianity in the U.S. are plentiful, but there are not many about atheism and secularism in the U.S. This book attempts to remedy that. The book is Village Atheists: How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation. It was discussed at Los Angeles Review of Books.
  • Though the review is a bit mixed, the book still looks interesting, and I may take a look. The book is Mangasia, and it was reviewed at The Manga Critic.
  • Schlock Value reviews one of those old books that you are not quite sure if they are so bad they are good kind of thing. Still, could be interesting to read. The book is Moon Zero Two.
  • This is a totally cute idea. Someone made a book about cats who do pest control at distilleries. The book is Distillery Cats, and it was reviewed at The New York Times. I’ve got to read this one sooner rather than later.
  • Here is another one for cat lovers: If I Fits, I Sits. It’s a book of cat pictures and quotations. Reviewed at City Book Review.
  • I do not care much for sports, but I have read a book or two on some sports-related topic if it was interesting. This one sounds very interesting, so I am adding it to my TBR list. The book is The Pride of Havana: a History of Cuban Baseball. It was reviewed at Shelf Talk.
  • Here is a book about how old books can be turned into works of  art. The book is entitled The Book, and it was featured in City Book Review.
  • This may either be a work of genius or the work of someone who had way too much time on their hands. This author has looked at the Pendejo In Chief’s words and found poetry. Amazing, huh? The book is The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump. It was featured in Dangerous Minds.
  • A book on rum? Sure. The book is Rum Curious, and it was highlighted at Drinkhacker.
  • Learn about the real cost of those chicken nuggets in places like McDonald’s in The Hamlet Fire. Marion Nestle highlighted it in her Food Politics blog.
  • Let’s look at some horror. Via Horror Novel Reviews, here is The Devil and My Daughter (no WorldCat record available as of this time),  a book with the plot starting with “a young film crew who shoot an extreme indie horror film.”
  • I not only like to read, but I also like books and the culture around them, so a book like Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores is the kind of book I would be interested in. Granted, it has a foreword by Garrison Keillor (who turns out to not only be insufferable but turns out he is also an asshole), but I think I can live with that to get the rest of the book. The book was reviewed at Wink Books.

 

Lists and bibliographies:

 

I saw this little writing prompt over at Based on a True Story, and I figured it would be easy enough and fun enough to try out. The questions are the ones provided. The answers are mine.

 

1. What are your top three book pet hates?

  • Dreck that looks good but ends up making me mad and wasting my time.
  • Fans of overrated books and authors that just won’t shut up about them.
  • Paperbacks that are poorly made and fall apart after one reading.

2. Describe your perfect reading spot.

In bed. In a rocking chair is also nice.

3. Tell us three book confessions.

  • I do not give a shit about the following: Harry Potter, Game of Thrones (or much of R.R. Martin’s work), True Blood, Dan Brown, James Patterson, and a few other over-hyped writers and works. Do not try to convince me. As I said, I do not give a shit. You be happy over there in your part of the world. I am happy over here just fine. (Notice I did not say I have not read any of these. Some I  have. I just do not give a shit.) Oh, and I also do not give a shit who knows it.
  • I was an English major (B.A. and M.A.), and there are a good number of “classics” I  have not actually read. No, I do not feel bad about it. That’s what Cliff’s Notes and Masterplots are for. How do you think a lot of grad students get through comprehensive exams? It ain’t by always reading the whole thing.
  • As a kid, I never went to a public library. My parents just never took us to one. We did have books at  home, and my mother  encouraged reading. It feels a bit weird because I am a librarian now, and librarians usually have that one story of how some public librarian touched them (not that way, you pervs) and gave them inspiration to eventually become librarians. I found my inspiring librarian when I was in graduate school.

4. When was the last time you cried at a book?

I have never cried when I read a book. I have gotten pissed off at quite a few though.

5. How many books are on your bedside table?

Well, let me think a moment. As of this post, there are five, which are:

  • Agatha Christie, Masterpieces of Murder (a collection of some of her novels).
  • Mario Puzo, The Godfather (started re-reading this as I got an urge to just read something for comfort).
  • Rose Caraway, ed., For the Men and the Women who Love Them (erotica anthology that I have been a bit slow in reading. Hard Times do  not help your mood in reading erotica, but I will get it read. I do feel bad I have not read it already, but as I said, Hard Times do not help).
  • A book on cocktails that has been on the TBR status for a while but I have not managed to get to it yet. (You can tell it has been there a while since I cannot recall the title now without looking.)
  • The Mammoth Book of Dracula, a short stories about Dracula anthology.

Plus I have a bunch of stuff on my iPad (on the Bluefire Reader and on the Kindle for iPad).

6. What is your favorite snack whist you’re reading?

I usually do not snack while I read, but when I do it can be crackers and cheese. I do enjoy my cup of coffee when reading now and then too.

7. Name three books you’d recommend to everyone.

This depends on what day you are asking. At this moment I would recommend the following (links to my reviews):

8. Show us a picture of your favorite shelf on your bookcase.

Work book shelf

Not a favorite, but it makes for a good photo. This is a corner of my book shelf in my office at work. Some of the books were books I read as part of the Dean’s Faculty Reading Group (a campus sort of book club). Others are work related. The jar says “Tips Support Counterintelligence.” And yes, tips are accepted 😉

 

9. Write how much books mean to you in 3 words.

Books are life.

10. What’s your biggest reading secret?

You mean besides the confessions above? What the  heck else do you want from me? Well, it is not much  of a secret now, but I am learning how to read Tarot and oracle cards.

 


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