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.

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

This is my list of books that I reviewed on my blog, The Itinerant Librarian for the month  of October 2016. If you missed any of them, or you wish  to check them out, feel free to click on the links below. If you read any  of them, let me know in the  comments. Also, if you have any ideas for books you think I should read, you can comment as well.

  • I finally got to read Gaysia, which I have wanted to read for a while. Here is a bit of what I wrote in the review: “This is definitely a great travelogue and observation of the LGBTQIA experience in Southeast Asia. If you were to travel that part of the world, then Benjamin Law would make a great guide. He has a great ability to observe, which he combines with great writing plus a very descriptive and evocative style.”
  • For the most part, people tend to loathe meetings. But since we cannot totally get rid of them, you can at leas try to appear smart at them. To this end, I read 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings.
  • I needed some humor this month, so I reread Cable on Academe. I realized I had not written a review for it previously, so I finally wrote a review this month.
  • Finally for this month, I continue  my Tarot studies, and I read Barbara Moore’s Tarot for Beginners. I read this one as an e-book via my public library.

A while back I came across a writing prompt I wanted to try out. The prompt was: if someone gave me a fully loaded gift card, which 10 books would I get right away. I thought this prompt would be easier, but after a bit of thought, I only came up with  three books. Those books are:

  • Ciaphas Cain: Defender of the Imperium. This is the second omnibus of novels in the Ciaphas Cain series. I have already read and own the first volume (link to my review).
  • Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom. I hear this  is a great resource for Tarot study, and I would like to own a personal copy.
  • War Against All Puerto Ricans (link to my review). I have read this, I would like to own a copy for my personal collection.

It is not that I do not read. Far from it. I read a lot. There are just not that many  books I feel I have to buy and own. I borrow a lot of my reading from the academic library I work at as well as my local public library. Plus, I also do a lot of reading through NetGalley. Many books I read I know are not keepers anyhow.

Now, give me that loaded gift card and ask me what 10 Tarot and/or oracle card decks I would buy, and I can make you a list pretty quickly. That is  a list I may write on my Tarot journal, and I may share it here later.

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 list of books I reviewed over at The Itinerant Librarian for the month of September, 2016. If you missed any of the reviews, or you just want to learn more about a book, check out the links. As always, comments are welcome, so if you read any of these, feel free to tell me what you think about the book.

  • I read Silence. This is Thich Nhat Hanh’s treatise on the power of silence and mindfulness.
  • I reread Denis Leary’s Why We Suck. I did it as an audiobook this time. If  you like his stand up comedy, you will probably enjoy this. He reads the audiobook.
  • I read Nicholas Pileggi’s Casino. This book is the basis of the movie with Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone.
  • I read the two volumes of the “Having Coffee with Jesus” comics series.

CuriousGeorgeReading

The list of books I wish to read some day keeps growing, but the time to read them does not always grow to match. Still, I do enjoy making these posts so I can keep track of things I find interesting. In sharing them, I hope it helps a bit in terms of reader’s advisory for folks looking for ideas on books to read.

Items about books I want to read:

 

Lists and bibliographies:

 

 

I saw this bookish writing prompt at Kaizen Journaling a bit of a while back. I had to think about this one for a little bit. I have read so many books over time, and tastes have changed somewhat over time. A challenge for me is that I did not track what I read when I was a kid, so I had to rely on memory to try to remember what I was reading  way back when that I enjoyed enough to remember. Another challenge for more recent years is that I like a lot of different books, so picking favorites is not easy for me. This post will not have a photo since I wrote out my reply here on the spot rather than doing it in my personal journal. As you will when you compare to the original prompt, I adjusted the categories slightly to adjust for my age. So, for the sake of the prompt, here are some choices as of this post. If you ask me next week, or next month, the choices could be very different:

