Alchemical Thoughts

Time flies, and the list  of books I want to read keeps growing. Such is life. One thing I realized about these posts is the lists and bibliography parts. In those parts, I try to find lists of books on topics that are of interest, relevant to current times, or have something to offer to readers. Keeping those lists handy I think can be a good tool for reader’s advisory.

As always, if you find something useful or interesting in these posts, or you read any of these books, come back and let me know  your thoughts. Comments are open.

 

Items about books I want to read:

  • Let’s go back in time a bit with Red Star Tales: A Century of Russian and Soviet Science Fiction. I saw this at Boing Boing.
  • Americans are barely literate when it comes to politics and knowing different types of political systems. Though this book is reared for children, it may be helpful for a lot of U.S. adults to finally learn what communism actually is so they can stop embarrassing themselves because they cannot tell a communist from a socialist from an anarchist, so on. For some folks, you have to give them the information in a simple way their minds can understand. The book is Communism for Kids, and it was mentioned in TeleSur.
  • The Texas Observer calls this book the first must-read of the Pendejo in Chief’s era (they did not use that label, but I am not naming him, so there). The book is Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli. According to the article, the book “is based on Luiselli’s experiences as a volunteer interpreter in federal immigration court in New York City. The book is organized around the 40-question intake interview that volunteers administer to each new child asylum-seeker.”
  • Julio Cortazar delivered a series of lectures on literature at Berkeley, and there is a new translation of those lectures available. The English edition is Literature Class. If you are like me and prefer to read them in original Spanish, Clases de literatura is also available. I read about this via The Atlantic.
  • A book on the impact companies like Google have on our lives, and no, it is not all positive. The book is Move Fast and Break Things, and it was discussed at AlterNet.
  • Next we have a reference book that may be a bit unusual. The book is U.F.O. Sightings Desk Reference. It was discussed in The New York Times as part of a story about more people seeing more U.F.O.’s. It sounds like a fun book to add to our reference collection, but I am not sure I can convince the other librarians to get it.
  • So, can you tell the difference between the Pendejo In Chief’s residence and the palaces of dictators around the world? Here is a book that might help: Dictator Style: Lifestyles of the World’s Most Colorful Despots.   The book was mentioned at AlterNet.
  • I am not always a fan of yet another fairy tale retelling, but this look at Snow White as a noir tale in Depression-era Manhattan does look intriguing enough to give it a try. The book is Snow White: a Graphic Novel, and it was featured in Wink Books.
  • I always enjoy a good trivia book, and I do like books about alcohol and drinking culture. This book combines both in looking at the science and trivia of alcohol including production, preparation, consumption as well as dispelling a myth or two. The book is Distilled Knowledge, and it was reviewed at Drinkhacker.
  • Let’s do a little fiction, in this case horror. This one made me think of other books I have read such as The Repossession Mambo (link to my review of that). The book is A Night at the Dream Theater (no WorldCat record on that one, so link to the big online retailer), and the premise is this: “takes place in a sci-fi/parallel future world where worth is determined by employment. Without a job a person is instantly without a home, money, or protection.” That sounds more like modern times than a horror dystopia, but I am still intrigued. I heard about the book at Horror Novel Reviews.
  • When you think of the War in Iraq, you may think of books featuring soldier accounts or other daring exploits (at least what most Americans would read). However, this is a different book. It looks at the absurd bureaucracies you find in war from the man who had the task of interrogating Saddam Hussein when he was caught. One of the small problems? Well, apparently the U.S. was not quite prepared to deal with capturing Saddam alive. That is just the beginning. The book is Debriefing the President, and it was reviewed at Los Angeles Review of Books.
  • Think white supremacist thought, racism, so on are recent ideas in the U.S.? Think the Nazis just came up with their racial purity ideas out of the blue? Turns out the Nazis got quite a bit of inspiration from the good old U.S. of A., and you can learn more about that in the book Hitler’s American Model. The book was reviewed in Inside Higher Ed.
  • The Library of Congress highlights on their blog a new book out that may be of interest to folks like me who like visual things. The book is Picturing America: the Golden Age of Pictorial Maps.
  • The Food Politics blog highlights a book on how fast food companies used government help to enter inner cities and help the obesity epidemic grow. The book is Supersizing Urban America.

 

Lists and bibliographies:

I see that I ran a bit behind in posting this, so here we go. These are the books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian for the month of March 2017. Links go to my reviews. Feel free to check them out, and as always, comments are open.

