Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘books and reading

Today we have some short list prompts, so I am doing them together.

Day 2: Top 5 Tarot decks of 2018 (ones you purchased or released in 2018):

I was fortunate to be able to get a few new Tarot decks for my use and collection in 2019, so narrowing the list to the top 5 was not easy. I have not gotten around to reviewing them yet, but I hope to do so in 2019. The decks listed are pretty much new to me. My top 5 Tarot decks for 2018 then (in no particular order. Links to Aeclectic unless noted otherwise):

  • Black Cats Tarot: This was on my wish list, and I always wanted at least one cat-themed Tarot deck. It has a nice playfulness that I like. The Better Half saw it and liked it too, so I’ll probably buy her a copy of her own soon.
  • Tarot Apokalypsis: This and the Tarot Illuminati have been in my wish list for a while, but they were relatively low priority. However, the local esoteric bookstore I visit once in a while in the big city was having a serious sale on some older decks, and Tarot Apokalypsis, the full hardcover book and deck kit, was on sale for about $17 or so (it retails for about $38), so it was a deal I could not pass up. I grabbed it the moment I saw it.
  • Thelema Tarot, and the Arcanum Tarot (link to Amazon), by Renata Lechner. The Thelema was part of that same sale I mentioned above, and I got the Arcanum Tarot a bit later in the year. They are by the same author, so I am counting them as one. Lechner has her version of a Thoth deck, the Millennium Thoth Tarot (link to Llewellyn), which I am hoping to acquire down the road. As of this post, that one is on pre-order.
  • The Necronomicon Tarot: Another one that was on my wish list for a good while. Amazingly, Half Price Books had a used copy of the set, book and deck, in good condition and at a good price, so I finally got this. I am looking forward to re-reading H.P. Lovecraft’s tales as well as Donald Tyson’s books related to the deck as I get to work with the deck.
  • Ludy Lescot Tarot: I bought this, which was also on my wish list, when Llewellyn had their annual decks’ sale. Great art on this one.

Day 3: Top 5 Oracle decks of 2018 (ones you purchased or released in 2018):

This was also a good year for oracle decks for me. My top 5 for 2018 are (again, no particular order):

  • Santa Muerte Oracle (link to Llewellyn): This was new for 2018. I pre-ordered this one. I already have the Santa Muerte Tarot, so I knew I had to add this companion oracle deck to my collection. It has the same style as the Tarot deck but there are also some key differences that will make it interesting to work with this deck.
  • Divine Circus Oracle: Another on my wish list I managed to get in 2018.
  • Mystical Shaman Oracle: A recent deck by Collette Baron-Reid in collaboration with Alberto Villoldo and Marcela Lobos. Usually retails for about $40, but Amazon during the holidays had it on sale for a bit under $20, so I grabbed it while the grabbing was good. The book and deck kit comes in a very good box, and presentation overall is excellent. Art on the cards is very good too. This is one I know I will have to put in some good time to work with it.
  • Fairy Lenormand Oracle: Learning Lenormand was not high on my priority list. I knew I wanted to learn it some day but not soon. Then I saw this deck, which is by Davide Corsi, author of the Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night (link to my review of that Tarot deck), in collaboration with Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin, and I said to myself now is the time. I even subscribed to a small free set of e-mail lessons on Lenormand and got myself a good book on the topic to start learning.
  • Gilded Reverie Lenormand (link to Amazon): This is Ciro Marchetti’s Lenormand deck. I’ve enjoyed some of his other decks, so I felt it was a natural thing to get his Lenormand deck. I already had one, why not one more? If you like Ciro’s art style and Lenormand interests you, this may be for you too. I have the more recent expanded edition, which has 8 more cards in addition to the traditional 36; you can use or remove them from use as you wish.


Day 4: Top 5 Tarot books of 2018 (ones you purchased and/or were released in 2018).

I did not read too many Tarot and/or esoterica/occult books in 2018, so five is a good number as it is about the amount of books in this category I read. Links go to my reviews (unless noted otherwise):



You can find Ethony Dawn’s prompts, including a video explaining the prompts, over on her blog. The social media hashtag for this one is #31DaysOfTarot19.

Welcome to another installment in my series of books I want to read. It’s been a while (since June or so of this year) since I have posted here, and I am glad to get something written and posted. In this post, I have added a new feature, “quarantined” books. This is basically books I would like to read, but due to my self-imposed moratorium on political/activist/social issues books I am not getting to them any time soon. I figure that people who do not need to mind their sanity as much as I do in these Hard Times may be interested in such books. I have been working on this particular post in and out for a good while now. Life has kept me busy, so I have been adding to it as I can, and today I can finally share it. Happy reading.



Items about books I want to read:


“Quarantined” books (books that fall under my self-imposed moratorium on politics, activism, etc.). A new category in this series. I am currently under a moratorium on reading anything political, activist, social justice, and such, and I am hoping that moratorium will end some day. . .maybe. . . once the Hard Times end. In the meantime, these are books I would usually read, but I am not in order to keep the sanity, but I am still listing them because I hope a day will come I will feel I can read them again.

  • A  look at why the middle class in the U.S. is not doing well. The book is Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America. It was discussed over at AlterNet.
  • The U.S. has been griping about Russian meddling in U.S. elections and such. However, the U.S. has no ground to stand on morally because it has its own very extensive history of election meddling in other nations. This is discussed over in The Atlantic, including highlights of the book Covert Regime Change (link to publisher. As of this post, the book was not published yet).
  • New book looking at the continuing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The book is The Poisoned City, and it was reviewed at The Christian Science Monitor.
  • Thomas Frank has a book out on what Democrats and liberals in general keep getting wrong about “Main Street USA.” The book is Rendezvous with Oblivion, and he discusses it in an interview at Truthout.
  • Private prisons are a big business in the United States, and they are not in the business of treating prisoners well. NPR takes a look at the book American Prison, where an investigative reporter went undercover and worked as a corrections officer in one of those private prisons to expose what really goes on inside.


Lists and bibliographies:



The list of books I would like to read some day keeps on growing. Here are a few more. As always, book links go to WorldCat unless otherwise noted.

Items about books I want to read:



Lists and bibliographies:



In 2018, I made a self-imposed moratorium on reading any book related to politics, social issues, social justice, activism, or other similar topics. After reading White Trash, which I did for our campus Dean’s Faculty Reading Group, I mostly got burned out. So I am pretty much reading a lot of light and escapist stuff. However, I do anticipate a day when I may go back to reading such books, so I am including some of those on my list. Yet it may be a good while before I read those kinds of books again. I pretty much embarked on the #AllOutOfFucksToGiveTour, and I am pretty happy about it. Meanwhile, let’s see what books I am adding to my ever growing TBR list this time. As always, book title links go to WorldCat unless otherwise noted.


Items about books I want to read:


Lists and bibliographies:




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.

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.


January 2019
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