  • Childhood: The Encyclopedia Brown series. If we go a bit further back, I also enjoyed the tales of Frog and Toad.
  • Teens. I think this was the time I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude (in Spanish by the way). This book is my number one all time favorite,  and it will likely remain so for the rest of my life. It is one I reread every few years.
  • Early 20s: I would have been in college as an undergrad. The Robotech series was one I enjoyed to escape the doldrums of college required reading. I still have the set of novels, and I am hoping to reread them soon.
  • Early 30s: Batman: the Long Halloween is one that emerged from those days. I have a tradition now that I reread it every October, near or on Halloween.
  • Today (as of this post): I would say a few volumes in the Warhammer 40,000 series that feature characters I have come to like and admire: Blood Ravens: the Dawn of War omnibus featuring Space Marines Captain Gabriel Angelos, the Ciaphas Cain series, and the Ultramarines novels featuring Space Marines Captain Uriel Ventris. These days, life is pretty much shit. Not my life per se as I am surviving OK, but current events, the world, society, the stupidest election  ever in the United States, shitty media, all that and more make you want just want to get away from it all and as far away as possible. The 41st Millennium seems quite a good distance to leave it all behind.

CuriousGeorgeReading

Welcome to another edition in this series of posts about books I would like to read some day. As always, if you read any of these, feel free to come back and comment to let me know what you thought of a book. Also, if you have ideas and suggestions for books you think I may want to read, let me know as well in the comments. Let’s see what we have for this week.

 

Items about books I want to read:

  • A former chief of police in Seattle, Norm Stamper was recently featured in Democracy Now! discussing police issues in the United States. He has a new book out on the topic, To Protect and to Serve: How to Fix America’s Police. It seems like a timely book that needs for more people to be reading it.
  • Because I find macabre things interesting now and then, I would like to read Beyond the Dark Veil, a collection of Victorian era post-mortem photography. Story about the book via Boing Boing.
  • These days, Jesse Ventura can have his entertaining and even thought provoking moments. However, him explaining why some are voting for Trump is not one of them. Moving along, this piece highlights his new book, which sounds like it could be an entertaining read. The book is S*it Politicians Say. Story about it via Esquire magazine.
  • Next we have a bit of dark humor with 13 Elegant Ways to Commit Suicide. The older book was highlighted at Dangerous Minds.
  • Another book discussing the issues of gun culture and the big business of selling guns in the United States. This time the book is The Gunning of America, and it was reviewed in a full essay in the The Times Literary Supplement.
  • Here is a book about books, or rather in this case about readers. The book is The Reader in the Book, and it was reviewed at Los Angeles Review of Books.
  • Via @TABITarot, a review of The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Spreads. This may be one to consider adding to my collection down the road as a reference source.
  • This is one of those books that I would enjoy browsing through as a child, the kind of book that has a little bit of everything. The book is Mann’s Pictorial Dictionary, and it was featured in Boing Boing.
  • And one more book via Boing Boing. It is a coffee book of what is described as brutalist architecture. The book is This Brutal World.
  • This book could be an interesting proposition. Basically, it can help explain why dumbasses in the poor states, like say the Deep South, take a ton of federal money and aid, and still hate the federal government (and usually vote Republican). The book is American Amnesia. The book was discussed at AlterNet.
  • Bill Moyers’ site has an article looking at class, politics and Trump while highlighting the recent book White Trash, which is a history of class in the U.S.
  • If you like works like Ambrose Bierce’s A Devil’s Dictionary, you may also enjoy Encyclopedia of Hell published by the folks at Feral House. It is sort of an invasion manual for demons to know what they will find when they get to Earth. The book was featured at Boing Boing.
  • I always find stuff on writing and specially handwriting to be of interest, so I am hoping this book will make for good reading. The book is The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, and it was reviewed at Inside Higher Ed.
  • I  am adding this one in part because I feel I should at least look at it. Honestly though, I do not give much of a hoot about student evaluations of their college professors, which for the most part can be petty and pretty meaningless when it comes to actual assessment. That is another conversation for another day. In the meantime, there is a new book highlighting such student comments. The book is To My Professor, and it was reviewed at Inside Higher Ed.
  • Only reason I am linking to this post from the Librarian Shipwreck blog is that  it mentions a book on  the concept of planned obsolescence (a.k.a. the  money grabbing move companies make of making shit products so you have to buy them again every few years, like Apple’s current fuckery regarding the iPhone 7 with  no headphone jack) that I think is worth  a look. The book is mentioned all the way at the bottom of the post, and the book is Digital Rubbish.
  • This book just sounded interesting. The book is Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, and it was reviewed at Rock and Roll Tarot blog.
  • Barbara Moore, one of the big gurus in Tarot, discusses the concept of reading Tarot intuitively on the Llewellyn website, and she also links to the book Tarot Fundamentals, which I may be interested  in reading.
  • Another Tarot book that I might be interested in reading down the road is Tarot Mysteries, which was reviewed at Tarot Notes blog.
  • Sean Gaffney highlights the fourth volume of the manga series Black Bullet. Sounds like one to try out, but I would need to start with the first volume.
  • The Lowrider Librarian reviews the  book The Other Slavery. If you think African American slavery was all there was in the United States, you need to read that book. I know I will be getting to it soon.

