Over here at The Itinerant Librarian I continue doing book reviews. It is something I enjoy. It is a good way to keep track and recall what I read, and it is my small measure of reader's advisory and a way to give back to my four blog readers. As I said at the end of 2017, I wanted to add more bookish content to this blog. I managed to do a bit of that last year, and I hope to continue into 2019. For this year, I would like to try doing an editorial calendar for this blog to see if I can keep the content more consistent. At least use it to plan some semi-regular features in addition to reviews.
Speaking of book reviews, if you are an author, editor, or publisher, and you think you have a book I may want to read and review, check out my book review statement, then let me know. I'd be happy to consider it if fits with my review statement and reading interests. I am also a Tarot and oracle card reader and collector, so if you are an author, editor, and publisher of a deck and/or book on this subject, feel free to pitch it my way. If you want to see a sampling of what I have reviewed in that area, you can check the "Tarot" tag on this blog (right side column).
On another positive note, I reached six years working at Hutchins Library, Berea College. This is the longest now I have remained in a professional librarian position. As I mentioned, they do keep me busy, and I am often learning new things. Sure, not everything is roses and rainbows; administrivia is one of the things I dislike, but way I see it I have to do some things I like less to get to do the things I do like. Such is life. Once in a while I learn something new or experience a small epiphany, though not big enough or urgent enough I feel a need to blog about it. At any rate, here is to hoping for another six years at least.
The big highlight in blogging, if we can call it that, was the whole Tumblr debacle at the end of 2018. First Yahoo! bought them out, and you could see the first indications things would go downhill. Once Verizon bought Yahoo!, the writing was on the wall. It was just a matter of time until they fucked it up, and sure enough, they did. I had a Tumblr blog I opened back in the days when Library 2.0 was still a thing, as yet another experiment on what was then a new site to me. I did use it somewhat, had some fun with it. However, the censorship is just not right. It got so ridiculous that they started flagging some of my posts which were not even explicit at all. I did not feel like wasting my time trying to appeal, so I did what many others have done: I backed up the content, then also exported it someplace else, and shut down the Tumblr account. I guess it was nice while it lasted. If nothing else, a small positive, is that having to close down my Tumblr gave me an incentive to see what other options are out there, so I will be experimenting a bit more in the near future. Meanwhile, if interested, you can find Alchemical Annex in its new home over at Wordpress. The export laid out the content in the template you see. I have not really reviewed it in full, nor added anything new. As soon as I have time to explore more, I will probably get back to adding new things in it.
Let's move on to the reading part. Like last year, without even counting, I can already tell I read less books in 2018. 2018 was no better in terms of the "Hard Times," and that can wreak havoc with your mood to read. My moratorium on reading anything related to politics, social issues, activist topics, and/or most current events went pretty well. I only briefly broke it in November to read that one book by the folks at The Daily Show. I will continue the moratorium into 2019. I find it helps my mental health to just avoid those topics. There are plenty of people reading those books already and adding to the noise, so I can do without it. I am keeping my reading as escapist and recreational as possible.
So, to sum up where we are as we start 2019:
Another reason I have been reading less is that I continue to enjoy my study and learning of Tarot and oracle cards. In fact, I have been hoping to turn my commonplace blog, Alchemical Thoughts, into a bit more of a Tarot/oracle blog, or at least use that blog to create more content in that area. The small responses I've gotten to that content have been positive, so it is something I will keep exploring in 2019. I am also still posting my daily card draw and the daily underneath/shadow card on Twitter. Last year, I mentioned I would consider trying out Instagram. However, I did try it out, and I just do not like that it is an app only site where you have to use you mobile device to post anything or make content. My mobile phone, nice as it is, is just not robust enough to post and edit content. I honestly do not see how people do it, but to each their own. Speaking of Tarot, Ethony Dawn has once again put down the gauntlet for the "31 Days of Tarot" (social media hashtag: #31daysoftarot19). It is mainly a YouTube challenge, but since I do not use YouTube to make videos I do the prompts over at Alchemical Thoughts, which I used to crosspost on Tumblr, but that is not an option for 2019. I will crosspost to Alchemical Annex instead. I am already running a couple of days behind, so I will catch up when I can. In terms of reading books, a bit more Tarot and oracle means a bit less reading other books, and I am at peace with that.
