Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Deck Review: The Isis Oracle

Alana Fairchild, with Jimmy Manton (artist), The Isis Oracle. Victoria (Australia): Blue Angel Publishing, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-922161-01-7.

WorldCat Record here.
Purchase it from Llewellyn (the US distributor for Blue Angel) here.

Note: I have the full size edition, which I reviewed now. There is also a pocket edition available. That one does not have the book. It has smaller cards, with card information on the back of the cards. My daughter has the pocket version, and she is happy with it.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: divination, spirituality, oracle cards
Format: card deck and book set
Source: Personal copy bought at Sqecial Media

Recently I have been using and enjoying The Isis Oracle card deck and book by Alana Fairchild. The Isis Oracle package includes 44 cards and a 220-pages guidebook; it comes in a nice, compact solid box. I wish more decks were packaged so well.

Let's start with the guidebook. The book's arrangement is simple. You get a short introduction, and then you get a section for each card. The introduction includes an author's statement and explanation of the oracle and Isis the deity, how to use the deck, and two spreads. For each card, the book includes a black and white small image of the card, an epigraph, a text expounding upon the card's meaning, instructions for a ritual related to the card, and a small incantation and prayer. You get about 5 to 6 pages of content per card, so you do get a lot to work with.

If your spiritual path or practice includes Isis, and you use oracle cards, this can be a good addition to your practice. As I mentioned, the book gives a lot to work with. Plus the cards feature great art to go with the rituals. If you are a  more vague heathen like me, you can still get a lot from the deck and book. Personally, I tend to used oracle cards to supplement my Tarot card draws. At the time of this review, I have been using it with my Gaian Tarot (Powell) deck, and it works well. Where the Gaian Tarot is casual and informal, the Isis Oracle adds a bit of formality, and for me, it often complements my Tarot deck well, reinforcing messages. If you have an ancient Egypt themed deck or a set of cartouche cards (my daughter has a set of these she uses in her craft), then the Isis Oracle can make a good companion. Even if you do not do ancient Egypt heavily, if you have a passing curiosity, this may be for you too.

The cards are about 5 1/2 inches by 3 3/4 inches, which is a good size to appreciate the painting-style art. The art is in full color, and it is very evocative of ancient Egypt and its spirituality and mythology. The card stock quality is good with a good coating for durability. The cards are not gilded, and they are borderless (for folks who care about that detail). Jimmy Manton does the art, rich in detail, and he does a great job portraying Isis and other characters and concepts of the Egyptian pantheon.  On a side note, Manton also did the art for The Halloween Oracle (link to my review). The Halloween Oracle is a very different deck; between the two you can appreciate the artist's range and ability.

Overall, I really like this deck. It is an excellent deck. I think collectors will like it. Isis practitioners will likely enjoy it and get good use out of it. Other oracle card users may likely enjoy it too. As I mentioned, you get a good amount of content, but you can use what works for you best and leave the rest.

4 out of 5 stars.

This item qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenge:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Deck Review: The Gaian Tarot

Joanna Powell Colbert, Gaian Tarot: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2016. ISBN: 978-0-7643-5062-7.

Here is the WorldCat record.
If you wish to get your copy, here is the publisher page.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre; Tarot, divination, spirituality, self-help, card decks
Format: 78-cards deck with paperback guidebook boxed set
Source: I own this one. 

This is a deck I was using recently until I switched decks over for the Halloween season. I admit that I was a bit reluctant to switch decks over because I enjoy using the Gaian Tarot very much. It is a very positive and affirming deck. If you are looking for an uplifting, positive, and light deck, this may be for you.

I have the recent edition published by Schiffer. I understand the deck started out as many other decks do: as an independent deck. Then Llewellyn had it for a while before Schiffer. I have not seen the previous editions, so I can't comment on them. What I can say is that Schiffer has made a very nice package of a very nice deck and book.

