Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Monday, June 27, 2022
Friday, June 24, 2022
|Knight of Swords|
|Four of Swords |
Let's look at the cards. Initially, the cards may look like an RWS clone. Then you start using the cards, looking at them closely, and you start to notice symbols and details. You do not have to be familiar with the three parent decks. To be honest, RWS style is predominant, and all cards are fully illustrated. This makes for a good beginner's deck. It also can work for intuitive folks and/or those who work without books. I've used TdM a bit, and I've seen Thoth, though have not studied it, so I can see how folks very familiar with those decks will pick up details here and there.
Friday, June 17, 2022
"First, what is the extent of the significant research resources you will miss if you confine your research entirely, or even primarily, to sources available on the open Internet? Second, if you are trying to get a reasonably good overview of the literature on a particular topic, rather than just 'something quickly' on it, what are the methods of subject heading that are usually much more efficient for the purpose rather than typing keywords into a blank search box? And third-- a concern related to the first two-- how do you find the best search terms to use in the first place?" (xv).
"In the overall universe of information records, three considerations are inextricably tied together: (1) copyright protection; (2) free 'fair use' of the records by everyone; and (3) access limitations of what, who, and where.
"(The library field, unfortunately, has a habit of simply following Google rather than focusing on alternatives to it that work much better in the niche areas libraries must fill)" (115).
"(The growing proliferation of echo chambers and filter bubbles-- i.e. producing search results weighted and skewed by individuals' own idiosyncratic past search histories-- further diminishes the Web's capacity to provide inclusive overview perspectives)" (133).
"Bibliographies are also frequently more useful than databases when questions of 'reader's advisory' nature arise-- that is, when people just want recommendations of good books to read, in any subject area" (184).
Friday, June 10, 2022
- Ashlie D. Stevens writes for Salon about cookbooks in the used section of bookstores. She writes about getting lost in those bookstore sections and finding books that may be gems or busts or a look at past now gone. I thought right away of the Better Half who enjoys collecting some cookbooks, and she often checks that area of the used bookstore as well.
- Nicola Sayers in 3 Quarks Daily writes about digital scrapbooking. Much like the writer, I "I am incessantly recording: things I have read, things I want to read, ideas I have come across or had, ways I want to be or to look, memorabilia from places I have been or want to go, inspiring or thought-provoking words, song lyrics, images, film clips, you name it." I just do it online in various places. Some of it I do on my blogs, but also on social media like Twitter and NewTumbl. And yes, I do keep a physical journal as well as an ideas and drafts notebook. The essay also refers to Walter Benjamin's book The Arcades Project (link to Wikipedia entry about the book). On small side note, I cannot help but wonder what will happen to some of those things I curated and scrapbooked when I pass on. A good question to reflect on some other time.
- Book Riot had an article with a brief history of the Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series. I have read and enjoyed books in the series. They often make for nice easy reading, and you get to learn something new at times. In fact I have reviewed some books in the series here on the blog. Links to my reviews:
- Uncle John's Old Faithful 30th Anniversary Bathroom Reader.
- Uncle John's Factastic Bathroom Reader.
- Uncle John's Beer-Topia.
- The Fine Books and Collections blog looks at the question of what impact does the recent movie adaptation of Death on the Nile have on the book trade. For example, as it happens when a new movie based on a book comes out, publishers rush to reissue new editions of the book, usually with covers that match movie art or photography.The post mentions a bit also about any antiquarian book interest in light of the movie. On a personal note, I have not seen the new film, but I did see and enjoy Branagh's previous Christie adaptation Murder on the Orient Express, which I did enjoy. I watched and reviewed that film back in August 2020.
- Shine looks at the influence of Latin American literature in China. The focus is on Argentine literature like the works of Jorge Luis Borges. For example, according to the article, "among Latin American nations, Argentina has had 230 literary works translated, both classic writers and emerging authors. Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Manuel Puig and Ernesto Sabato remain on the spotlight. "
- The Walrus takes a look at where the horror genre is going recently. You get an overview of the genre, and you might also find a new book or two to read.