 

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

For the moment, I am caught up with these posts. With the reading challenges set in January, I was able to get back to book reviewing in February. There is a bit of everything this month, so I hope my three readers find something of interest. As always, comments are welcome.

 

  • I read about the history of paper with Paper: Paging Through History. However, this book was a a bit underwhelming to be honest. I think I will hold out for the other book on the topic by Nicholas Basbanes.
  • I learned a few lessons about life from wiseguys in The Way of the Wiseguy. This book is by the author of Donnie Brasco.
  • I also took a trip to 1851 to read about The Thousand Dollar Dinner. Before things like Iron Chef and Top Chef and all those other crappy competition shows that followed, this was the celebrity chef cook off of the day.
  • In graphic novels, I read Bushido: the Soul of the Samurai, which is an adaptation of a classic work on Bushido.
  • Here is a little classic humor with  Zits: Sketchbook 1.
  • If you hate, or love to hate, those fake “history” or pseudoscience documentaries on certain cable networks (you know the ones), you might appreciate the horror of Rolling in the Deep.
  • And I ended the month  with  a bit more of classic humor via The MAD Bathroom Companion: the Gushing Fourth Edition.

 

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

You can tell I have not checked this blog for a while as I am running a bit behind on these posts. This time we have the first books I reviewed for 2017. This month  I did not review many books because I was using January to set up my reading challenges for 2017. So I only  reviewed one book in January, but it is a good one. As always, if you read any of the books I review, please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, whether you liked a book or not.

 

 

 

CuriousGeorgeReading

Time sure flies. So many books, so little time as they say. We have made it to 72 of these lists of books I want to read someday. This post feels a bit more important as I included a few book lists to help out folks who may need comfort or understanding during the Hard Times we are facing. As always, if you read any of these, feel free to comment and let me know what you thought of a book.

Items about books I want to read:

  • Via NPR, a book about the decline of one American factory town. The town is Lancaster, Ohio, and the book is Glass House.
  • When I was an undergrad, one of the courses I had to take for  history teaching minor was in ancient history. One of the books I had to read for that class was the Lives of Plutarch. The edition was not particularly memorable; I think it was the Penguin edition. However, there is a new translation out entitled The Age of Caesar that covers five of Plutarch’s Roman lives. The translation is done by Pamela Mensch. I think  I may give Plutarch another chance. Story via The Christian Science Monitor.
  • I like free books, and books that help me in my work, even better. Via the Information Literacy Weblog I discovered the Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching (link to the book resource).
  • Not a free book, unless I managed to get it via Interlibrary Loan maybe, but still it could help with my work. There is a new book on librarians and serving diverse populations out. The book is Information Services to Diverse Populations: Developing Culturally Competent Library Professionals by Nicole Cooke, and here is the announcement of the book’s release from her employer.
  • Library Juice Press announces they have a new book on social justice and the LIS classroom. This may be more for LIS college professors than practitioners in the field, but it may be worth a look. The book is Teaching for Social Justice: Implementing Social Justice in the LIS Classroom.
  • Here is a book about libraries, specifically Carnegie Libraries. The book is Free to All: Carnegie Libraries & American Culture, 1890-1920, and it was briefly mentioned at LIS News.
  • I always like books about bar culture, its lore and history, even though I am not much into bars personally (I like the concept, just not the execution and culture these days). This new book is “a sort of compilation of a dozen or more ‘Old Books, with a particular focus on two Waldorf-centric books from the 1930s. In nearly 400 pages, Caiafa takes you through an alphabetical exploration of the classics, providing their recipes, variations, backstories, and in-depth context for every cocktail’s creation.” Features old books? That is just a bonus for me. The book is The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, and it was reviewed at Drinkhacker.
  • Via 20th Century Man, a  suggestion to read Dean R. Koontz’s Demon Seed novel. I am thinking maybe having a feature on the main book blog where I go back and review older, classics and other not so well remembered books. Stay tuned.
  • Claire Conner, author of Wrapped in the Flag, which is “narrative history of the infamous ultra-conservative John Birch Society, written by one of its founder’s daughters” (from the book’s description), recently had a post in Crooks and Liars entitled “The Radical Right Runs America, But Democrats Still Don’t Get It.” In the post, she highlights the book and discusses how the Democrats and the Left in the U.S. basically do not get it despite all the warnings, signs, evidence, so on. I can certainly point  to a  few books  I have read already in addition to Ms. Conner’s that explain just fine what is going on and how we got to having the Pendejo in Chief in the White House. The bottom line is the warnings and signs were all there to be seen, but many chose not to see while the bigots, misogynists, ultra conservatives dug in and then blew things up. I have not read Conner’s book yet, but I am adding it to my list and hope to get to it soon.
  • I have not added any new, or at least new to me, mangas in a while, so here is Goblin Slayer, Volume 1. It was reviewed at A Case for Suitable Treatment.

