Friday, August 25, 2017

Booknote: Kitchen Table Tarot

Melissa Cynova, Kitchen Table Tarot: Pull Up a Chair, Shuffle the Cards, and Let's Talk Tarot. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Worldwide, 2017.  ISBN: 978-0-7387-5077-4.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: Tarot, divination, spirituality
Format: e-book galley
Source: NetGalley

Melissa Cynova teaches Tarot out of her kitchen table, and she distills her lessons in this book. Though the book seems more geared towards women, I still liked it, and I felt that I can get some good things out of it.

On a side note, I have observed in my short time studying Tarot that a large part of materials are geared to women. I am not saying that is bad, just an observation that I am sure someone could write about somewhere else if they were so inclined. I will add that there are some male Tarotists out there, but again, another topic for another time. Reason I mentioned it because the book just has that feel to it. But I digress.

The book does include quite a bit of spiritual elements, so if you are more secular you may want to keep this in mind. Additionally, the book has a bit of a kitschy charm to it. I can certainly see folks who use the Housewives Tarot deck as their deck keeping this book handy. Both items share a bit of that folksy charm. However, you can use this book with any Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck or deck that draws on the RWS tradition. The author does recommend using an RWS based deck with the book.

The book is arranged as follows:

  • Author's introduction
  • Eight chapters covering the following topics: 
    • Getting started
    • Care and keeping of You and Your Tools
    • The ethics of reading
    • The Major Arcana
    • The Minor Arcana: The Pips
    • The Minor Arcana: Court Cards
    • Professional Tarot Reading
    • When Readings Go Weird
  • Conclusion
  • Recommended reading 

The author takes readers from the basics of getting started to the rudiments of reading professionally. That is an ambitious agenda.

For me, a strength of the book is in the author's casual and informal tone. Yes, the author can be pretty prescriptive at times like your aunt or granny making sure you get that apple cobbler recipe right. There are some things the author insists upon, or at least feels strongly about. Just keep in mind that in the world of Tarot, you can take what works for you and leave the rest behind. Some prescriptions aside, she is very casual and accessible. Her explanations are clear, and if you are a beginner, this is a good text to help you get started.

Overall, this is a book I really liked, and I'd consider adding it to my personal collection. I also say it can make a good selection for public libraries that collect Tarot and other divination books.

4 out of 5 stars.

* * * * * 

Additional reading  notes:

On studying Tarot:

"You're supposed to fill in your tarot studies wherever you can. What this book shows, and what I want to teach you, is that you can pick up the card, see where it's going, remember a few keywords or mnemonic devices, and then own the card. You'll have it. Once you have the card, you can't lose it again. It belongs to you,  and you can embellish it as much as you like" (3).

Cynova really thinks you should start with a Tarot deck in the RWS tradition. I have to say, from my personal learning experience, that I agree. I made the attempt to start learning on a Marseilles deck. It did not work out for me. Once I switched over to an RWS tradition deck, it was like the world opened for me. As I have noted elsewhere before, I like the RWS system, but I am not a fan of Pamela Smith's artwork (I am sure that remark will trigger some pearl clutching, oh well), so I mostly use and prefer modern renditions of the Tarot that use or draw upon the RWS system (I recently added a Thoth Tarot deck to my collection, but that is another system to study down the road). As of this post, I am using the Steampunk Tarot (link to my review of that deck) as my daily use deck. Anyhow, on using an RWS deck to start out, the author writes:

"I'm not saying that you can't switch to another deck down the road, but I've been doing this for almost thirty years. You need to trust me on this. I am telling you that a deck in the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition will assist you in learning the basics of tarot better than the Deck of the Supercilious Fairy Realm of Gondor. I promise. For simplicity in this book, I'll refer to decks in the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition as 'Basic.' I encourage you to do your homework and find a Basic deck that appeals to you" (6).