Let's start with the book. The kit does include a substantial book, which is arranged as follows:

  • Preface
  • Major Arcana
  • Minor Arcana
  • Working with the cards. This section includes a bit on reading cards intuitively, how do to do a daily draw, and a bit on asking questions. It also includes ten card spreads.
  • Endnotes
  • Bibliography. I found this interesting. In addition to featuring some Tarot classics like works by Mary K. Greer and Rachel Pollack, it includes works on symbols, nature, the Pacific Northwest, and even Clarissa Estes' book Women Who Run With Wolves.
 The book is a softcover volume. The pages on the left corner of the even pages are color coded: blue for Major Arcana, green for Minor Arcana, orange for Working with the cards. This is a small detail that is helpful in flipping through the book. Major Arcana is arranged in conventional order, by which I mean nothing surprising or outlandish. In this deck, Strength is 8, and Justice is 11. Note also that the author used Arabic numerals in the Major Arcana. It is another small detail, but it makes the deck feel modern and a bit more accessible to beginners. The Minor Arcana are arranged by numbers (Aces, Two's, etc.) rather than by element with the court cards after the numbers.

For each Major Arcana card, you get the following:

  • Small picture  of the card in full color. This is definitely a nice touch. Other books, if they even include a card illustration, it is often black and white. 
  • A text describing the card. 
  • A "when you get this card in a reading." Here is the meaning of the card. 
  • A "when you read the Shadow side of this card. . . ". This is your reversal. Use it if you read reversals (at this point in my Tarot learning journey, I do not read reversals). I still often glance at this in using the book as I find it interesting. This is also for the folks who do shadow work. 
  • A list of themes for the card. 
  • A list of the card's symbols with explanations. This is another thing I found helpful and that you rarely see in other decks. 
  • A list of journal questions. Use them for journaling or further reflection. I think you can also use them as aide if you hit a blank when interpreting a card. 
  • Card's affirmation. This is a favorite feature of mine for this book and deck. 
Minor Arcana pages are a bit leaner. You get first a page or two per number or court card giving you the themes and a text on the numbers and suit in general. Then for each card you get:

  • Card description.
  • Card's image, still in full color.
  • Card meaning ("when you get this card").
  • Reversal ("when you read the Shadow side").
  • Card's affirmation. 
The Minor Arcana section is not as comprehensive, but then again, that is common for most Tarot handbooks. What you get here is pretty good overall and enough to get you going.

The book is very easy and accessible. Colbert's tone is warm, caring, and comforting. The book is written in plain language. There is nothing overly complicated or esoteric, but do not let that fool you. There is a lot of substance and depth in the book, the cards, and the symbols. For those seeking to study a deck in depth, there is plenty of material to work on.

When I get a new deck that includes a full book (i.e. not just a little white book, or what the Tarotistas call an LWB), I will try to read the book fully at least once and usually before I start using the deck. Some books are better than others. This is one of the better ones due to its ease of reading and tone. It  is a really nice, comfy read. It  has depth but without an academic feel to it. Though keyed to the deck, you could use parts of it to complement your general Tarot study using other decks. Overall, this Tarot's concept is positive, bright, and uplifting, and the book develops and expands on that.

Overall, I really liked the book, so I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Next, let's look at the cards. You get a 78-cards deck. Each card measures about 5 3/4 inches by almost four inches. Some folks I have used the cards with for light readings observe they seem to be on the big side; that works well for me. Each card has a painting art image with a whine inner border and a blue outer border; this makes it look a bit like old style photos you stick in an album. The borders do not bother me personally, but I see where folks obsessive about borders may consider trimming the deck. The card stock feels good and light. The card's back design is reversible.

The art on the cards is contemporary and diverse. Much of the art draws from the Pacific Northwest images and setting. The art features people, animals, and plants. People are diverse in terms of appearance and body types. The images are bright and colorful. It is very easy to read the cards intuitively. There are no dark or threatening images. For folks who would like a "gentle" deck, this is definitely a good selection. It was for this reason I recently took the deck with me to do some simple card readings. For folks who may not know what Tarot is or maybe they fear it a bit, this is a warm, basic, friendly deck with modern images that people can relate to. For my personal use, I enjoy its positivity and warmth.

Colbert does change the names in some of the cards. Examples include:

  • The Seeker (The Fool)
  • The Teacher (The Hierophant)
  • Bindweed (The Devil)
 The Court Cards in this deck are:
  • Children (Pages)
  • Explorers (Knights) 
  • Guardians (Queens)
  • Elders (Kings)
Note that the court cards in this deck can be  male or female, so yes, a "queen" can be male and "king" can be female. This let's you reflect more on what the court cards do and symbolize rather than just gender.  In fact, studying the court cards in this deck has helped me better understand the court cards in other decks.

