Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Booknote: Tarot Cards

Isabella Alston and Kathryn Dixon, Tarot Cards. Cobham, UK: TAJ Books International, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-84406-338-3. (Link to Amazon page. As of this post, WorldCat did not have a record on the book's ISBN number).

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: Tarot, art
Format: hardback
Source: I bought this on clearance at Half Price Books. (Hey, it was a dollar, not bad for the value).


This is another small book, an art book of 95 pages showing a variety of Tarot card decks. It's a very nice book to look at. For Tarot card deck collectors, this book may incite their collecting lust a bit. The book starts with an introduction that sets up the book and gives a brief history of Tarot cards. This book looks at Tarot cards as an art form. The authors write:

"The beauty and lyricism of hundreds, and even thousands, of tarot cards illustrated throughout the last 600 years, as well as those currently in circulation, and those yet to be designed and published, make them a unique art form. This book celebrates that art form" (6).

After the book's introduction, we get to see various samples of Tarot card decks. Naturally, it starts with a selection from the Rider Waite Smith deck as this is the most popular style, and it is considered a standard. After this, the oldest sample we see is the 15th century Visconti Tarot. From there, the book goes on in order presenting other antique decks and working up to modern times where we find a wide variety of decks. Recently, as I have started a journey to study and learn Tarot, I coined what I call the Rivera Tarot Corollary to Ranganathan, which states:

"Every Tarot deck its reader/collector, and every reader/collector its Tarot deck." 

This book helps prove the Rivera Tarot Corollary to Ranganathan. Sure, you could start learning Tarot on the classic Rider Waite Smith. Many people do, but you don't have to start with the Rider Waite Smith deck. There are many styles and art form to choose from when it comes to Tarot decks. Yes, many are derived from or draw upon the Rider Waite Smith deck, but some creators have their own systems such as the Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot. If you want to study Tarot, there is a deck for you. Like Arthurian tales and lore? There is an Arthurian Legend Tarot. Like DaVinci? There is the DaVinci Enigma Tarot. Like your art a bit more surreal and on the wild side? Maybe the Deviant Moon Tarot is for you. The book presents those decks and more for a total of 55 decks ranging from historical to contemporary. Aside from commenting on some of the historical decks, the rest of the book is simply images of the various decks.

The only disadvantage of this art book is the size. The book is about 6 by 6 inches. This means some of the images are a bit small. I do wish the book was a big bigger because some of the images could be better appreciated if they were bigger. Still, it is a nice little book to look at. Overall, the book is meant to give you a small overview of what has been created and what is available now. I liked it.

3 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges:




1 comment:

Md Majharul Islam said...


Wow!!! I am always Looking for details tarot. This one really right website. Thanks for your sharing.