Alchemical Thoughts

Author Archive

Made it to 76 of these to be read lists. Let’s see what we are adding this time.


Items about books I want to read:

  • This book may answer a question I am sure many people in the U.S. have: why the heck do government prosecutors not prosecute rich executives and CEOs when they commit financial crimes, etc. The book is The Chickenshit Club. The book was reviewed at The New York Times.
  • In a case of what is old is new again, Hannah Arendt’s 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism is popular again. Story via Vox.
  • Once more, I wonder where are these thrift stores where people find cool stuff like vintage horror novels. Anyhow, if I can find it, I may consider reading The Beast Within. It was reviewed at Horror Novel Reviews.
  • The story of the book saviors/smugglers of Timbuktu, which was seen in The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, is getting yet another book treatment with The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu. The latter book was reviewed at The Guardian. I am always a little leery when I see books on the same topic come out real close in publication to each other. A few librarians I know have mentioned the first book, so I am bit more likely to pick that one. We’ll see.
  • A new book argues that Hitler exploited an interest in his audience in the supernatural and the occult. The book is Hitler’s Monsters, and the author was interviewed in VICE.
  • In the U.S., you can go pretty much to any  good grocery  store and find any fruit or vegetable any time of the year no matter the season. That may be a big issue, and it is explored in the book Never Out of Season. The book was reviewed in The New York Times.
  • You know things are bad in the United States  when some parents wonder how they can talk to their kids about the Pendejo In Chief. Well, for those few folks with values and concerns, there is a new book that deals with  how to talk to children about Trump. The book is How Do I Explain This to my Kids? Parenting in the Age of Trump. Book was mentioned at
  • Here is a memoir of a very unlikely true story: a young “campaign manager” to get his friend to be Playgirl’s Man of the Year back in the seventies. Story via Boing Boing. The book is Man of the Year by Lou Cove.
  • I have liked Arturo Pérez Reverte after I read El Club Dumas. I probably should reread it sometime so I can write a proper review. Anyhow, another of his novels recently got a mention and review at Sounds and Colours. The book is La Reina del Sur. On a side note, I might be able to get to that book sooner as I recently found a copy in our local public library’s Friends of the Library sale.
  • This next book I am adding out of curiosity, though I am not sure if I will feel up to reading it or not given its topic of dysfunctions of academia. I already see things this book may cover on a semi-regular basis. so I do not feel a need to read about them, but as I said, I am curious. If nothing else, the book gives me hope that perhaps some day I ought to write the book I have  in mind about academic libraries and their dysfunctions. Yes, I have a tale or two I could tell in fictional form. Anyhow, the book in question now is Dealing with Dysfunction: a Book for University Leaders. It was reviewed at Inside Higher Ed.
  • Apparently higher education workplace toxicity is possibly an emerging trend in books as here is another one also featured at Inside Higher Ed. The book is The Toxic University. Again, I am adding it not so much because I am sure to read it but mostly out of curiosity.
  • Based on a True Story reviews the book Al Franken: Giant of the Senate. I am not keen on yet another politician’s book, but Franken may well be the only decent US Senator serving today. Heck, I’d consider moving to Minnesota just so I could vote for him and keep him in office. The review states that Franken reads the audiobook himself, so I may consider reading it in audio form too.
  • An American tries to understand how the United States relates to the rest of the world in Notes on a Foreign Country. It was reviewed in The Christian Science Monitor.
  • Interested in LGBT movie poster history? Then The Queer Movie Poster Book may be for you. It was mentioned in this article on The Advocate.
  • The Texas Observer recently had an article on the devotion of Santa Muerte. Aside from the article being interesting to read, it mentions some books I may want to read or at least look over down the road.
  • Via The Spectator, review of a book on Arabic script and calligraphy. The book is By the Pen and What They Write.
  • For librarians, and those who just like libraries, yes, there is a book on card catalogs, and The Washington Post reviewed it. The book is The Card Catalog.
  • Via The Texas Observer, the author of Los Zetas Inc., discusses why Mexico’s drug war is not about drugs.
  • Here is a little more shop reading for the librarian. Library Juice Press is announcing a new book: Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science. It sounds like a relevant book for these Hard Times.
  • Finally for this post, a little children’s book that I think adults who like comics will enjoy as well. The book is Bedtime for Batman, and it was presented at Wink Books.


Lists and bibliographies:



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

This is the list of books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian during the month of July 2017. If you missed any, or you are just looking for something new to read, check them out.


Here is the list of books I reviewed over at The Itinerant Librarian for June 2017. Feel free to check them out. Book links go to the reviews unless noted otherwise.

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



This is the list of books I reviewed over at The Itinerant Librarian for the month of May 2017. Book links go to the my review unless otherwise noted. Feel to check them out.

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


I saw this prompt idea at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures here, and I figured  I would give it a try.  It is a chance for me to think a bit about how I keep track of things in terms of books and reading. I need to add that my TBR list is just something I find interesting to track. When I started tracking consistently, I had the intention to read it eventually. Over time, and as it grew, I made peace with the idea the list would keep growing, and I would never get it all done. I think I just enjoy the idea that I will never run out of things to read. In addition, part of the reason I do not always draw new books to read from the TBR lists is I keep finding new things on NetGalley (or Edelweiss) and at my local public library. Still, keeping track for me feels like a good exercise, plus the notes I make on the blog here are helpful to me for reader’s advisory. The tag questions are in bold.

How do you keep track of your TBR Pile?

I have more than one way to keep track of things, and they vary in effectiveness. One way is my series of blog posts here on “Items about books I want to read.” As part of my current awareness as both reader and librarian, I follow a lot of sources, and I keep track of them in my RSS reader. Every so often I compile those articles and notes about books I would like to read into blog posts here. It gives me a way to keep track of things I would like to read, and it reminds me where I learned about a particular book. I will add that at times in reviewing stories I had clipped as I get ready to blog, I will find a book that I decide not to include in the list. In other words, a book that seemed cool at a given time may become a “what the hell was I thinking, why did I want to read this?” item. I just discard those. If you are interested, you can go to click on the “books and reading” tag on the sidebar of the blog (or direct link here) to find these posts. This is probably the main way I keep track of my TBR book lists.

I also keep a “to read” shelf on GoodReads. However, I do have a love-hate relationship with GoodReads, so I do not keep up that shelf consistently. To be honest, I probably could go in, review it, and delete a few things. I used to be pretty good about using GoodReads, until they got bought out by Amazon, and I left them (in part due to that, and a couple other reasons). I used BookLikes for a while until they  had a massive crash that basically disabled their site for about almost two months. Since the company did not bother to reply right away, like a few others I left it because it was just not fucking working (pardon the language), and I reluctantly  went back to GR to keep tracks of books I have read. All I do in GR now is just track a book and rate it; I do not post any reviewing there; that’s what my book review blog, The Itinerant Librarian, is for.

A third way I keep track of books I would like to read is my personal written journal. I just jot down titles I recall or that may get mentioned  in something I am reading. Once in a blue moon, I may look through my journals to find something to read from those lists.


Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

I’d say print since print tends to be my preference. However, I do read e-books just fine. In fact, I use NetGalley (and Edelweiss to a lesser extent), so I get a lot of e-books that way.


A book that’s been on your TBR the longest.

I have to think about that a moment.

If I go by the GR shelf, Brent Weeks’ The Way of Shadows (Book One of his Night Angel series) would be the oldest. It was added in December 2010. There are a couple older ones, but one of them I did read, and another one I am removing due to lack of interest.

If I go by my posts on this blog, here is the first post I ever made on “Items about books I want to read.” Back then in 2009, I had no idea it would become a regular series. From that list, I will pick Alex Beam’s A Great Idea at the Time, about the Great Books program.


A book you’ve recently added to your TBR.

Nicole Cushing’s The Sadist’s Bible. I am doing a horror reading challenge this year, so I am always on the lookout for horror titles to read.


A book on your TBR you never plan on reading.

Hmm, this is tricky since I tend to remove such books when I review my TBR lists and see the book no longer holds my interest. I may have to get back to you on that.


An unpublished book on your TBR you’re excited for.

I cannot think of one right at this moment. However, I do have a few e-book galleys sitting in my e-reader that are not published just yet.


A book on your TBR everyone’s read but you.

Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. It seems everyone who is anyone in the Tarot community has read it.


A book on your TBR everyone recommends to you.

This is another question I have to ponder a bit. A few librarians I know were recommending The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu.


A book on your TBR you’re dying to read.

E.K. Johnston’s Ahsoka (Star Wars) comes to mind. I just finished watching The Clone Wars on DVD, and I want to know more of her fate after that series.


How many books on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

461 as of June 28, 2017, but as I said, I have not always kept this list consistently. Now that I am back to using GoodReads, I may be adding to it more.



I guess we can call this post the diamond post. Welcome  to the 75th edition of this small series where I make notes on books I would like to read some day. I hope other folks out there find these posts helpful, and maybe they find something new to read too. If you do read one of these books, feel free to come back and let me know. Now let’s get on with  it.