I laughed on reading the supercilious deck part, until I realized that deck already exists in a few forms, one of those forms being the lousy The Hobbit Tarot (link to Aeclectic). To be honest, them giving it three stars was way generous. I got a copy, and I will review it down the road, if I can get over the disgust of just how bad it is. But hey, if that deck makes you happy, have at it. As the Rivera Tarot Corollary to Ranganathan states:

"Every deck (be it Tarot, oracle, Lenormand, etc.) its reader, and every reader their deck." 

The author does offer some suggestions for decks that fit the RWS tradition. This is a small sampling. As she suggests, do your homework and find the one that appeals to you. Hell, if the Deck of the Supercilious Fairy Realm of Gondor is what you want, I am not stopping you; you do you. But if you are using this book, you may want to reconsider if it is not RWS based. Anyhow, here is Cynova's short deck list (for convenience, I am providing deck links to Aecletic for reference, unless noted otherwise):

  • Llewellyn's Classic Tarot (this one gets pretty close to Pamela Smith's art concepts, but it has a more modern look and feel in my opinion. If I get something as close as possible to RWS, this might be it. This is also the deck the author uses as reference point in illustrating the book). 
  • Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot
  • 1 JJ Swiss Tarot. (I am not sure why Cynova included this on her list since it is a Marseilles style deck, NOT within RWS tradition. Anyhow, not one I would get. I already have 2 Marseilles decks, and the only reason I have them is they were gifts). 
  • Albano-Waite Tarot
  • Anna K Tarot
  • Gilded Tarot. (This is the Marchetti deck I switched to after I gave the Marseilles deck a try. It is still a favorite deck for me, and it is one I am happy to use and recommend. Here is my review of it for anyone interested). 
  • Universal Waite Tarot

In this day and age, some folks want some representative diversity in their decks (read here other than the usual white people). Thus, Cynova also offers some suggestions on decks that show image diversity:

  • The Slow Holler Tarot. (Aeclectic has not reviewed it yet. So here is a review from Little Red Tarot instead).  
  • Tarot of the Silicon Dawn
  • The Gaian Tarot. (I recently acquired this one, and I am currently using it. I can tell you that I love it. I plan to have a review of it soon. Aeclectic mentions it was self published, then Llewellyn had it for a while. It is now published by Schiffer, and that is the edition I have). 
  • The Trungles Deck. (Another I am not sure why the author listed it. According to author's website, the deck is not available for purchase, and he only at the moment sells prints of the Major Arcana. In other words, this is not an accessible option currently). 
  • Modern Spellcaster's Tarot. (This is another one I recently acquired for my personal collection. It has great art. I have not worked with  it yet, but when I do, I will review it). 
  • Sun and Moon Tarot.
  • The Goddess Tarot
  • The Relative Tarot. (Not reviewed on Aeclectic as of this post. Again, another I am not sure why it is listed since it is a 38-cards deck, i.e. only the Major Arcana with Court Cards, so not a full deck. It looks nice, but if you want to learn with a full deck, this is not an option. However, if you want it for your collection, you may be out of luck or paying a third party through the nose as it is sold out. Here is the author site for a look). 
  • The Lover's Path Tarot
  • The Fountain Tarot. (Now that Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala, has picked this up, I may consider getting it down the road. However, I will make a note. I got a galley of the guidebook that goes with  the deck, via NetGalley, which appears to be a mostly basic Little White Book. So if you get this, get it for the cards mainly. Book really is nothing to write home about. Review of that coming soon). 
  • The Mary-El Tarot.
  • The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot. (I recently found a nice used copy of this. As soon as I get to work with it, I will review it). 
  • Motherpeace Tarot.
  • Morgan-Greer Tarot

And if you go poking in places like Aeclectic and Etsy (or so I am told), you can find many more decks. Etsy, and sometimes also Kickstarter, can be a good place to find independent artists (if you have the cash).

Why using the book (this book, the book that came with  your cards, some other Tarot book) is perfectly OK to learn Tarot, even during readings:

"I used the book because it takes time to learn about the cards, and there is nothing wrong with bringing in a book to help you out. I carry a small tarot book in my car just in case I blank out or need mental reinforcements. So yea. Do that. Use your tools-- that's what they are there for" (8). 