- It is another week, or another month, and that means someone, somewhere in the books and reading world is writing something about book reviewing, usually about what may or not be a problem with book reviewing.
- Dan Stone in his substack post looks at New York Review of Books reviewers and how they review each other's books. Using a little bit of bibliometrics, Stone found out that yes, they do review each other's books quite often. The post does include various graphs to illustrate the point.
- L.A. Review of Books has a response to a previous essay (essay is linked in the article) about the state of book reviews. These kind of articles usually bemoan the state of the book review, that it may not be intellectual enough, or rigorous enough, or that it is a bourgeois endeavor, or, on and on. I will tell my four readers this much. I review books here on my blog, first to keep track of what I read and offer my honest assessment as reader, scholar, and librarian. Second, I also do it as a bit of a reader's advisory service to help others decide if they want to read a book or not, and maybe help a librarian here or there decide if they should buy a book for my collection. I do not aim for some rarefied level of reviewing, just an honest review with integrity.
- We are getting to the summer again, and in academia we know what that means: it's time for colleges to do their summer virtue signaling ritual of forcing incoming freshmen to read a common book, usually with some political/social issues/activist focus. In other words, the kind of books I currently do not read under my self imposed moratorium on such topics. Makes me glad I went to college before this became a trend.
- If you think I am being snarky about the topic choices colleges are making, Inside Higher Ed backs me up. They take a look at the kind of summer books colleges
force(oops, strongly encourage) their students to read, and they point out that "many institutions are choosing books that touch on issues of social justice—particularly racial inequities." As often happens, colleges as much as possible try to bring in a speaker relevant to the book they chose, either the book's author or someone with expertise on the book's topic. My college has done this sort of thing (it paused during COVID), and they usually brought in the author to one of the early campus convocations.
- Lit Hub also looks at what books colleges are asking their incoming students to read.
- Publishers Weekly asks why are book sales slipping in big cities. Sales are rebounding a bit in bookstores in the post-pandemic (you know, the pandemic that everyone says is over despite it still going strong). Yet it seems stores in urban areas are having the most difficulty recovering in this bad economy. A big factor, according to the article, is that many people have migrated away from big cities to smaller cities and rural areas, in part due to cost of living, again, the bad economy. Not mentioned in the article, but a possibility I would propose is online shopping. The pandemic in the early days meant lockdowns, and a lot of people were stuck at home. They ended up doing a lot more online shopping, and that includes shopping for books. That may be a hard habit to break in favor of going to a bricks and mortar store. However, as I said, that is just my theory.
- Finally for this week, Nieman Lab looks at how self-publishing combined with social media and social media's algorithms is enabling the far right to get their messages out. No, self-publishing is not just for fan fiction, edgy erotica, and other weird niches. If you have an interest in information literacy, reading, literature, politics, and social issues, this may be of interest. A bit from the article:
"We found a group of about 15 novels by self-identified neo-Nazis and other white supremacists that were known to counter-terrorism experts. Others were not. These books were disturbingly easy to get, because they were sold on sites including Amazon, Google Play, and Book Depository.
Publishing houses once refused to print such books, but changes in technology have made traditional publishers less important. With self-publishing and ebooks, it is easy for extremists to produce and distribute their fiction."
"That computers as we know them would not have been possible without massive government funding, largely through military channels, is a concept many today would find surprising. Latter-day corporate hype has colored our conventional understanding of the history of digital technology with a decidedly libertarian streak. Innovation is portrayed as a the product of single inspired individual: independently minded, even rebellious entrepreneurs, exemplified by alpha-geeks like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Those who think differently. But a closer look into how digital technologies actually came into being shows that their ultimate origins were anything but free-market. The directions these technologies took--indeed the very creation of the digital computer itself-- was an enormously subsidized affair, pursued in the interests of maintaining and strengthening American military dominance, at a time when the very future of humanity seemed to rest on the outcome of this contest" (79).