One last reason for me reading less is a bit more simple: I am watching more movies and other videos more. I have been checking out DVDs from my local public library, and I have been watching things I can stream online, mainly for free. TubiTv.com has been a nice discovery. It is a bit of random fun since you can find either a rare gem or some serious dreck, but overall has been good. There are some other free streaming options I have tried out, but they just do not work as well. Anyhow, if you want to check out what I've been watching, I do a monthly roundup at the beginning of a month for the previous month. You can find these under the "film and television" tag in this blog (right side column).
Let's get on with it and look at what and how I read in 2018. After the list, you will find my comments and remarks. Note that books with an asterisk (*) are rereads.
- Hannah Dolan, The LEGO Movie: The Essential Guide.
- Library of Congress, The Card Catalog.
- John Barber, Transformers: IDW Collection, Phase Two, Volume 6.
- Jim Davis, Odie Unleashed! Garfield Let's the Dog Out.
- Darby Conley, Clean Up on Aisle Stupid.
- Simon Furman, et.al., Transformers: Spotlight Omnibus, Volume 1.
- Stephen Jones, ed., The Mammoth Book of Dracula.
- Joshua Kendall, The Man Who Made Lists.
- Joe Strike, Furry Nation.
- Matt Kindt, X-O Manowar, Volume 3: Emperor.
- Mario Puzo, The Godfather (audio edition).*
- Lincoln Peirce, Big Nate: Revenge of the Cream Puffs.
- Colin D. Campbell, Thelema: an Introduction to the Life, Work, and Philosophy of Aleister Crowley.
- Hillary Thompson, et.al., The Infographic Guide to the Bible: the Old Testament.
- Roger Clarke, Ghosts: a Natural History.
- Lincoln Peirce, Big Nate: What's a Little Noogie Between Friends?
- Scott Snyder, Batman/The Shadow: the Murder Geniuses.
- Ciro Marchetti, Legacy of the Divine Tarot (Tarot books and deck kit).
- Curtis Saxton, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Incredible Cross Sections.
- Christoph Ribbat, In the Restaurant.
- Max Bemis, Centipede, Volume 1.
- Rachel Pollack, The New Tarot Handbook.
- Stephan Talty, The Black Hand.
- Howie Abrams, The Merciless Book of Metal Lists.
- Celeste Olalquiaga, The Artificial Kingdom: a Treasury of the Kitsch Experience.
- Bill Samuels, Jr., Maker's Mark: My Autobiography.
- Kris Wilson, Cyanide Happiness: Stab Factory.
- Lincoln Peirce, Big Nate: Great Minds Think Alike.
- Terry Donaldson, The Tarot Spellcaster.
- Benjamin Radford, Bad Clowns.
- Jason Fry, Star Wars: The Force Awakens Incredible Cross Sections.
- Jim Davis, Garfield Souped Up: his 57th Book.*
- Jim Davis, Garfield Goes to his Happy Place: his 58th Book.
- Jim Davis, Garfield Cleans his Plate: his 60th Book.
- Jim Davis, Garfield Cooks Up Trouble: his 63rd Book.
- Loren Rhoads, 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die.
- Jim Marrs, The Rise of the Fourth Reich: The Secret Societies that Threaten to Take Over America (audiobook edition).
- Philip Carlo, Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss (audiobook edition).
- Mario Puzo, The Making of The Godfather (audiobook edition).
- Landry Q. Walker, Star Wars: Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Way, Volume 1: Aliens.
- Mark Jacobson, American Gangster and Other Tales of New York (audiobook edition).
- Nancy C. Antenucci, Psychic Tarot.
- Daniel Lipkowitz, LEGO Star Wars: The Dark Side.
- Greg Farshtey, LEGO Ninjago 9: Night of the Nindroids.
- Bathroom Readers Institute, Uncle John's Old Faithful: 30th Anniversary Bathroom Reader.
- Lydia Kang, Quackery: a Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything.
- Jerry Clark and Ed Palattella, Pizza Bomber.
- Jen Altman, The Circadian Tarot: a Daily Companion for Divination and Illumination.
- Jacob Lambert, Don't Let the Penguin Drive the Batmobile.
- Jennifer B. Bodine, Trains: Photography of A. Aubrey Bodine.
- William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (audiobook edition).
- Mario Benedetti, El amor, las mujeres, y la vida.
- Joseph Bulgatz, Imagined Agencies.