Personally, I mainly read privately for myself. On my desk with the deck I am currently use I usually have two Tarot books: a book of basic/traditional meanings for reference, and the companion book for a deck if it came with a companion book. I'd like to read for others some day, maybe mainly for friends, but that day is far off for now.

There is not just one way to learn and read Tarot. Study, practice, and find your own way:

"If anyone tells you that they have The Way to do readings, I suspect they're trying to sell you something. There  is no one way. There is no one path. There is you, your cards, and your gift. That's it. Read a lot. Watch other readers. Practice on your friends (and tell them you're practicing). You can figure out your style with some research and time. No worries. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. In tarot readings (and in all other things), please stop comparing yourself to other people. Compare yourself to your yourself" (11). 

A bit on intent and belief, and also important to write things down:

"My intent goes into my cards, and the reading comes out. Practice your spreads by writing them down. Decide that this position means this exact thing. Fix it in your mind and then do your reading. Your intent makes it so" (16).

More on belief, oh, and you can keep it simple or complex as it suits you:

"How do you know I'm not making it up? You don't. Things work because you believe in them. Call it faith or will coincidence or whatever. If you believe it will help to light a candle and ask the universe to help you understand the mystery and meaning of the Hierophant, then it will. Don't spend a bunch of money on learning how to get to know your cards. Just do it. Say hi to them and get to work" (19). 

How to store your cards:

"The best way to store your cards is the way that suits you" (29). 

Bottom line advice:

"I  swear, most of the advice in this book will come down to this: Do you want to do the thing? Do the thing. That's what makes it  right" (31). 

Important basic life advice, not just for Tarot by the way:

"Be kind. Build community. Be gracious. There aren't that many of us, and I've seen reputations crash and burn within a day on social media. Don't be a jerk" (35). 

What a Tarot reading does:

"What a tarot reading does is essentially lay out a pathway for you so that you can continue on your most authentic path. That sounds pretty, doesn't it? It's essentially me and all the cards giving you homework. And occasionally, yelling at you" (38). 

More on being kind, this time as a reader:

"Remember when you read for someone, you're carrying their dreams in your hands for a short while. Even if you have to deliver bad news, do it gently, and hand their dreams back unbruised" (46). 

What you get from reading:

"What you'll get from a reading are things that will help the day to day and things that will help down the road. A reading can identify what the root causes are, but to dig that far ahead you need to do the work for yourself. Readings are not cures; they're roadmaps. If you follow the map and do the work, you'll get where you need to go" (46). 

Major Arcana versus Minor Arcana:

"The difference is that the major arcana is your life in ALL CAPS, and the minor arcana is just your life" (53). 

A note on the Major Arcana chapter: You get meanings, including reversals. There is casual language in explaining the cards, also in the Minor Arcana. The informality may be helpful in learning the cards. Each card gets about a page and a half to two pages of text for the Major Arcana. Book also includes card illustrations using the Llewellyn Classic Tarot deck. You get card title, small keyword or phrase, and the explanation. In the Minor Arcana, there is no quick line/phrase after the card title.

If you decide to go professional, be serious and commit:

"If you decide to read professionally, you will find the more seriously you take what you do, the more seriously you are taken as a tarot reader" (260). 

And if you do go pro, learn to put a price on your value and skill set:

"If you are reading for a living, you need to talk to friends and other professionals about how to appropriately put a value on your skill. I didn't always charge this much; it grew with my  skill and experience. And for Pete's sake, get a deposit in advance" (263). 

The deposit part is for those who set up appointments; it  cuts back on people standing you up.

* * * * * 

This book qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenges:

Friday, August 18, 2017

Booknote: The 24-Hour Wine Expert

Jancis Robinson, The 24-Hour Wine Expert. New York: Abrams Image, 2916.  ISBN: 978-1-4197-2266-0. 