 

Lists and bibliographies:

  • With the election  of the Pendejo in Chief as President of the United States and the ascendancy of his party, there are major concerns when it comes to women’s health and rights. One of those concerns is the Roe v. Wade decision that every other “pro-lifer” wants to abolish because women dying in back alleys is a small price to pay to keep those uppity women in place. If you want to learn more about how it was before that judicial decision, here is a list of books on “What Life Was Like Before Roe v. Wade in 7 Books.” Go read a book or two and get a clue as needed. Story via Signature.
  • Also via Signature, another list to help during the Hard Times where lies (oops, alternative facts) seem to be the order of the day. So, to help inoculate you from the bullshit, here is “Myth Busting Books: 13 Antidotes to ‘Alternative Facts‘”.
  • One more from Signature to help with the Hard Times. There has been  a lot about Russia in the news recently, so to help out here is “Spy vs. Spy: 13 Books on the Shadowy Past of Russia-US Relations.
  • Another type of book that some folks may  want to read during the Hard Times ahead are the Latin American novels of the dictator. Book Riot has a list of four of these for your consideration. And yes, there are others we could add to the list. I have read two from the list.
  • Book Riot also has a list of “100 Must-Read Graphic Memoirs.” I do not think every single title is a must-read, but there are some gems in the pile if you have the patience to look.
  • The Information Literacy Weblog has a small list of some free books on social media research overseas with links to the resources.

 

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

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

This is the last batch of book reviews I did for 2016. If you missed any, click the links below and check them out. As always, if you read any, feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts. Also, suggestions for things you think I may want to read are always welcome. Links below go to my reviews.

 

CuriousGeorgeReading

A new year is here, and we have a new list of books I would like to read some day. So many  books, and  so little time. Still, I do want to remember, which is why I keep these lists.

Items about books I want to read:

  • I happen to like H.P. Lovecraft and his works. I recently got as a  gift a nice edition of his complete fiction, which I hope to be reading soon. In addition, I have gotten more interested in his works and The Necronomicon that is featured in some of his works in light of my Tarot studies. The Tarot angle comes from the fact that there is a Necronomicon Tarot that I would like to acquire down the road. The deck is created by Donald Tyson, who has a trilogy of works in the Necronomicon world, including the deck. So I am interested  in reading as much as I can about the Necronomicon. So this is a long bit of background to mention that Lovecraft did write his own small history of his fictional work, The History of the Necronomicon, in 1927, and I would like to read that too sometime. There is a 1980 reprint some libraries have. You can also read  it online for free (turns out it is a very short thing. However, that site also is a Lovecraft archive, and you can read many if not all of his  works  online for free). The work was mentioned in the Quo Vadis blog.
  • While Obama was president, there was  the possibility  of opening relations with Cuba. With the Orange One, not so sure. Still learning about the island nation is a good thing, and here is a recent book to help with that. The book is To Have Been There, which is “a memoir by Gregory Randall about growing up in “revolutionary” Cuba from the late 1960s to the early ‘80s.” The book is a translation of the original from Spanish. That one was published in 2013, and the title is Estar allí Entonces. As of this post, I could not find libraries with  the English edition (it is new at the  moment), but a few do have the one in Spanish, and that works for me just fine. The book was discussed at The Rumpus.
  • Here we have a look at some of the first world problems of privileged parents of kids in Brooklyn, New York City. It is labeled as a satirical novel. The book is Class, and it is “Lucinda Rosenfeld’s stiletto-sharp new novel about the quandaries and neuroses that consume the lives of a small swath of privileged white public-school parents in Brooklyn…”. I am usually not much into regular literary fiction, but this sounds interesting enough for me to consider it. I heard about the book via The New York Times.
  • Also via The New York Times, a new book by Michael Eric Dyson. I have liked his writing before, but he is one  of those authors that gets me upset at the state of the world. Yet, like Jonathan Kozol and some others, the work is still important. Dyson’s new book is Tears We Cannot Stop.
  • Matt Taibbi also has a  new book out. This one is looking at the 2016 elections in the United States. The book is Insane Clown President, and I saw it at Truthout.
  • Benjamin Walker’s podcast The Theory of Everything highlights the book The Twentieth of January, a 1980s spy thriller ”
    about a KGB plot — uncovered by a British intelligence agent — to get their stooge elected president of the US!” An interesting thing I am noticing lately is people going back to old books such as dystopias, thrillers, and even horror to find how they “predicted” or somehow reflect the Hard Times now. This book certainly does make you wonder. It certainly seems that a good number of fictional scenarios that may have seen horrifying or ridiculous back when are actually becoming reality. Anyhow, if you prefer to read the discussion, there is a transcript for the podcast. I first learned of this via Boing Boing.
  • On a lighter note, The Well-Appointed Desk reviews the book The year of Living Danishly.
  • The Christian Science Monitor features a review of a new biography of Rumi. The book is Rumi’s Secret.
  • Via the Contemporary Japanese Literature blog, a review of a translation of the Japanese horror novel The Graveyard Apartment.
  • trashcompactorzine blog recently posted a photo of the cover of Creepy Presents Richard Corben. It is a collection of Corben’s work for Creepy and Eerie magazines.
  • Mark Lindner of habitually probing generalist reviewed a new graphic novel biography of Johnny Cash (well, new to me). I have enjoyed a few other graphic novel biographies, and this one looks good, so I am glad to be adding it to my list of books to read. The book is Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness.
  • I enjoy alcoholic spirits in moderation, and as I may have mentioned before, I do enjoy reading about them, their history, and how they get made. Living in Kentucky now, I have gotten more interested in learning about bourbon whiskey, so books on the topic are of interest. Drinkhacker offers a review of Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey.
  • According to tales that may or not be apocryphal, Aleister Crowley used his occult powers to help the British against Hitler. I am not sure where the truth starts and the myth takes over, but it sounds like a great story. Lo and behold someone made a graphic novel of it. The book is Aleister & Adolf, and this is one I definitely want to read. It was reviewed by Wink Books. In addition, Dangerous Minds has a small interview with the author of the graphic novel.
  • The Los Angeles Review of Books reviews a novel described as barrio noir. Part of the reason it caught my eye is because Santa Muerte is figured prominently in the book, and it is being compared to Neil Gaiman’s work. The book is Zero Saints.
  • Over at Little Red Tarot, Liz Worth gives advice on that to do if a Tarot reading confuses you (as reader) and promotes her book Going Beyond the Little White Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot. It is self-published, so you can visit Ms. Worth’s online shop to acquire a copy.

 

 

Lists and  bibliographies:

  • Via The Guardian, a list of dystopias other than Nineteen-Eighty Four that may be of interest in these Hard Times. It is a pretty good list. I would add to it The Repossession Mambo (link to my review), which was basis of the film Repo Men. I have already read two from the list: The Handmaid’s Tale (which I did not care for) and Brave New World.
  • The title of this list says it all: “6 Books That Explain How the GOP Went Crazy.” If you need to understand how we got to the Hard Times, or you were not paying attention, reading some of these books might help. Via New York Magazine.
  • At Based on a True Story, a list of some underrated books they would like you to consider. The blogger, much like me, often reads “a lot of books that other people have never heard of.”
  • The American Library Association’s (ALA) Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has released their list of notable books for 2017. Some of you may find this of interest. They also have a list of best for 2017 in genre fiction. I am a librarian who feels he is fairly well informed, and I had no idea there is a genre called “adrenaline.” I get the feeling RUSA made that one up.
  • Comic Book Resources (CBR) offers a list of “The 16 Best War Comics.” I think it would be worth the effort tracking many of these old gems down.
  • Signature always makes good lists of books to understand issues. This time we have a list of “6 Books to Better Understand (and Solve) Homelessness in America.” I can certainly see understanding it, but solving it? Americans are notorious for ignoring big problems and for being overall selfish. Sure, a one-time disaster like a hurricane happens, and they pour out donations, but caring in general for their fellow human beings? Heck no. I would not hold my breath waiting for that to happen. Yet I hope.
  • Signature also offers a list helpful for the Hard Times, a list of “7 Books to Understand the Incoming Trump Administration.” Well, it is no longer incoming, but reading some of this may help better understand how the U.S. got here. These are not books about Trump, except for his Trump: the Art of the Deal, but rather books about issues that the new regime will face such as Putin, China, and Syria.
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