 

 

Lists and bibligraphies:

I saw this prompt a good while back over at Booking Through Thursday, and it has been sitting  in my feed reader’s list for a while. I am finally getting around to it. The prompt is as follows:

“How often do you visit a library? Do you go to borrow books? Do research? Check out the multi-media center? Hang out with the friendly and knowledgeable staff? Are you there out of love or out of need?”

This is an interesting question for a librarian. I can say that I visit a library every day of the week since I work at a library. But let’s look at the question in a different way. I am an academic librarian, which means I am a librarian  that works at a college or university library. In my case, it’s a college library. From my library, I do borrow books to read, though not as often as I do from the public library. Much of this is because I read pretty broadly, and I also tend to read a variety  of popular topics that an academic library just does  not pick up. A public library and an academic  library have different missions and serve different populations, so their collection development tends to be different. Thus for some things, I can find them at my library. Other things I rely on the Berea branch of my local public library.

So, what do I get  from my own library? I often get the following from my own library:

  • Some more academic history books.
  • Books about higher education.
  • Some books on social justice issues, especially as related to race, gender, and related issues.
  • Some graphic novels (our library has a graphic novels collection for students to use, mainly recreational. We have some decent holdings, but it is still a work in progress).
  • Items via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). When neither my library nor my local public library have a book I want to read, I can use this service to have my library bring it in from another library. It is one of the big perks of working in an academic institution. Public libraries do offer ILL, but it is rarely as robust as the one  in an academic institution. I have used ILL to get all kinds of books from academic topics to popular books.

What do I get from my public library:

  • Graphic novels. These are often titles my library does not have. They often get things quicker too than we do.
  • History books. In this case, I get more popular history works, the kind that a good informed lay reader would read. A particular subset of this would be microhistories. Those are books that do history on a single topic really well. One example is Mark Kurlansky’s Salt.
  • An art book now and then. This also includes photography books.
  • Humor books.
  • Some popular fiction. I read science fiction, plus some fantasy and horror, so I get books in those categories. This year, I am doing a horror reading challenge, so I get those books through my public library. Brian Keene’s work was a recent discovery from doing the challenge last year.  I do look forward to reading more by him, by the way.
  • In fact, when I do reading challenges, I often get the books for them at my public library.
  • Books on fairly random topics. I am pretty inquisitive, and once in while I will pick up something because it sounds interesting. I have read books about rodeos and fried twinkies, about the history of delis, about the Glock handgun, so on. Recently, I even read the book that  is now basis of the movie War Dogs (by the way, from the looks of recent reviews, skip the movie, read the book).  I am very eclectic as a reader, and I usually find what I need at the public library.
  • Media. I get DVDs for some movies. I like movies, but I would not call myself a movie buff. I also get DVDs for old television shows. Plus, since I am doing an audiobook reading challenge this year, I have been trying out some of their selections. However, in audiobooks, my local public library does leave a lot to be desired.

In the end, I go to my  local public library out of my need as a reader. I usually visit my public library once a week, usually on Sundays. I do get things from my own academic library, but  I read a bit too broadly and eclectically for my academic library. So my public library combined with Interlibrary Loan pretty much get me what I need. In the end, I do love libraries. I am glad I work in one, and  I am happy to use and support my local public library branch.

How about readers out there? Feel free to comment about your own library experiences, what you go to the library for, so on. Or if you do not use your local library, tell me why as well.


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