- Roberto Orci et.al., Star Trek: Countdown.
- Sam Giancana and Scott Burnstein, Family Affair: Greed, Treachery, and Betrayal in the Chicago Mafia.
- 50 Cent and Robert Greene, The 50th Law.
- Mike Lee, Fallen Angels (Horus Heresy #11).
- William Lynwood Montell, Tales from Kentucky Funeral Homes.
- James Swallow, Sisters of Battle Omnibus (Warhammer 40,000).
- Thomas Andrews, et.al., Star Wars Omnibus: Boba Fett.
- Jonathan J. Moore, Secret Societies and Crazy Cults.
- The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library.
- Maryanne Wolf, Reader, Come Home.
- Jim Davis, Garfield Feeds His Face: his 64th Book.
- Frank Lowe, ed., Raised by Unicorns: Stories of Children with LGBTQ+ Parents.
- Joel M. Hoffman, The Bible's Cutting Room.
- Sarah Knight, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck. (audiobook edition)
- Jim Davis, Garfield Eats and Runs: His 65th Book.
- Anthony Bourdain, et.al., Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts.
- Roseanne Montillo, The Wilderness of Ruin.
- Kieron Gillen, et.al., Star Wars: Darth Vader, Volume 1: Vader.
- Kieron Gillen, et.al., Star Wars: Darth Vader, Volume 2: Shadows and Secrets.
- Kieron Gillen, et.al., Star Wars: Darth Vader, Volume 3: The Shu-Torun War.
- Kieron Gillen, et.al., Star Wars: Darth Vader, Volume 4: End of Games.
Here are the numbers:
Number of books read in 2018: 74, including 2 rereads.
Number of books read in 2017: 84 (the 2017 list).
Number of books read in 2016: 92, including re-reads (the 2016 list).
Number of books read in 2015: 123, including 2 re-reads (the 2015 list).
Number of books read in 2014: 152, including 2 re-reads (the 2014 list).
Number of books read in 2013: 173, including 2 re-reads (the 2013 list).
Number of books read in 2012: 117, with 6 re-reads (the 2012 list).
Number of books read in 2011: 119, with 3 re-reads (the 2011 list).
Number of books read in 2010: 119, with 6 rereads (the 2010 list).
Number of books read in 2009: 98, with 5 rereads. I believe this is the first time I started to actively track rereads. (the 2009 list).
Number of books read in 2008: 111 (the 2008 list).
Number of books read in 2007: 85 (the 2007 list).
Number of books read in 2006: 106 (the 2006 list).
Number of books read in 2005: 73
- Sure enough. I did read a bit less this year. However, 10 books less does not seem so bad.
- I continue to use GoodReads to track what I read. I strictly use it to mark a book as read, the dates, and the five star ratings. I do not add any additional content; I save my reviews for my blog. However, if someone requests I post a review on GoodReads, I would probably do so in a brief version, keeping the main review for the blog.
- I re-read two books this year. One of them was The Godfather, which I read as an audiobook this year. Puzo's novel is one of my all time favorite books, and one of those books I will pick up when I need a little comfort and escapist reading. I did miss re-reading Batman: The Long Halloween, which I usually try to read sometime in October, as close to Halloween as possible. Things were just too busy. Heck, I barely noticed when Halloween arrived. Then Thanksgiving was here before I knew it, and boom, Christmas and New Year's holidays. Time seriously flew this time. I'll just take another shot at it next October.
- I did not do any reading challenges in 2018. I decided to take a break from those last year. I may do one or two this year. As of this post, I am still deciding which ones and if I will do any reading challenges in 2019. If I do decide to do any, I will post the sign up and opening posts in this blog during January 2019.
- Best reading month: June, with 12 books read.
- Worst reading month: September, with 2 books read.
- Books read in print: 58.
- Books read as e-books, including NetGalley and/or Edelweiss: 9, all on NetGalley. None read via Edelweiss. I just find Edelweiss too cumbersome to use. NetGalley is just much more user friendly.
- Audiobooks: 7. I am finding that I am enjoying e-books more, especially for nonfiction. Except for one, these audiobooks came via my public library's Overdrive system, so they were audio e-books.
- Fiction (does not include graphic novels, comics, nor manga): 8. Not much fiction, though some of the fiction I read was in the form of omnibus books and such, which often contain more than one novel and/or short fiction. Those tend to take me a bit longer to read.
