Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘personal

(crossposted from The Itinerant Librarian)

Another one of those little blogging prompts. I found this one at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. The questions are as provided:

Rather read only series or standalone books?

As much as possible, stand alone books.

Rather read a book whose main character is male or female?

Don’t care one way or the other as long as the story is good.

Rather shop only at Barnes & Noble (or other actual bookstore) or Amazon?

Neither Barnes and Noble nor Amazon. I prefer Half Price Books as much as possible. However, for some things, like Tarot decks and books, I often have to use Amazon since I live in the middle of nowhere.

Rather all books become movies or tv shows?

Neither. It is rare a movie or television show lives up to the book. To be honest, more often than not a book being turned into movie or television show signals Hollywood’s laziness in creating anything original, so pick something from the bestseller shelf and see if  it sticks. I prefer reading the book.

Rather read 5 pages per day or read 5 books per week?

5 books a week for me.

Rather be a professional book reviewer or an author?

As much as I have an idea or two for a book and would like to be  an author, I have no delusions I will ever get one written and published. I do enjoy being a reviewer for the variety it gives me in reading and the opportunity to do a little reader’s advisory online.

Rather only read the same 20 books over and over or get to read a new book every 6 months?

New book every six months. For some books, it may well take me six months to get through it, so that would actually work for me.

Rather be a librarian or own a book store?

I may be biased, but librarian.

Rather only read your favorite genre or your favorite author?

Favorite genre

Rather only read physical books or eBooks?

As much as possible, I prefer physical books. I do much of my ebook reading on an older iPad, which feels like it weighs a ton when reading in bed. I recently got a much smaller tablet, but the habit has not caught on with it yet. Also as much as possible, I prefer to read print since I often read at bedtime, and not using electronics helps to sleep better.

 

I saw this at Cornerfolds, and I figured I could try it out and give my two readers here a bit about me as a reader. Questions are as provided.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Not particularly. I do read in bed, and I do read in my work station/desk at home, which is where I also do my blogging, my Tarot and oracle card practice, and some other things.

 

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I prefer a bookmark, and in fact I collect bookmarks. I have plenty of bookmarks, enough to last me a few lifetimes. However, in a pinch, I will grab a random piece of paper to mark a reading spot.

 

Can you stop reading anytime you want or do you have to stop reading at a certain page, chapter, part, etc.?

Depends. If I am reading nonfiction, I can usually stop just about anywhere. If I am reading fiction, where I am following a story or narrative thread, I need to find a logical stopping point be it the end of the chapter or part or just a pause in the narrative. This is why I tend to prefer reading nonfiction, especially outside of the house because I can stop and interrupt as needed and pick it up fairly quick.

 

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yes. Not every time, but it has been known to happen.

 

Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?

If it is soft music, I usually can read just fine. For television, unless I am paying attention to the program I can read right through it just fine. I am pretty good about tuning out the exterior world overall once I am reading. I am the kind of reader who can read almost anywhere including moving vehicles and aircraft.

 

One book or several at once?

Several. The minimum rule for me is to have a nonfiction, a fiction books, and a graphic novel or comic going at any given time. It is pretty normal for me to have more than the minimum three mentioned going at any given time.

 

Reading at home or everywhere?

I can read everywhere just fine. I do try to have a book with me handy as much as possible be it in print or loaded as an e-book in my electronic devices.

 

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently.

 

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

This is where I break (full pun intended) with most book lovers and librarians. I have no problem if a spine breaks. Way I see it books are for use not to be art objects (at least not the books I use and/or own). While I appreciate pristine books, as I said, they are made for use, so I have no problem breaking a spine or two.

 

(cross-posted from The Itinerant Librarian)

I saw this blogger tag over at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures, so I decided to try it out. However, since I rarely buy books these days, I decided to modify the prompts to account for things like media and Tarot and oracle decks, my latest growing passion.

Prompts are as provided.