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: wine, alcoholic spirits, guides, reference, food and epicurious
Format: small hardcover
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

This book is a nice little guide to help readers learn the basics of wine and even a little of wine culture. The author's aim is to make you a self-confident wine expert in 24 hours. I am not so sure about that claim, but I will say if you study the book and try some of the suggestions, you'll learn a few things. The author also suggests right away to just get a few bottles of wine (this seems easy enough), some friends (this may not be so easy), and start practicing.

The book is arranged in small chapters covering a broad range of topics such as:

  • Bottles and labels
  • Matching wine and food
  • Common wine myths
  • Types of grapes
  • Wine regions
At the end of the book, she also includes a glossary, labeled "wine jargon," and a very small list of resources (i.e. mostly her websites and a couple of books she edited. This is far from diverse, and a bit gauche if you ask me).

The book is fairly easy to read. She explains things clearly, and the chapters are not too long. It is a good, basic book to keep handy when you have questions or need to look something up. It can also serve as a start for readers who want to see out more later. In the end, I really liked it.

4 out of 5 stars. 

* * * * * 

This book qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenges:

Friday, August 11, 2017

Signs the economy is bad: August 11, 2017 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a while we look at how good the uber rich have it.

We are on a roll for another week with "Signs the economy is bad." Assuming the Pendejo In Chief does not get us blown up with his saber rattling and blustering over North Korea, let's see what else has been going on.

  • In addition to saber rattling, the Pendejo In Chief has been talking tough on immigration. The result of this  is that American farm owners are scared shitless because it means they could lose their cheap, exploited, underpaid, often undocumented barely slaves immigrant workforce. There is already a shortage of farm laborers as it is, and his tough talk is not adding anything. And as we all know, heaven forbid white anglo Americans who may need a job rush out to pick fruits and vegetables. Story via The Daily Yonder.
  • For many parents, it is that "most wonderful time of the year." No, not Christmas. The start of school where they can finally send their kids out of the house. Part of the ritual is buying them school supplies. If you feel as a parent, or as a teacher stuck buying their own school supplies, that those supplies are more expensive this year, it turns out they are more expensive this year. Story via
  • With the legalization of marijuana in a few locations, there has been an economic bonanza for many. Now some have noticed  that more  than a few pot shops have opened in poor neighborhoods. Is The Man trying yet another plot to kill off poor people? Trying to keep the poor masses down? Not quite. There is actually a good explanation for it, and it boils down to economics. Story via Alternet
  • Speaking of poor people, time to settle one of the old canards: No, poor people do NOT eat more junk food than anyone else. Research reveals that poor people actually eat less of it and do so less often than middle class people. Story via Vox
  • And while are calling out bullshit, turns out that whole thing of employers whining that they can't find workers because those potential workers can't pass a drug test is also not really true. Story via VICE
  • In rural areas, country stores are closing. Story via The Rural Blog
  • Churches and houses of worship in some areas are not doing well. For instance, in New York City, they are facing the possibility of having to sell their buildings to developers, often historic buildings, to make ends meet. Story via The New York Times.
  • In other news, it seems that drinking is on the rise in  the United States, especially among women  and minorities. I can't imagine what could possibly be prompting that. Some people may say that is a problem, but in the bad economy I say this is opportunity. Personally, I am thinking if my librarian gig does not work out, I can go train to be a bartender. Plus, imagine the possibilities of jobs opening and being added in the liquor industry from manufacturing to sales and distribution. That is just the alcohol. People often eat with food, so boom, food service jobs might expand too. Just saying. Story via NPR.
  • So, let's see what can we blame on Millennials this week. It turns out that grocery stores are putting in full restaurants inside the grocery stores in order to attract Millennials. There is even a new term for this: "groceraunts." Story via NPR.
  • This week has been a bit rough on some rich folks too: 
    • Macau billionaire was convicted of bribing UN officials. Now, for a guy like him it means basically house arrest in a fancy residence. However, he was just told no more private massages. Life is tough. Story via Reuters.
    • In San Francisco, apparently a bunch of rich people could "not afford" (a.k.a. figured rules do not apply to them) to pay a small sum of taxes, which then added up over the years. So the city finally called them on their shit and took away a private street. Story via NPR. 
  • Finally, a little trivia item. Ever wonder what happens when someone wins a contest from an eatery where you get "free food for life"? Well, it turns out there are rules. Read more about it in this article from Wise Bread.