- Nonfiction: 41
- Graphic novels (includes comics and graphic novels, but not manga): 25
- Manga: 0. I have bought a few for my collection in 2018, but I did not get around to reading them.
- Library books read:
- Madison County (KY) Public Library: 55, including audiobooks
- Hutchins Library (where I work): 0
- Interlibrary Loan (ILL):1 via Hutchins Library. Fallen Angels came from the King County Library System, Washington State.
- Books read that I own (or that another member of the family owns, and I borrowed to read): 8
- Other numbers of interest:
- Erotica (which includes fiction as well nonfiction in sexuality topics): 0. This is not too surprising. The "Hard Times" are just not conducive to reading much in the erotica category. This irks me a bit, but at the moment, it is what it is. I do have some books in this category that look interesting enough I may be able to read soon. We'll have to wait and see.
- LIS, including reference works for the library: 0. I've read some articles, and I still read whatever library/librarian blogs are still left out there (the number seems to dwindle more as time passes). I do have some reference books at work to look over, so I will work to review those down the road.
- Tarot and oracle:5, including one book and deck set.
- Pagan/other beliefs/spirituality/esoterica: 2.
- Books offered for review (i.e. not from NetGalley or Edelweiss). I got these from a publisher, author, so on either because I requested them or they were offered for review to me: 2.
- Books in Spanish language: 1.
- Crime/True Crime: 5. I took a bit of an interest in this nonfiction category in 2018. I especially find interesting historical crime and true crime books, like The Wilderness of Ruin, which I finished in December. I anticipate I will keep reading more in this category in 2019. However, the selection in my public library is a bit light on this topic, so I will likely need to do more ILL requests for this.
A little follow up from last year's list. As I started 2018, I was reading the following:
- Library of Congress, The Card Catalog. (Finished)
- Mario Puzo, The Godfather.* (Finished)
- Agatha Christie, Masterpieces of Murder. (collection of four of her novels). (Dropped. I mainly checked it out, but I did not get to it, so returned it. Will likely try again later)
- Joe Strike, Furry Nation. (Finished)
- Stephen Jones, ed., The Mammoth Book of Dracula. (Finished)
- Rose Caraway, ed., For the Men and the Women Who Love Them. (Erotica. Put aside for later. See note above. It is still on my bedside, so I do hope to read it)
- Delilah S. Dawson, Phasma (Star Wars. Part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi novels). (Dropped, not finished. This just did not catch my interest no matter how much I wanted to like it. I was lukewarm at best about the film The Force Awakens, and if this is the kind of novels Disney is spinning out of the new trilogy, I am not impressed.)
- Hannah Dolan, The LEGO Movie: The Essential Guide. (I recently watched and enjoyed the movie, so I picked up this cute book at my public library). (Finished)
As we enter 2019, I am currently reading the following books. From the list, the D.L Hughley book breaks moratorium a bit, but one, it is satire (even if barely), and I could not resist a comedian's book. So far, it is good, funny at times but in a very dark and sad way.
- Michael Dirda, Browsings.
- D.L. Hughley, How Not To Get Shot.
- David Annandale, Yarrick: Imperial Creed (Warhammer 40,000)
- Matt Birkbeck, The Quiet Don.
- Simon Dewar, ed., Suspended in Dusk II.
Finally, thank you for sticking around and reading my blogging and reviews. Also thank you for reading this post, and I hope you will continue stopping by in 2019. As I have done before, I am ending this post with a sampling of reading reports from other bloggers out there that I could find at the time of this post. By the way, if you did an end of year reader summary, and you want to share it, you are welcome to share it in the comments.
Links to other people who do end of year lists (in no particular order):
- Natalie Luhrs at Pretty Terrible offers her obligatory list of media enjoyed in 2018.
- Once again, Meredith Farkas offers her year in books for 2018.
- That Artsy Reader Girl did her end of year book survey and a list of her top ten books read. I will be making a separate post on top books I read later this month.
- Mark Lindner offers his 2018 books and his goals for 2019.
- Jessamyn West offers her 2018 reading list with commentary.
- Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! has their 2018 end of year survey.
- Librarian Shipwreck listed their favorite books of 2018.
- Barbara Fister claims it was a good year for books and gives 10 recommendations.
- Joshua Kim looks at the books he reviewed in 2018.