Alchemical Thoughts

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


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


Here is the monthly wrap up of reviews from The Itinerant Librarian for July 2020. I reviewed the following books:

I also reviewed two Tarot decks in July:

Here is the media roundup for July. A highlight for me is I started watching episodes of Midsomer Murders.

This is a blog tag I found over at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. The basic idea is to find and identify books you may have on your Goodreads TBR (to be read) shelf that now you realize you have no idea why you put there in the first place. As of this post, I have about 800 books on the TBR shelf, so I can likely pick more than ten, and I may do other posts on this topic later. For now, here are ten that I honestly have no idea by now why I added them. Titles are linked to Worldcat (unless otherwise noted) in case you want to find them in your local library. I will try to speculate a bit as to why I added it to the TBR, but I do not guarantee I will actually remember the reason. My TBR on Goodreads goes back to 2010 give or take.

  • Amy Sonnie, Hillbilly Nationalists, urban race rebels, and black power: community organizing in radical times. Added to GR on 7/14/2011. My guess is I added this when I was still reading politics/social justice/activism topics books, before I took a reading moratorium on this kind of book in 2016 (I got burned out on this stuff at the time), a reading moratorium that continues to this day. I have a few other books of a similar vein on the TBR that like this one will remain unread for a while if at all. Removed from the list.
  • Pu Songling, Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. No clue why this is on the TBR. Added on September 13, 2011. Removed from the list.
  • Eve Ensler, Insecure at Last. Added on January 2, 2012. Probably added for similar reasons to Sonnie’s book above. I did read Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, and I even saw a performance of it once. Kept on list for now, but this is a moratorium book.
  • Carroll Wetzel Wilkinson and Courtney Bruch, eds., Transforming Information Literacy Programs: Intersecting Frontiers of Self, Library Culture, and Campus Community. Added to list May 1, 2012. I can guess this was added as part of my reading to keep up with library instruction. However, by now, it is woefully out of date in light of the big change from the Information Literacy Standards to the Information Literacy Framework. At this point, I will be more interested in books dealing with the framework. Removed from list.
  • Carol Smallwood, Librarians as Community Partners: an Outreach Handbook. Added to list on July 7, 2010. I probably added this one when I was doing outreach work at my previous job; to be honest, a lot of the work on outreach I learned by doing it. The book by now is a decade old, so I will go look for something a bit more up to date. Removed from list.
  • John McMillan, Smoking Typewriters: the Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America. Added to list March 3, 2011. No idea why I added this. I am also seeing that reviews on GR are somewhat mixed, so not feeling encouraged to pick it up. Removed from list.
  • Allan Berube, My Desire for History: Essays in Gay, Community, and Labor History. Added on March 11, 2011. I definitely have no idea why this is on my list. Removed.
  • Robert Perkinson, Texas Tough: the Rise of America’s Prison Empire. Added to list on May 22, 2012. I probably added this towards the end of the time I was living in Texas, again before the reading moratorium. Given my later years in Texas were seriously unpleasant, I am avoiding anything that reminds me. Removed from list.
  • Maggie Anderson, Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy. Added to TBR on August 6, 2012. This is one of those books that often get labeled as a “stunt book,” i.e. someone does something out of the ordinary for a fixed period of time, often a year, and then gets a book deal out of it. I’ve read some other books in this genre, and by now, I am kind of tired of it. This one could be interesting but right now it is getting removed from the TBR list.
  • Ana Castillo, Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me. Added on August 13, 2017. I honestly have no idea why this made it to the TBR list. Granted, I do read some Latino literature, but I am not sure how this one got on my radar to be added into the TBR list. I am not likely to get to it anytime soon, so it is getting removed.


On a side note, I am noticing some books on the TBR that I have read, but apparently failed to update the TBR list, or more likely, when I read them it was a different edition. Goodreads is not particularly good about figuring out when two editions may be the same book and adjusting, so one has to go in by hand and update things. So that is another exercise I will be doing down the road.

This is only 10 books from a very quick scan of the Goodreads TBR list, and these are the ten I chose for this post. From 803 books, I purged the list down to 776 as of this post, and I will be purging that list more down the road. So yea, I may pick another 10 or 20 more books to try to guess why the heck they got on the TBR list.

Until then, keep on reading.

This is my deck interview spread for the Panda Tarot (link to my review of the deck at The Itinerant Librarian). To read the spread, the top position is the first position, then read clockwise.

Panda Tarot deck interview spread_051720 small

Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?

Three of Swords. Clearly not sugar coating things here. We are going straight to the heart, cutting to the chase. This deck will tell it to you as it is no matter how hard it may be. You may find hard strong lessons to learn here. Deck is not a lightweight as you may think. When you are feeling heartache, pain, sorrow, this may be the deck to pull out. Sure, there may be heartache and/or a hard lesson, but the ache will pass, and if you have to through it, this deck can be the friend to help you get through it.


What are your strengths as a deck?