Overall, this is a great deck of cards with modern art. It is a good deck for daily use. If you are new to Tarot, this deck may be a good option. If you are looking something different, more light, bright, and comforting, this is also a good option. For me, it is one of the best decks in my growing collection. I am glad to have it, and I hope to keep using it for many years.

5 out of 5 stars for the cards.
5  out of 5 stars for the set overall.

This kit qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenges:

Friday, November 24, 2017

Booknote: Home is Where the Cat Is

Lesley Anne Ivory, Home is Where the Cat Is. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-7369-1848-0.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: art, poetry, cats
Format: small hardback
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library 

This little book is a collection of cat paintings by artist Lesley Anne Ivory. The book is a celebration of felines in our homes and lives.

The book combines color paintings of various cats in real and natural poses. Some paintings are small, and others take up a page or two. Along with the paintings, you get text in the form of verses, quotes, and some very short narratives about cats.

Overall, it is a nice book. Cat lovers will probably like it very much. I know I did.

4 out of 5 stars.

Book qualifies for this 2017 Reading Challenge:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A few Thanksgiving treats 2017

This week I get to work a short week due to the Turkey Day holiday. I will be working until Wednesday afternoon, then get the holiday and Friday off. Students get the Wednesday as well. We have no major plans to travel or have guests, and we are grateful for that. If you are traveling, I wish you safe journeys. If you are hosting people, I hope it is as stress free as possible and that some peace reigns in your celebration. So, while I am gone, here is a little trivia and entertainment for the holiday.

Pat Nixon with the White House Chefs in the kitchen, viewing the Thanksgiving turkey and vegetables, November 19, 1970. From the Nixon Presidential Library.

  • Start with some trivia about the holiday. The U.S. Census Bureau has their Thanksgiving feature out so you can see the holiday by the numbers. 
  • USA Today had some features for the holiday that may be of interest: 
    • Many folks I have known are extremely informal about the Thanksgiving meal. Apparently, there is some etiquette rules that civilized people mind. Here are some highlights with my comments: 
      • "Dress appropriately." Apparently just staying in pajamas is frowned upon. 
      • "Never have more than one cocktail before dinner." This must have been proclaimed before the era of the Pendejo In Chief. You know your Trumpista crazy uncle is going to be loud. You are going to need something stronger to ignore him. Bonus if it puts you to sleep. 
      • "Avoid discussing controversial or painful family subjects. This is a day to be together in a spirit of generosity and thankfulness for all you do have. Let it be so. Likewise, do not talk about your health — good or bad." This should require no further comment. It is simple: shut the fuck up on anything controversial or painful. The old rule of "avoid politics and religion" in polite company should be in full force.Oh, and Aunt Bertha, shut it about your sister Irma's hemorrhoids. 
    •  Are you flying? Here is your reminder of the pains and tribulations you will be suffering unless you own a private jet. The Pendejo In Chief's TSA is certainly making the  airport experience much more invasive
    • Are you one of those fine souls who likes to help others? You are thinking of going to help out at a soup kitchen or serve Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate on the holiday? Good for you, but the service agencies would rather you not
    • On the positive, if you are running late on getting that turkey, and you are one of those nitpicky people who need it to be organic, antibiotic free, blah blah, Amazon has you covered as they are cutting prices on those at Whole Foods
  • Is your Thanksgiving kind of blah? Do you need to give it some pizazz?  The Week suggests five ways to class it up. Because you are not showing enough gratitude for the blessings you may have unless you have a $200 gravy boat and a $25 cocotte (whatever the hell that is). 
  • Still worried you might screw up the dinner? Don't worry, here is one of those chef articles you get this time of year with his "secrets" to be successful. Via Vox. Joking aside, the book featured in the article does sound interesting. 
  • Are you driving there instead of flying? That could be a better option if it is viable for you. However, you may want to keep an eye on traffic conditions.You can also check on traffic trends to know when it may be best to travel, if you must. Via Lifehacker
  • Need a bit more help with preparing and making the meal? Here is a list of a few books and DVDs that could help. Via Shelf Talk
  • By the way, did you know turkey is not really responsible for you falling asleep after the meal? Read why here. Story via The Conversation.
  • If turkey is not your thing, well, chicken is an option. Here is a bit more radical option. Via Foodiggity.
  • As mentioned here and in other places, Thanksgiving dinner can be a stressful time for various reasons. If you must either host or go to someone's home, you may want to take a few deep breaths. Here are also some Buddhist practices to help you get grounded for the event (applicable too for Christmas later on) via Tricycle
  • Still have to put up with some stubborn Pendejo In Chief fan? There is a hotline you can call to help you out if you need some constructive talking points to deal with them and more. Via SUJR.
  • And here is a little something to help you reflect on gratitude, which is a big part of Thanksgiving. If you keep a journal, you may want to consider doing this 31 Days of Gratitude journaling challenge, starting December 1st. Via Writing Through Life. I am seriously thinking about doing it.