Booknote: How the Hell Did This Happen?

P.J. O'Rourke, How the Hell Did This Happen?: the Election of 2016. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-8021-2619-1.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: politics, humor
Format: hardcover
Source: Berea branch of  the Madison County (KY) Public Library

Let me give you the bottom line on this book right away: O'Rourke is basically full-on Republican on this one and not in a good way. He spends just as much time trashing Hillary Clinton as he does his own party, maybe more so. After a while, the not-so-subtle misogyny just gets old. Add to this that his humor is just not there like in previous books. I remember reading and enjoying Parliament of Whores, and Give War a Chance was decent. By now, O'Rourke has basically jumped the shark.  I am not writing more because I do not recommend the book. Borrow the book if you absolutely must, or find a better political humorist.

Let me save you by providing his conclusion: elites being bad is not really true (him being an elite and all). Overall, if you want to know how the hell it happened, this book is not the answer.

1 out of 5 stars (barely).

Book qualifies  for these 2017 Reading Challenges:

Friday, August 04, 2017

Signs the economy is bad: August 4, 2017 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a while we look at how good the uber rich have it.

 Some folks, among them The Washington Post, are reporting that U.S. job growth did well in July. Now you might get lulled into a sense that things are good, or at least not bad. I am here to reassure you that yes, the economy  is still bad, and there are plenty of signs to prove it. Job numbers? Pshaw. Here are the signs the economy is bad for this week:

  • In some sad news, a well regarded sex toy company has closed its doors. As reported by Hey Epiphora, Fucking Sculptures (yes, that is the company name. No, I do not think the name was the issue) is closing its doors due to the bad economy. The company was well known for making fine blown glass dildos. According to the report, the company lasted about four and half years in business. This was an artisanal product, and at $180 a toy, as the blogger points out, not many folks can afford that. As much as The Better Half and I love good sex toys, we are among those who can't just plunk out close to $200 for a sex toy, even if we love and appreciate the craftsmanship and quality (we do have a few glass toys, modest purchases). If the topic interests you, the post also discusses a bit of the sex toy industry and lists a few companies still standing. 
  • Let's get back to the usual bad news of the economy. A new report points out something we have known for a while: Black women have it bad in this bad economy. How bad? Well, it turns out they have to work 7 months into 2017 to get paid (and equalize) what men got paid in 2016. Story via 
  • Let's see what can we blame Millennials for this week. In the bad economy, more often than not something is the fault of those darn Millennial kids. Kids can't buy homes? Must be all that avocado toast they splurge on. This week, we are blaming Millennials for killing the oil industry. Why? Because old oil workers are retiring or dying off, and those damn slacker kids do not want to work in that filthy, dirty, polluting industry. Apparently stuff like climate change is important to them. Story via In These Times
  • On the ten years anniversary of a major bridge collapse in Minneapolis, infrastructure in the United States is still crumbling, and there is no solution nor plan in sight to address it. Story  via NPR.
  • And speaking of local infrastructure and maintenance on highways and such, some states are tight on money for mowing grass along highways, so they are using goats for the job. Story via The Rural Blog.
  • Also via NPR, in what can be described as a not so bright moment, folks in Las Vegas, NV can now get marijuana legally. Naturally the sales and taxes are a boom for the local economy. So, what is bad about that?  Well, tourists visit the place too, and they buy a little pot. Turns out there is no place where they can go and smoke it due to local laws. Not exactly a moment of genius there, and a potential sign of the bad economy if word gets out, and those tourists decide to go elsewhere for their recreational pot needs. 
  • In rural areas, small business often have it rough when a Walmart comes into town. Now, if that was not bad enough, it turns out that very often delivery companies that bring those small businesses their merchandise charge them extra to deliver in rural areas. You see, the thing is that, unlike the U.S. Postal Service (which people love to rag on) that has a mission and commitment to go into all parts of the nation, including rural areas, delivery companies like UPS and FedEx dislike going into rural areas because they are not as profitable to them. Thus they charge extra to go there (or at times, they may hand off the last leg to the USPS for a delivery even). Story via The Rural Blog
  • Think you might need an antibiotic or other medicine? Can't afford to go to a doctor? Lack health insurance? Well, in the bad economy, people without means need to get creative, so fish antibiotics are a new option for people needing a medication but on a tight budget. Yes, I mean literally the antibiotics you might put in your fish tank if you had one. Story via Boing Boing.  
  • This story is in Spanish, so I apologize to my non-Spanish reading friends, but it is an important one. It is a common story that various companies and employers go to Puerto Rico to hire labor to work in the U.S. Sometimes, those employers are less than ethical (they are actually exploitative), such as the case of fish canneries in Alaska exploiting Puerto Ricans they imported to work. It was so bad the state of Alaska even launched an OSHA investigation. Story via El Nuevo Dia
    • And in other news from the U.S. colony (this one is in English), they are announcing employee furloughs, at least two days off a month for public employees. Story via Caribbean Business
  • More signs that coal is not coming back no matter how much con men politicians like Kentucky's Mitch McConnell howl about the "War on Coal." CSX, the big train transport company, is not buying any more freight cars for coal. The reason? The company's new president as of this post stated simple that "fossil fuels are dead." That is pretty much the gist of it. If a guy whose company has made a fortune transporting coal sees the writing on the wall, there is your sign. Story via The Rural Blog.
  • In other trends, seems the adult coloring book trend is starting to die out too. This story came out this past week just in time for National Coloring Book Day, which was held on August 2. Woo hoo! Story via Vox
    • Now, if you want to keep up with the trend, and you want to go all out fancy, maybe this $30,000 adult coloring book is for you. Story via Atlas Obscura.
  • In higher education, a new study finds that at least 13 percent of community college students face hunger and/or food insecurity. Story via Inside Higher Ed
  • Another study found that kids from rural areas may eventually earn higher incomes as adults. The catch? They have to leave those rural areas in order to find jobs with those higher incomes. Story via The Rural Blog
  • And one more study related to rural areas: turns out that SNAP, the nutritional assistance program (you know, one of those programs the poor use that the Party of Stupid wants to cut because they'd rather those poor people starved), plays a very large role in keeping grocery stores in business. Seriously, SNAP funds that poor people use to buy food and (some) groceries are a significant revenue for grocery stores, especially in rural areas. The irony of course is that a lot of those SNAP recipients in rural areas, like here in Kentucky, went right ahead and voted for the Pendejo In Chief and the Party of Stupid. Story via The Daily Yonder.  
  • Here is a trend that someone is finally noticing, besides me, that FAIR dubs as "perseverance porn." Basically it refers to those sappy human interest stories of some guy who walks 20 miles in 30 feet of snow to get to a menial job despite having no shoes or proper winter gear, then people take pity and crowdsource to buy him a car. More often than not these and other such stories are nothing more than poor shaming bullshit tales. Read the story and get the details. 
This week we have a couple of ridiculous items:

  • Dunkin Donuts is trying to pull what Kentucky Fried Chicken did a while back when it became KFC. Dunkin Donuts is hoping you will sort of and kind of forget they sell donuts (because those are junk food), and you will remember more that they sell coffee (including those abominable "coffee drinks" that are more sugar loaded milkshakes, a.k.a. junk food). How? They are dropping "Donuts" from Dunkin Donuts name to become just plain Dunkin. Story via  The Week.
  • As you may have noticed, many restaurants, specially chains, pride themselves on selling giant portions of food abominations at a somewhat accessible cost (well, accessible to some). This is the kind of food that you need to "check with your waiter for a list of nearby cardiac care units." Now some people get all high and mighty and whine arguing, "hey, don't eat it every day; it is just a treat." But if said treat could potentially send you to an ER, or at least the nearest toilet due to excess, well, that could be a problem. Well, to reasonable people. To most Americans, hey, that plate is not big enough, put that thing on a trough. And how do you know who are the best of the best in these kind of restaurants? Well, you can check the recent winners of the 2017 Xtreme Eating Awards. Story via Alternet.
In job openings:

  • Looking for work? NASA (yea, the space guys) are looking for  a planetary protection officer. Pay is good, and you make sure you get to protect the Earth from the scum of the universe. Story via The Washington Post
To wrap up the week, sadly the Pendejo In Chief offers a couple of signs the economy is bad:

  • I mentioned previously how the Secret Service was setting up a post in Trump Tower. Well, apparently he, or his "organization," drives a hard bargain since the Secret Service decided to not take the lease and set up shop there after all. Story via  NPR. 
  • Finally, find out how the Pendejo In Chief may be ruining book sales. Story via The New Republic. This story I did find interesting as a reader and librarian, and I think a few folks might too.


    Short Booknotes on Graphic Novels 24, plus a bonus.

    These are some books I have read recently that I borrowed from my local public library. They were quick reads, so I am just doing some quick review notes on them.

    Pénélope Bagieu (author) and Nanette McGuinness (translator), California Dreamin'. New York: First Second, 2017. ISBN: 9781626725461. 

    This is a life of Ellen Cohen, better known by her stage name of Cass Elliot. Cass Elliot was a member of the 1960s band The Mamas and the Papas. The book has an entertaining and moving narrative. It is also humorous at times. We get her life from childhood until the time the title song becomes famous. Each chapter is told mainly from the view of someone in her life. In addition, the art is nice, done in black and white; it is lively. I really liked it. It is a solid biography. The end of the book features a small list of sources and a musical playlist. To note in the end: her friends and her were extremely  dysfunctional, yet she kept her vision, and with the talent she had, she got her dream. This edition is a translation from a French original work.

    4 out of 5 stars.

    Jason Aaron,, Star Wars, Volume 2: Showdown on the Smuggler's Moon. New York: Marvel Comics,  ISBN: 978-0-7851-9214-5.

    This volume is part of the Star Wars series now owned by Disney. It covers issues 7-12 of the Star Wars comic. The story takes place between Episode 4: A New Hope (i.e. the original Star Wars movie) and Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back. There are two stories in this volume. The main story is Luke Skywalker searching for information and sources about the Jedi. His lightsaber is stolen, and he gets trapped by a Hutt who plans to use him in his arena. Meanwhile, a woman from Han Solo's past threatens him and Leia Organa. It is a good and entertaining story with great pacing. The art is very colorful. The second story is of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine, from Kenobi's journal. Overall, I think this is one that fans will find satisfying.

    4 out of 5 stars.

    Jim Davis, Garfield: Lard of the Jungle. New York: Ballantine Books, 2011. ISBN: 9780345525840. 

    I continue to read and enjoy this comic This time, it's the 52nd book in the series, and we get the usual clean fun here. Among the highlights, Jon gets a new cellphone. This may take you back to when you got your first cellphone. How many of you remember that? Another amusing comic is Jon remembering some previous dates and girlfriends some of these descriptions are cringe-worthy but still amusing. 4 out of 5 stars.

    Diane Muldrow, Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned from a Little Golden Book. New York: Golden Books, 2014. ISBN: 9780553508758.

    Diane Muldrow continues her series small life lessons from the art in Little Golden Books. This time she focuses on love and romance. Though you can read this at any time, this volume is clearly targeted for the Valentine's Day audience. Overall, it is a cute and charming book for adults, and it can be a nice trip down memory lane. If you have enjoyed others in the series, you will enjoy this one as well. 4 out of 5 stars.