Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘lgbtq

I have to say that I do not really watch much live television these days. Now I do not want to sound like one of those hipsters who brag about not owning a television set. I like watching television. The problem is that there are not many shows I find appealing or engaging, and the few that I do I just record on the DVR to watch later. That leads me to the other reason I am watching less television: the fucking, seemingly never ending commercials. It’s bad enough you have to pay for cable, and you still get a ton of advertising. That is the nice thing about the DVR; you can zip right through the ads. These days television is more advertising than content. Now some may say I should cut the cord and stream stuff. But honestly, “watching TV” on my computer is not terribly appealing. Heck, I can barely stand watching YouTube for any long stretch of time, which by the way is starting to get irritating since they started also shoving advertising at the beginning of videos. That’s what your other advertising on the side is for, you twits. We keep the cable mostly for the few channels we do record stuff on the DVR from, and around here, because the cable provider is the only one with the high speed internet, so even if I “cut the cord,” I still have to pay those pirates for my internet so I could do the streaming those cable cutters all go gaga about. Not really cutting the cord that much, huh?

So these days, I find myself turning off the television when I can in favor of a few other options. One option is surfing the web and reading stuff online. I have a big and diverse list of sources I follow. I keep track of them on my RSS reader, which though many have given up on, I still use as it helps me keep track of the stuff I am interested in. Also the feed reader holds on to the stuff until I actually read it. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, something will not disappear into the ether if I miss logging in one day. And if too much stuff piles up on the RSS reader, I can always mark as read, and let it build up again. The other thing I do once in a while is watch YouTube. These days, given I am learning how to read Tarot cards, I use it to find tutorials on that as well as videos from other Tarot users and collectors.

Another option for viewing is getting DVDs from my public library. They do not have a terribly big selection given it is a small rural town library, but I usually manage to find something interesting to watch. I often look for older things I may have enjoyed in the past. For instance, they have the complete run of Hill Street Blues, and it was a real pleasure to watch all of it once more. Television networks and channels just do not write shows like that anymore. I have also discovered other things such as Foyle’s War, which they also have the complete series, and I enjoyed it immensely. So go ahead, explore your local public library for things to watch. You never know what you may find, and it will be commercial free (for the most part. Often you do get trailers for other things from the company that put out the DVD).

Finally, the best option for me is reading books. I get my books from various places. I get some from my local public library. Though I work in an academic library, and I do get a book from my workplace once in a while, when it comes to popular types of reading the public library serves my needs better. As I mentioned, I also get some books from the academic library I work in, mostly heavier nonfiction and academic titles. However, I also use the Interlibrary Loan service (ILL) from my academic library to get titles I may want that neither of my libraries have. I do use Interlibrary Loan for both serious books and more escapist fluff. For instance, I am reading through the Horus Heresy, and I usually get that series via ILL. In addition, I do buy some books as well, especially things that I enjoy and that I know my libraries do not carry as a general rule. I buy my books mostly used, but I do get a new one here or there if I feel a need to have it sooner. Finally, since I am a book reviewer, I also get some galleys from various sources, especially via NetGalley. In the end, I have plenty of reading options, and they are all better than most anything television offers these days. Even the recent trend of shows based on comics books (but without the actual heroes) is just not that appealing when I can go read the source material, which is better anyhow.

Bottom line is reading is just a lot more interesting. I get a lot more out of it in terms of learning and entertainment, and I can find more diversity in terms of content that I would on television. That’s my two cents.

For any of my three readers who may be curious, here is what I am reading these days. I am one of those readers who reads more than one book at a time:

  • Nicholas Pileggi, Casino. For some reason, this is a year I have been a bit more interested in books that gave the basis for films. I will also try to read his Wiseguy, which is the basis of the film Goodfellas.
  • Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire. This is one of those that I was lukewarm about reading. I have seen and enjoyed the film. The book does start kind of slow, so I hope it picks up the pace. I am reading it not so much because I want to see how the film messed it up or not but to add a book to my horror challenge reading list for 2016.
  • Benjamin Law, Gaysia. This is one I am enjoying. Benjamin Law takes us on a tour of Asia to see all its queer fabulousness. So far, the travels reveal moving, sometimes funny, sometimes very serious experiences. I will be reviewing this soon.
  • Aaron McConnell,, The Comic Book Story of Beer. Yes, this is a history of beer in graphic novel format.
  • Rachel Kramer Bussel, Dirty Dates. This is my current erotica reading selection. I have been a bit stuck on this one. It has been slow reading not because it is bad. Far from it, it is very good. The problem is I have had a few setbacks happen in real life. When shit happens in real life, my mood to read erotica just fizzles out, and a book in this area gets put aside in the hopes when things get better I pick it up again. Thing is even when things get back to normal, it takes me a bit to get back on track. However, I do hope to finish it this month, and I will review it then.


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.

Here is the list of books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian during the month of August 2015. Feel free to check the reviews and the books out. I got a pretty good selection for my readers this time. As always, if you read any of the books, feel free to comment and let me know how you liked them or not.

  • Transformers: Drift-Age of Stone.
  • Justice, Inc. If you have enjoyed Michael Uslan’s work in The Shadow comics, you will probably enjoy this crossover series.
  • Plucked: a History of Hair Removal. Yes, there is a book on the history of this topic, and I read it.
  • Best Sex Writing of the Year, Volume 1. From the folks at Cleis Press, a very nice sampling of nonfiction sex writing. As Belle Knox writes in the book’s foreword, “It’s easy to forget that outside of our own, seemingly normal sex lives, the world has thousands of different stories and experiences to share with we may not otherwise have imagined” (ix).
  • Robert Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy. This is a graphic novel adaptation of the classic Heinlein novel.
  • Predator Omnibus, Volume 1. Dark Horse Comics capitalized on the success of the film with this comics series in the 1980s and 1990s. This is the first volume collecting those comics.
  • Arms and the Dudes. Supposedly, there is a movie coming out soon, so read the book before the movie. “Greed was the dark truth at the heart of the arms-dealing world” (200).
  • October Faction, Volume 1.
  • Buttermilk and Bible Burgers. I do a bit of reading about Appalachia.
  • The Radical King. Cornel West edits an anthology of Dr. King’s more radical writings to remind us the man was not just a dreamer. Dr. King had a seriously radical vision for the nation, one that many wish to forget, whitewash, or sanitize.
  • The Incredible Hulk, Volume 1. This time, Bruce Banner finally gets his wish: to be separated and rid of the Hulk.
  • Insylum. A horror novel about two buddies and a horror themed park where the last two to enter always disappear.
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 to another post here at Alchemical Thoughts. I read quite a bit during the month of July. I also got quite a few reviews done. This was in part because a few requests I put in at NetGalley came due pretty close to each other (that whole expiration thing they got on their galleys), so I had to read a bit more than I usually do. However, it was worth it overall. Plus, there are a couple of items that made it into the reviews this month I had read a while back.

As always, comments are welcome. If you read any of these, let me know what you think. If you have a book you think I should read, let me know too. I might consider it. So, without further fuss, let’s see what got reviewed last month.


Welcome to another week here at Alchemical Thoughts and a few more additions to my ever growing TBR (to-be-read) book list. As always, if you read any of these, please feel free to come back and let me know how you liked a book or not. Who knows, you may convince me to move that book up in my reading cue and read it sooner. Finally, a small reminder that all book title links go to WorldCat so you can find it in a library near you unless noted otherwise.

CuriousGeorgeReadingItems about books I want to read:

  • Since I moved to eastern Kentucky and the Appalachian region, I have taken a bit more of an interest in rural news. The Daily Yonder is one of the sources I use to keep up on that topic, and recently they had a couple of items on books that sound interesting and are also relevant to rural communities. This first article discusses options and caveats about rural communities trying to bring manufacturing jobs back to their areas. The article also highlights the book Selling the State, ” that traces the evolution of Kentucky’s industrial and economic development policy over much of the last half of the twentieth century.” The book is actually freely available online (link to the book’s PDF) from Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. That book may be a bit more technical than what I usually read, but I am also posting about it here in case others, say librarians in the state, need to know about it. So I may not get to this book anytime soon, but I think folks need to be aware of it. The second article is a book review of The Internet is NOT the Answer. This is relevant to rural communities where Internet access can be sketchy and in some areas barely existent. However, the book should interest anyone in information sciences, including information literacy librarians.
  • Want to learn more about horror films? Do you ask what makes a horror film a horror film? Which are the best ones? Which should you avoid? Perhaps the book Horror Films FAQ can help. It was reviewed at San Francisco Book Review.
  • The one book I read by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro ages ago, which was a Saint-Germain novel, was one I enjoyed, so I have always wanted to read more by her. So, I am adding another one to my list. This time it’s Night Pilgrims, and it was also reviewed at San Francisco Book Review.
  • Like whisky? Want to learn more about it? Maybe some new ways to mix it? For instance, coconut water and whisky, which by the way, when I traveled to Puerto Rico for my mother’s funeral I discovered is a fairly popular drink down there. And you do use good whisky for it. The book Whisky: The Manual may be of interest. It was featured in Liquor Snob.
  • Let me toss in next some work-related items in my quest to keep up in my profession:
  • I always looking at good photography books, especially ones where I can learn new things or see rare things. This book is right up that alley. The book is Before They Pass Away, which features photographs of tribal groups that may be in danger of vanishing forever. It was featured at Wink Books.
  • Also via Wink Books, a different book on a different set of tribes, this one about Japanese street tribes’ fashions. The book is Tokyo Adorned.
  • Next we have a history book that aims “’to show that there are other US histories than the standard Anglo narrative’ by focusing on Hispanic influence in the country’s past and future’”. The book is Our America: a Hispanic History of the United States. It was reviewed at the Times Literary Supplement.
  • Let’s have a look at the early days when forensic science was starting out. The book is The Poisoner’s Handbook, and it was featured in Blogging for a Good Book.
  • I wonder how well or not this book may go in my campus, which does have a pretty strong wellness obsession (some could say a bit much, this kind of thinking is not new or unique to the campus). The book is The Wellness Syndrome, and it was reviewed at Inside Higher Ed.
  • Marion Nestle provided a blurp for this book on pigs and the pork industry. It does sound interesting. The book is Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat.


Lists and bibliographies:

  • This is one that has been sitting on my feed reader cue for a while, and it is time to add it here and share it. Via The Advocate, this is “Yaoi: The Art of Japanese Gay Comics.” The article serves as a primer as well as a short list of some reading suggestions. And yes, I do read yaoi (and yuri, and so on).
  • Many readers, especially women, get their erotica fix via Amazon and the Kindle. However, Amazon is notorious for censorship of erotica titles. In this piece published a while back at BDSM Book Reviews, you can find a list of alternative online sites that will sell you erotica without the prejudice and fuss.
  • I was not terribly interested in this piece on culture shock and other discoveries new academic librarians make. Maybe because I experienced some of it. At any rate, the piece out of ACRLog does mention a couple of books I would be interested in reading.
  • If you are interested in learning more about the Philippines and Filipino libraries and culture, you are in luck. Vonjobi has just published a great list for beginners at Filipino Librarian: “The Philippines for Beginners: Book Recommendations.
  • Bisexual Books has compiled a “Black Queer and Trans* Reading List.” From the looks of it, is it intended to be updated as needed.

These are the books I reviewed during the month of June 2015. If you missed any of these, feel free to check them out. As always, comments are welcome. This month we have a bit of everything, including some reading I did for LGBTQIA Pride Month, which falls in June. Although I read a lot during June, I did not get around to writing as many reviews, so we were a bit lean last month. Book links go directly to the book review.


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.

  • If you want to learn more about Jewish delicatessen and deli in general, you may want to check out David Sax’s Save the Deli.
  • I continued reviewing the manga series Adolf. In June, I reviewed the last two volumes of the series: volume 4 and volume 5.
  • The highlight of the month for me has to be the book The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQI Activism. I read this for a Pride Month book blog tour that Cleis Press organized, but I have to say it was a good read for the month overall.
  • I reviewed a new graphic novel with a different look at superheroes. The book was Jupiter’s Legacy, Volume 1.
  • Finally for June, if the art of letter writing interests you, this book may be for you. The book is To The Letter.

September 2020


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