  1.  Pay Day! – A book you would buy right now. Cost doesn’t matter!  These days I am not buying too many books. There are various reasons for that ranging from I am using my libraries more (my work library and more so my local public library), and I do get ARCs for review now and then from a few places. The one area I may be buying books still is in Tarot and esoterica but even that is limited. So this is tricky. So I’ll do a Tarot deck, and my choice at this time would be Ciro Marchetti’s Tarot Decoratif. Anyhow, I would buy it right now. . . if I actually had the funds. And I do not even like Marseilles Tarot decks; the Decoratif is a hybrid deck combining Marseilles and Waite Smith Tarot systems, and an artistic masterpiece (in my very humble opinion). Librarian pay day does not stretch that much lol. If you want to see more, here is the promo video when the deck was made (YouTube video). On a positive, U.S. Games Systems recently announced they (finally) got Marchetti’s Grand Luxe Tarot deck (also you can see the trailer for that one on YouTube too) on pre-order, so in practical terms, this would be the “buy right now” deck; I can likely afford that.
  2. Pay a bill– a book you would get rid of right now. This is not as hard. I am currently in the process of aggressively weeding my personal library mainly due to space issues (we live in an apartment), so there will be more than a few books that will go out of the house, likely sold to some second hand store to get a few bucks but mainly to get them out of the house. One that I can think of that is on its way out is Campus Confidential because to be honest last thing I needed to read was a safely tenured professor pretending he is somehow “taking a risk” or “breaking ranks” by “spilling the beans” about higher education. His so-called revelations are things I long knew already, and to be honest, I think more people are aware now than we give them credit for (especially after the college cheating scandal). They may be aware but whether they wish to see the evidence is a separate question.
  3. Doctor Appointment — a book that makes you feel better when you are down. There are a few of those. My old Mafalda comic collections for example.
  4. Meeting — a book or series you felt obligated to read; because of the hype. I do not really read based on hype, so for me this is a bad question to ask. In fact, these days I rarely read a series unless I know it is complete. In fiction, I tend to prefer standalone works. Even in graphic novels and comics, I tend to favor trades of series that are completed than ongoing things. Too much cost in time.
  5. Lunch date– a book or series that you fell in love with; because a friend recommended it to you. As of this post, that would be A Pound of Paper.
  6. Work/School Week– A book that was hard to get through. Holy shit, to this day, probably Ensayo Sobre La Ceguera (On Blindness) by Jose Saramago. Holy shit again. To this day, I hate that book, and I have no idea how I got through it. In fact, after dragging myself through that I swore I would never, ever read anything that guy wrote ever again.
  7. Gym Day– a book that gets your heart pumping because it was such an exciting page turner. Kieron Guillen’s run of Star Wars: Darth Vader for Marvel Comics. (Link to my review of the first trade volume)
  8. Date night– a book with your favorite romantic couple. (This would be non-applicable at this point in time)
  9. Vacation– a book or series you would want to binge on if you had all the time in the world. This would be more for some old TV shows. Recently, I got to see the first season of Emergency!, so I would love to binge watch the remaining seasons. I would not mind binging on Homicide: Life in the Street, some others.
  10. To do list– a book you keep meaning to get to, but don’t have time for. Ha ha! So many books and so little time. I usually read based on mood, what may catch my eye at the time, or stuff that may look interesting. As a result, though I have a big TBR list, it varies on how much attention I pay to it.

Now that December’s whirlwind is calming down, I have some time to start posting these again. As noted previously, you can find all the prompts here; Lisa Frideborg Eddy, the author, has put them in a PDF book that you can download for free. For this series, I am using the Santa Muerte Tarot deck.

Challenge: How lucky or unlucky were you in 2018? Perhaps you feel luck had nothing to do with anything that happened in your life. Let’s see what the Tarot has to say about it. Pull a card for what sort of luck you had in 2018 and another for the kind of luck you will have in 2019.

Two Tarot cards. Page of Swords and Page of Pentacles from the Santa Muerte Tarot deck

Page of Swords and Page of Pentacles from the Santa Muerte Tarot deck.

 

Luck is not something I think about much. It’s either for gamblers or lottery players. I prefer the idea of making good “luck” if you work at it. But overall 2018 had more good breaks than bad. That’s something.

Interesting to me that I drew two pages. Right away this indicates small steps, beginnings. Luck in a small scale, small breaks rather than big lucky moments.

On my luck in 2018: Page of Swords. The luck here was based on some planning. Before starting anything, take a seat, plan, think, and reflect. Giving careful thought, being cautious so as to avoid grief and misfortune. The idea was that things might be peaceful but they could suddenly change, so be prepared.

This also reminded me of a quote from a book I am reading at the moment. The context in the book is Lord Commissar Rasp mentoring Commissar Yarrick, again, on the need for caution, especially when things seem easy or calm:

“Our rapid triumph is a certain conclusion, and is therefore not to be trusted. When matters are at their most cut-and-dried is when you must be most wary” (17). —Yarrick: Imperial Creed.

 

On my luck in 2019: Page of Pentacles. Again, small steps. Try to save a few coins here or there for rainy days. Also, this speaks of preparation, especially in practical and material things. Remain observant, learn, save. Saving is not just money. It can also mean be more selective with use of time and other resources, “bank it” where you can for use later, whether for yourself or to share with others.

 

Someone on my Twitter feed suggested I draw some cards for the solstice. So yesterday, I did get up early, and I did a spread for solstice before I went to work.

I am using Evvie Marin’s Summer Solstice Tarot Spread. I had seen this spread a while back, jotted it in my Tarot journal a couple of years back. When I went to look for a spread this year, I figured a few Tarot folks would have shared a spread or two online for the observance. I could not find one, but fortunate for me I had saved Marin’s spread, which served me well.