Items about books I want to read:


Lists and bibliographies:



Welcome to another post in this series about books I want to read. The list keeps getting bigger, but I do not mind. I think I got some interesting selections this time around. As always, if you read one of these books, feel free, if you feel moved to do so, to come back and leave a comment letting me know what you thought of the book.


Items about books I want to read:

  • Let’s start by taking a trip down memory lane. If you grew up with or remember those Little Golden Books, you can reminisce with Golden Legacy: the Story of Golden Books. Note this is a new 2017 edition; apparently, there was a previous edition back in 2007, at least according to WorldCat. Story via The Christian Science Monitor.
  • According to the article, the author of this book argues that impoverished whites are passing down their hopelessness to future generations. Sounds quite depressing. The book is Happiness for All? by Carol Graham. Story via The Rural Blog.
  • On the other hand, a lot of Americans, and I mean a lot, have an obsession with wealth and money. This is not really new, but what is interesting about this book is that a photographer went out to document it. The book is Generation Wealth, and the story comes from The Atlantic.
  • In recent news, the author of the book Nixonland responds to the idea of comparing the Pendejo In Chief to President Nixon. He says there is no real comparison, after all, Nixon “. . .was just so shrewd, so strategic: It’s simply inconceivable he would get caught with his pants down implicating himself on the record, like Trump now does almost daily. . . “.  I could not care less about the Pendejo In Chief, but I am adding Nixonland to my reading list.  Story via The Week.
  • Here is a cute little book for young and future activists. The book is A is for Activist. It was featured in the Poor as Folk blog.
  • A gruesome horror title that, according to the reviewer you may want to skip if “explicit sex, graphic gore, and profanity are not your thing. . .” That works for me. The book is Body Art, and it is one you have to get via Amazon it seems (not currently in WorldCat. I wonder why).  Review from Horror Novel Reviews.
  • Via The Los Angeles Review  of Books, a review of the new feminist manifesto by Jessa Crispin: Why I Am Not a Feminist. I have some mixed feelings on this one. I have read Crispin’s work before, however, what I read was very different than this. In addition, I have seen some pretty negative reviews of it, and while I try not to get prejudices from reviews, I still wonder. My public library has it, so I may pick it up sooner rather than later. If I read it, I will likely write a review on the blog, but I will make sure not to tag her on social media or contact her in any way when  I publish it. It seems in her book she cares little about men, and she does not care what we think of her book. Cited in the review, Crispin states, “I just want to be clear that I don’t give a fuck about your response to this book. [Point taken!] Do not email me, do not get in touch. Deal with your own shit for once.” Okay.
  • Wonder how Jesus became a revered figure and prophet in Islam? Did you even know that is a fact? Well, you may consider reading The Islamic Jesus by Mustafa Akyol. I have known this, in part because I have read The Qu’ran, but I can always learn more. Story via The New York Times.
  • The new (to me at least) manga Murciélago looks interesting. Murder, comedy, and sex? Hey, I am there. Via The OASG.
  • Jack Womack looks at the culture of UFO believers and trackers plus shows off some of his ephemera on the topic in his book Flying Saucers are Real. Story via Wink Books.
  • Via the Tumblr blog Swingin’ (user: kahuna68), an image of the 1962 cover of The Manchurian Candidate. Given the ascendancy of the Pendejo In Chief, it may be time to read this book.
  • Via @TABItarot, a review of the book 365 Tarot Spells. It is a collection of Tarot spreads, which may come in handy for me as I continue to learn and study Tarot.
  • Jane Meyer, author of Dark Money, discusses her work and the concept of dark money in politics at Esquire.
  • At the Food Politics blog, we get a look at Fast Food Kids. The book is described as “an academic sociologist’s account of what and how kids eat in school, and why.”
  • To show you can find a book on just about any topic, including topics dear to perhaps older librarians, here is a book on library card catalogs highlighted at Hyperallergic. It was not that long ago we had card catalogs. In fact, in my first library job as a student worker many moons ago, the library I was working at was in the process of converting from a card catalog to what would become their computerized catalog. Anyhow, the book is The Card Catalog.
  • The Lowrider Librarian has announced that the book he co-edited is out: Librarians With Spines. The book is a result of a crowdfunding effort. It is an anthology of queer and minority voices in librarianship, the kind of book we need more in our profession. If I manage to get a copy, I will post a review. I wonder how it might compare with Where Are All the Librarians of Color?, which I read a while back (link to my review of that).


Lists and bibliographies:



October 2017
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