Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘hispanic/latino

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.




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.


Another week, and another bunch of books I would like to read someday. As the saying goes, so little times, so many books.

Items about books I want to read:

  • I continue adding to my interest to learning more about bourbon with Bourbon: a History of the American Spirit. The book was reviewed in San Francisco Book Review.
  • Given the current political climate in the United States, this book sounds like a necessary read. The book is Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You The Right To Tell Other People What To Do. The book was reviewed in San Francisco Book Review.
  • Let’s add in some more history. I often like reading about periods or events in history that may not be widely known. Astoria, about how Thomas Jefferson and John Jacob Astor attempted to create a western trading empire, sounds interesting. It was featured in San Francisco Book Review.
  • As I have written before, I am always interested in books about books and the book trade. So I am adding The Art of the Publisher to the list. It was discussed in The Christian Science Monitor.
  • Here is a little something to help diversify my reading for one. Plus I think some of my feminist friends may be interested in this one as well. The book is My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, and it was reviewed in Mother Jones magazine.
  • I remember living through the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The event is often portrayed as this big “American victory,” but as often is the case in history, things are not as simple as that (nor is that vision really true). You can learn more about the reality of what happened in The Last Empire, which was reviewed in San Francisco Book Review.
  • Here is something on higher education in the United States and China. In this article from Inside Higher Ed, “In Palace of Ashes: China and the Decline of American Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press), Mark S. Ferrara contrasts the ‘downward trajectory’ of American higher education against the rise of China’s university system.”
  • Via Drinkhacker, a review of a book on tiki drinks, you know, those nice tropical drinks that evoke some island paradise when done well. The book is Tiki Drinks: Tropical Cocktails for the Modern Bar.
  • Here is another one via Drinkhacker, this time on beer. The book is Beer for all Seasons.
  • I do like vintage things, and yes, I do like adult films and entertainment, so naturally I like vintage and older porn and adult entertainment. Thus a book like Graphic Thrills Volume 2 (apparently there is a volume one too) on adult film vintage posters is of interest. You can find the review in The Rialto Report.


Lists and bibliographies:

  • An older item, but still of interest: the first translations of a set of Zapatista children’s textbooks is available as a free download. Story via Global Voices.
  • There is a graphic novel adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Catch is Boom Studios! for some reason thought putting it out in 6 volumes instead of one large volume was a good idea.We’ll see if I can find a set. Story via Wink Books.
  • I will admit that I have not watched the Netflix show “Narcos.” To be honest, I could not care less about Netflix, but that is another story. Anyhow, I do have an interest in the topic of narcos in Latin America overall, so this list of books for folks waiting for the next season of the show interested me anyhow. From the list, I have read Gabriel García Márquez’s News of a Kidnapping, which I do recommend.
  • Via the blog RA for all: Horror, here is a list of small presses in the genre, which I am saving to look over later.
  • Here is more on movie posters. Via Wink Books blog, two books on James Bond movie posters.
  • Via The Booklist Reader, a list of books on creativity.

Here is the list of books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian for the month of September 2015. As always, comments are welcome. So if you find any of these interesting and/or you read them, feel free to let me know your thoughts. Links go to the book reviews.


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.

Welcome back folks. This is my list of the books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian for the month of April 2015. I will mention these are not necessarily ones I read in April; it is the ones I managed to get reviewed in the month. As always, if you find one of them interesting enough to read, feel free to let me know. Comments are welcome.

  • I continue to enjoy Scott Snyder’s American Vampire series. This is still one of the best comics series going on at this time. This month, I reviewed volume 4 and  volume 7 in the series.
  • I read a little bit of Western with All-Star Western, Volume One and All-Star Western, Volume 2.  If you like Gotham City, this comic series gives you a look at the early days of that city way before Batman.
  • Did a little blend of erotic romance with gothic fiction. This month I reviewed Mitzi Szereto’s Darker Edge of Desire.
  • I read a little manga as I finished off the other two volumes I had of the Spawn: Shadows of Spawn series.
  • In the American South, manners, or at least gentility and the appearance of manners, are of utmost important. As I learned in reading this book, Being Dead is No Excuse. Learn not only the proper manners for a funeral but also, and likely more important, what to do for the reception after the funeral and cemetery burial.
  • I took a ride in a very different amusement park with Deadman Wonderland, Volume 1.
  • I enjoyed a bit more Star Wars, Shakespeare style, with The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return. This really has been a fun series to read.
  • I am a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, especially the originals (you know, before Nickelodeon and others sanitized them for kids). If you want to go back to the early days, IDW is putting out a new compilation, and I started reading it with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 1.
  • Now just because I have a soft spot for early TMNT, it does not mean that I do not enjoy modern iterations. This crossover was neat, and one the kids will likely enjoy. The book is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters.
  • This one will go down as one of my best reads in 2015 when I do my end of year reading reflection and list. It is a book I think that more people should read to learn more about the mortuary industry and more. The book is Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.
  • I continue reading the manga series Adolf. This month, I reviewed the third volume.
  • I always find the process of making alcoholic spirits to be interesting. In addition, since moving to Kentucky, I have been a  bit more interested in learning about bourbon. So, to help that interest along, I recently read Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.
  • This was a graphic novel that I will admit I was not sure what to make of it. Perhaps one of you folks might want to try it and let me know what they think. The work is Dark Engine, Volume 1. This is one that I may or not seek out the next volume.
  • I finally got the review up for the last book the Dean’s Faculty Book Reading Group read on campus. The book is Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies. If the topic of migrant workers interests you at all, this is one to read.

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and freedom. The march is very often known for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech that is known now as the “I Have a Dream Speech.” But there were also other things happening and other people involved in the march. Here are then some links that may be of interest:

This article from The New York Times on the work that the public libraries in Queens, NYC do caught my eye. It is about how they cater and meet the needs of a very diverse polyglot population. I will admit that if I was single with nothing to lose, so to speak, this would definitely be the kind of librarianship I would want to practice: in a diverse multicultural setting where various languages thrive. And I’d be happy too if they sent me to the Feria de Libros in Guadalajara to buy Spanish books (haha, that’d be a bonus). In the end, much of it would be low salary in relation to cost of living issue for me; I probably could not afford to live then in relation to what they pay. Certainly not an academic setting, but maybe the community-mindedness in me, the opportunities and challenges for things like outreach, like instruction (to an extent), working with diverse people that have clear and significant needs are things that make this kind of work appealing to me.I think for a bilingual librarian like me who is comfortable working with diverse populations and is willing to keep on learning this could be a good job.

Anyhow, just some random thoughts.

July 2017
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