The Magician-I. Versatility. Creativity. Help with ingenuity, creativity, expressing your will and yourself. It will remind you that more often than not you do have the tools and skills you need, so put them to work. This is a deck to use with confidence. If you put the discipline and work, this deck is a great tool for divination, magic, reflection, so on. Do what you will, what you need, this deck offers versatility. It can do most everything you need and want to do.


What are your limits as a deck?

Ace of Wands. Fiery and passionate things. Some spiritual things could be a limit. Wands are often associated with creativity, so you may have to work a bit harder for creativity here, but the Magician’s will can carry it through with work. Be careful not to get unrealistic or too passionate. This is not a deck to hurry things up.


What are you here to teach me?

Seven of Swords. Ingenuity and creativity, to act and work by your wits and smarts. I am seeing now the limit above is not so much creativity; it is more rushing and acting too quickly. Learn here how to use wits, read the signs, so you can evade danger and what is not good for you. Also teach you to see signs, read signs so you can see when deception is afoot. See things for what they are, and if you are in a tight spot, work to find options to get out of it.


How can I best learn and collaborate with you?

Four of Cups. By keeping an open mind. By doing your best to see all options, not just ones in front of you, but other options that may come or be offered. Do not just sit. Move. Dance to the rhythm, let yourself be inspired. Embrace the range of emotions. Allow a little playfulness, don’t be so serious all the time.


What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

King of Swords. Work with me, the deck say, and in time you can master yourself. This is the great work, the good work, to learn, study, and master yourself. You’ll gain clearer thinking, learn hard lessons as well as easier lessons, and you’ll be able to cut through lies, untruths, and bullshit. You may gain confidence in thinking and reasoning as you clear the mind.


I observed three cards in this six card spread come from the suit of swords. This deck can cut; it can be blunt, but it can also cleanse as fresh air and clarify thinking. If you need to cut across for answers, this deck is good for that.


(crossposted from The Itinerant Librarian)

Found this prompt via Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. I am an academic librarian, so I work in an academic library. However, I do make time and enjoy visiting my local public library. Questions are as provided.

How often to you visit your local library?

Before the coronavirus hit, I used to visit every Sunday, usually before I went to work my Sunday shift. I have not visited since the virus shut it down, along with most of everything else.

Are you the type of person who checks out more books than you know you can read or are you someone who only checks out the exact amount of books you intend on reading before they are due?

I check out more than I can read. I like to have a little extra just in case. I can always renew them (unless the book gets recalled but that is very rare), and if not, I just return them and try again later. I do not mind giving the public library a little extra boost in their circulation stats.

How old were you when you got your first library card?

I was an adult when I got one to be honest. While my parents had books in the house, and they did encourage reading, they never took us to the public library like other parents might with their kids. My schools had small school libraries, but those were just the places you went to do homework, get some encyclopedia to do that one research paper, or the quiet place to hang out during recess if you were an introvert. To be honest I had no idea what the heck my school librarians did all day since they did not promote reading per se, or do any form of reader’s advisory, or all those things school librarians today brag about doing.

As for public libraries, yea, I knew they existed but since my parents never took me to one really, except one time I recall for some school work, and we never went back, I have no idea what happened in there until later in life. If memory serves me right, I got my first public library card when I was around 18 or so at the college town I was in at the time.

When I think about it, it is a bit of a miracle I became a librarian because unlike most librarians I do not have one of those “a librarian read to me when I was a kid” or other such sweet memory. What I do have is that an academic librarian encouraged me to go to library school when I was in graduate school after my first masters. All I can say is she probably saved my life at that time, and I owe her for it.

Do you go to your library looking for a particular book or do you check out anything that peaks your interest? 

I usually go in to browse and see what catches my eye. Once in a while I may have something specific in mind, but most of the time I just go in, browse, and see what I can find.

Do you use your library to check out just books or do you also check out dvds, audiobooks etc.? 


Yes, I do use my library to check out DVDs and audiobooks. However, the selection of physical audiobooks is pretty poor and out of date at my local branch, so lately I have been trying out Overdrive and Hoopla for that.


From what section of your library do you check out a majority of your books? ( YA, middle grade, adult, nonfiction.)


From that big shelf of returns by the entrance to my library branch. When you walk in, you have the new books shelf, which I look over but rarely check anything from it mainly because new books get a two weeks due time; I can’t read that fast. Next to that is the returns shelf, the staging area where books returned are place before they get reshelved.  I often find something good to read there, and they are usually older books (i.e. no longer “new”) so they get a four weeks due date. I do browse other parts of the library, but I always start in the returns shelf.



What is your favorite part of using your local library? 


Well, it is free. In my case, the local branch may be small but it is nice. Plus they can always bring materials over from the main branch if I want something not at my branch.


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

This is the monthly wrap up of book reviews from The Itinerant Librarian for the month of June 2020.


Here is my media roundup of films and television for the month of June 2020. The highlight for me was the 2010 British show Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, which had the full run streaming on Tubi. It was a nice discovery.

September 2020


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 502 other followers

%d bloggers like this: