Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘books and reading

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 for September 2017. If you missed any, or you find any of interest, feel free to check them out. Comments are always  welcome.



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

This is the list with links for books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian during the month of August 2017. If you missed any or are curious, feel free to check them out.


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.



March 2018
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