Booknote: Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 31: The Hell Screen

Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo, Volume 31: The Hell Screen. Milwaukie, OR; Dark Horse Books, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-50670-187-5.

Genre: graphic novels and comics
Subgenre: samurai, furries/anthros, feudal Japan
Format: trade paperback
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

For me, this series is always a pleasure to read. This volume contains fiver stories, including the  title story. The title story is divided into three parts. In this book, Usagi faces various situations from floods and famine in villages to a murder mystery to a perilous journey. Through them all, he is an honorable, brave, and generous samurai. Sakai continues his way of writing good stories, stories that can also often be moving and have at times unexpected turns.

"The Fate of the Elders" is a short piece in this volume, but the outcome makes for a touching and unexpected turn. It was a nice piece overall.

The title story is a murder mystery, and it is a good story that also has a twist at the end. Just when you think the case is solved, the author reveals another layer.

Overall, this is another excellent volume in the series. I definitely recommend it.

5 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenges:

Monday, November 20, 2017

We need a "Who is the next pervert asshole?" betting pool

This started out as a joke I made on Facebook after the latest (at the time) story of some influential male getting denounced for being a pervert harassing asshole. I think it was Al Franken at the time. Today, it's Charlie Rose. Who knows who is next. Anyhow, I am partially joking here, I think (and I will be honest, cracking jokes and humor are all that I have left in the Hard Times we are living the United States under the Pendejo In Chief), so I am saying we need a betting pool.

It would be "who is the next guy in influential position to be revealed an asshole?" We can even have categories and points. For instance:
  •  How many years ago did it happen? (We could have a point per year. 1/2 a point if we are dealing in months)
  • Location: was it the workplace? In a bathroom? in a government agency? in church? at a funeral? (lots of possibilities here)
  •  (for politicians): GOP or Democrat? (Because we all know those third parties and independents do not matter)
  • Also for politicians or figures in public service: will they resign? Will they get impeached or removed from their post?
  • The number of women making an allegation/denunciation/accusation
  • The number of men making an allegation/denunciation/accusation (if the asshole leans that way)
  •  The number of the above (women or men) that were minors at the time of the alleged incident or incidents.
  • You get a bonus if the asshole molested men AND women.
  • How many assholes are being accused in a given week/month or heck, daily at this point. So say, you get a number of points if you guess correctly how many assholes get busted in a given week.
  • For celebrities, are they popular or "washed out." 
  • Also for celebrities, do they lose their career right away (if they still had one)? Does he or she survive? (see also the long term bet below)
  • Was the asshole in question well liked before (think someone like Mr Rogers) or was he still an asshole anyhow (think New Jersey's top asshole Chris Christie)?
  • Degree of being religious (religiosity). 
    • What religion were they? (More points if it is something more exotic than the usual Christian)
    • Were they a full religious figure (i.e. a cleric or such)? 
    • If secular, were they religious nags wanting to impose their morals on the rest of us? (Think most every other RW evangelical)
    • On the other hand, were they sort of saintly (think St. Francis of Assisi  or Mother Theresa level). 
    • Or, were they atheists? (this may get you higher points since religious nags often get revealed more). 
  • Will the allegation result in criminal prosecution? 
    • If yes, you can also bet on what sentence they get and how long. Betting options for things like hung jury, having to change the trial venue, how long the jury deliberates, and other trial shenanigans and stunts available. 
  • Will the allegation lead to a civil lawsuit? 
    • If yes, you can bet on whether the lawsuit will end up with accuser winning, the accused winning, on the amount of the money won (if it does not end up sealed, which you can bet on that too), or if they settle out of court. 
  • The long term bet: how long before the asshole's career gets back on track after it is fucked up by the initial revelation. For example, in Kevin Spacey's case, how long before it becomes acceptable to employ him, watch his movies again, etc. 
  • Automatic win (this is your dark horse if you will): if a woman is revealed to be the pervert asshole. (Not saying it does not happen, but the odds are seriously slim. I think Vegas bookies will back me up on this. So, if it is a woman, you win the pool automatically). 
 Additional categories (additions due to new events): 
  • Odds on the pervert asshole committing suicide to avoid further scrutiny, shame, etc. like this Kentucky asshole
    • Additional betting options for method of suicide employed. The more "exotic" the method, the more you win. So gun would be fairly low (I mean, that is easy). Go for creativity here.
    • Bonus points if spouse or other close relative decides to try to run for their office/take their job, like the spouse of said Kentucky asshole announced.
  • An accusation turns out to be faked or a hoax/scam, like this one about Schumer
  • The asshole confesses "out of the blue." In other words, everyone is minding their business, and suddenly some guy gets "the urge" or "conscience" to confess he has always been an asshole, like this guy. You may have bet on him before for another option, but he skipped ahead being accused and just blabbed it out. 
  • Institutional pervert fuckery: A whole institution or organization gets shut down due to some sex abuse scandal, like the Nobel Literature Prize not awarding a prize in 2018 due to a scandal.  
  • A couple. It could be a straight or gay couple ( two men or two women) being perverts to another person. For example, this case  was two homosexual men accused of raping another man.  One guy pervert asshole is just a regular bet. A couple of assholes ganging up that is a new betting option.
So place your bets folks. And if you have suggestions for other betting options, feel free to comment.

(Again, I emphasize I am joking. If you are going to comment to get self-righteous, do not bother. I will just delete you and move on.)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Booknote: Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy

Vesa Lehtimäki, Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy. New York: DK Publishing, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-4654-4009-9.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: art and photography, Star Wars, LEGOs, toys
Format: oversized hardcover
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

This is an oversize book of LEGO Star Wars photography, and it is a pleasure to look through. This is more than LEGO for kids, even though the author states he used his kids' LEGO sets.

The photographs are well made, and the oversize format allows for better appreciation. The book's premise is mainly catching characters doing unusual things or things outside the movie scenes; note that the book focuses on the original movie trilogy. In addition, the author provides small commentary on how the photos were made, so if you are interested in how the magic happens, the commentary may be of interest too.

This is definitely a book for all ages. Whether you are a Star Wars fan or a LEGOs fan or both, this is a book for you. It makes a great selection for libraries, especially public libraries though I can see some academic libraries with strong photography programs picking it up too. Overall, it was a very nice photography book.

5 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challege:

Friday, November 10, 2017

Signs the economy is bad: November 10, 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.

Another week goes by. Let's see how the bad economy is doing.

  • Despite the bragging by the Pendejo In Chief, Carrier is laying off even more workers. Story via Salon.
  • Do you feel that 2017 is worse than 2016? You are not alone. Turns out a new Gallup poll does confirm that  yes, this year is worse than last year. And the rate things are going, I think 2018 will be even worse. Story via The Washington Post
  • This is not so much as sign the economy is bad as it is a moment of schadenfreude. Turns out Bill Cosby is flooded with  legal bills and having a hard time paying them. Story via Radar Online. 
  • In new opportunities for entrepreneurship, someone is supplying a Florida school with bulletproof backpack panels, which the school is then selling to their students. Sure, some might say this is just giving up on the problem of excess guns and mass shootings. I say this is a great economic opportunity to find lucrative contracts supplying schools with needed protection for their students in these hard times. After all, if you are a parent with kids in schools, you do want them safe, right? Hell, I should check and see if I can buy one of those to  insert in my backpack. Story via GQ Magazine.
  • Meanwhile, turns out the AR-15 rifle is the weapon of choice for mass shooters. Story via The Intercept. Again, plenty of economic opportunity as demand is likely to stay high. I have a good ad jingle for them: "AR-15: When you absolutely, positively got to kill every innocent motherfucker in a public gathering place. Accept no substitutes." (With apologies to Samuel L. Jackson)
  • Looking for a job? If you are in Japan, and you have acting skills, you could work as a professional friend. Story via The Week.  
  • The homeless situation is jolly bad in parts of the United Kingdom. Story via the BBC. 
  • Also via the BBC, toy makers and sellers are praying to their deities that the Christmas season will save them from the sales slumps and woes they are currently facing. The bets are on. 
  •  You may think being a freelancer is glamorous, setting your hours, working when you can, but the reality of the gig economy can be a nightmare. Story via The Week
  • For women, they cannot catch a break. Turns out there is a gender pay gap in the field of physics. Why am I not surprised? Story via Inside Higher Ed.  
  • In the "get a clue" department, Poor as Folk blogger illustrates the importance of something we  all take for granted: a phone. If you are poor, a phone is necessary, and if you lack one when your services get cut off, and you are working to get them turned back on, well, read the tale. What irks me is the stupidity and insensitivity of the service company drones, something I can relate to.
  • Meanwhile, let's see how the uber rich are doing and what are they buying. These days, if they are shopping at Tiffany's, they are buying tin cans at $1000 each. Yep, you read that right, and no, there is nothing inside the can. Story via Inc.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Signs the economy is bad: November 3, 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.