 

Summer Solstice Tarot spread by Evvie Martin

Summer Solstice Tarot spread by Evvie Marin

 

Card positions and reading. As noted, The Sun-19, is in the center position. I am using the Gaian Tarot for this spread (link to my review of the Gaian Tarot deck). The card affirmations come from the deck’s companion book.

My summer solstice spread before revealing the cards. In the center is the Sun-19 card.

My summer solstice spread before revealing the cards. In the center is the Sun-19 card.

 

My summer solstice spread, cards revealed.

My summer solstice spread, cards revealed.

 

  1. Recover and renew: Ten of Water (Ten of Cups). Soak up energy to make it to that last stretch. Ask what needs to come to an end so rebirth can happen. What legacy am I leaving behind for others? What do I leave so others can grow? Leave the old behind and move into the new. Card’s affirmation: “I have given my best and can rest assured that love will continue to flow” (134).
  2. Rest and relax: Six of Fire (Six of Wands). Rest and relax more. I need to remember that even if I do things quietly, those who need to know will know; the rest of them do not really matter. Take the time to express yourself creatively, just for the fun of it. Things are working out, take some time, rest, celebrate. Take small breaks and be grateful for and enjoy the good you have. You’ve worked for it and earned, so live a little. Card’s affirmation: “I passionately celebrate myself and my tribe” (112).
  3. Rumpus and romp: The Tree- 12 (The Hanged Man- XII). In moments of quiet and solitude. This is a good time to take a little time off, go off, and see things from a new perspective. Theme should be go do something different, see something new, explore and reflect. Take some time to turn things for a different look. Clear space so you can center. Card’s affirmation: “I find serenity in surrendering to the Great Mystery” (52).
  4. Release and Re-Block: Five of Air (Five of Swords). I need to know when to let go off things. You may win some, but others it is better to let go to keep the peace. Choose your battles wisely, and as much as possible, avoid alienating others. If anything, if they take rope to hang themselves, let them have it and stand back. Rather than adding to drama, let it go. Many conflicts can be sidestepped, and you can still come out ahead. Card’s affirmation: “I defend my own place in the world without resorting to bitterness or hurtful words” (106).

Overall, a theme of remaining calm, find your center. You know you are on a good and right path, and your tribe, those that matter, know it and celebrate with you. Keep persevering and avoid unnecessary drama or conflicts. Defend what you need to defend, but otherwise, live well and let the rest go.

 

 

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.

 

With these four prompts, I get to wrap up the challenge. This is the first time I have attempted this kind of blogging challenge, a challenge where you do prompts over a month, and doing it around Tarot has been interesting as well as helped me reflect a bit on my Tarot learning journey. Doing them ahead of time too has been helpful given my schedule is not always one that allows me to do this on every single day. So, here we go with the last four prompts:

Day 28: Share one celebrity that you would refuse to read for, no matter how much they paid you (and why!).

Day 29: What are your beliefs around the mechanics of a reading? How do you think it works? Is it your subconscious, higher self, Spirit?

Day 30: What is the most culturally inclusive deck that you own?

Day 31: What are your favorite Tarot apps, do you work with them? On what platforms smart phone, tablet, etc.?

 

Day 28. Definitely the Pendejo In Chief. He is known for not listening to anything you try to tell him anyhow, so why bother? He does not have enough money to get a reading from me. He is way too stubborn and self-centered for anyone to try to tell him anything. And the same goes for anyone who voted for him or supported him or continues to support him. I definitely do not want any of those people anywhere near me, and if I know they are one of them, I will not read for them. I am sure they can find a reader; it just will not be me.

 

Day 29. I am not sure on the beliefs about readings. I am pretty much a heathen, though I would not totally see myself as full atheist. I am somewhat spiritual and still seeking kind of thing. I think readings and readers can vary from people who are very spiritual and guided by some higher power (whatever you wish to call it) to those who do it by the book to folks who know the symbols and combine it with a cold reading ability. Allow me to add that I do not think having the ability to cold read is necessarily a bad thing. I think, if you pin me down, an ideal reading combines intuition, a little spirituality, some cold reading, and a little book learning. In other words, it is not just one thing, but a combination of factors that make a reading. These factors vary from reader to reader, and depending on how each reader combines them in a variety of ways is how you see if a reading is good or not. For me, this can account as to the wide variety of readers and how they read. After all, you can put a spread out, and if you have five or more readers, they may all give you a different reading of the same cards. That I do find interesting.

 

Day 30. I have two decks that I see as culturally inclusive at this moment: the Gaian Tarot (Colbert) and the Modern Spellcaster’s Tarot (Marquis). Deck links here go to my reviews of the decks.

 

Day 31. I do not really work with Tarot and oracle card apps. I have some Tarot sampler apps on my smart phone that I got to try out, from Fool’s Dog, but otherwise, I do not have any specific apps I use. I prefer to use cards in print. However, I like the idea that in a pinch I can do Tarot on my phone when I do not have a deck handy.

 

You can find Ethony’s original prompts here.


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