Part of me was hoping to take a break this week, but the Bad Economy had other ideas. So here we are again. Let's have a look at some of what has going on the past week.

  • A big item this week is the story of the Tokyo (Japan) company that gives extra time off to workers who do not smoke. This is to compensate those who do not  smoke and thus do not get "smoking breaks." I think this is an idea that needs to catch on. If we non-smokers have to pick up the slack of smoking asshats who  need a break to feed their addiction, we need to be compensated fairly too. Story via The Lexington Herald-Leader.
  • Did you know in Kentucky your small boat is taxed much higher than a big luxury boat? (this link leads to a short  video clip) Just one  of the many tax fuckeries in the state that the Lexington Herald Leader has been highlighting this week. 
  • Meanwhile, the military industrial complex is doing just fine (even if it is at the expense of everything else). We do not need health care or schools or roads. Just keep putting in those trillions into the war machine. Story via Alternet. When it comes to war, George Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, said it well, "It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that the hierarchical society needs."  
    • Want to learn more? The Department of Defense has a new report on the topic too. Story via Federation of American Scientists.
  • Under ridiculous news, John "Papa John" Schnatter decided that the reason his company is having low pizza sales is the NFL and their players protesting the U.S. anthem. I am sure it has nothing to do with his greedy attitude regarding his employees health care needs, his franchisees engaged in wage theft, or the fact his pizza is  so-so compared to local options (if you have local options).  Stories via Salon, International Business Times, and USA Today.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is considering doing Sunday delivery during the holidays season. Story via The Christian Science Monitor.
  • In some positive news, Halloween candy sales did very well in 2017. Story via NPR. 
  • Apparently Facebook was passing Russian trolls' political ads during the election campaign, and this has caused some shock to some folks. This article from Inside Higher Ed argues  you should not be shocked: Facebook worked exactly the way it is designed to work as an advertising platform. It is all part of something called surveillance capitalism, definitely a sign of the bad economy. 
  • Meanwhile, more from higher education where recent study finds that women with male partners seeking a junior faculty position (think assistant professor in the tenure line) face more bias than men with a spouse when it comes to hiring. Story via Inside Higher Ed.
  • And finally for this week, yet another article on an issue that does not go away: college students, homelessness, and food insecurity. Again, via Inside Higher Ed

Booknote: Ahsoka

E.K. Johnston, Ahsoka. Los Angeles, CA: Disney/Lucasfilm Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-148470566-7.

Genre: Science Fiction
Subgenre: space opera, young adult, Star Wars
Format: hardcover
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

This young adult novel tells the story between the time Ahsoka leaves the Jedi Order towards the end of the Clone Wars series and her appearance as Rebel operative Fulcrum in the Star Wars Rebels series. The book was interesting for me in terms of following the character after Clone Wars; I had recently finished watching the series DVDs, so I was curious. However, the novel does have a very slow build up initially, which bogs down the narrative pace. Once the book picks up around the middle of the book, it starts to get entertaining. The book also features various flashback episodes filling other gaps in the story. We even get some glimpses of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Overall, I liked it a little bit, but given its slow pace I found it hard to get into. I am sure hardcore fans will likely find the book of interest. If you've enjoyed both series, you might enjoy this. It is a young adult title, so it has a lighter feel than novels like Tarkin for example. Ahsoka is another example of character novels that Disney is putting out now that they own Star Wars. Besides Tarkin, there is also Kenobi. Kenobi has a bit more similar feel to Ahsoka. Personally, I liked Tarkin better. As I said, I think many fans will enjoy it. I thought it was OK, but it was nice to follow Ahsoka a bit more.

2 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenges: