Itinerant Librarian on Books

Like others, I am trying this out after GoodReads sold out to Amazon. I am an avid reader, and I hope to keep track of what I read as well as share it with others who may be interested.


 A little more about me:


I have been an academic librarian since 2004, and I started blogging in 2005. Prior to this, I have been a high school teacher and a college adjunct instructor. One of my passions is to teach others how to know when they need information, how to find it, and how to make use of it in an ethical way. I have access to a diverse range of information sources, and I know how to use them. Plus, I arm people with facts and information. I am firm believer in teaching these very important skills.

I call my professional blog A Simple Scholarly Librarian (where, among other things, I read a lot of library literature so you don't have to, then I write about it. This blog is currently on hiatus). I also keep my book review and personal blog at The Itinerant Librarian.  Finally, I do have a commonplace/scratch pad blog at Alchemical Thoughts. Feel free to check my blogs out. Comments are always welcome.

Married to The Better Half, we have a daughter who reminds me innocence and wonder are great things. We also have two cats who keep life interesting.

Booknote: Easy Tarot Handbook, with review on the Gilded Tarot deck

Easy Tarot: Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All! - Josephine Ellershaw

On the one hand, the book has some good advice for learners, especially about keeping a Tarot journal and overall for learning how to read the Tarot. Ellershaw offers a step by step system for learning how to read the Tarot cards. On the other hand, I did find some of the card meanings in this book a bit on the lighter side when compared to other books, such as Lyle's, but the meanings still fall within tradition for the most part, thus the book is still useful in that regard.


Read the full review, where I also provide a review of the Tarot deck that came with this book kit, Ciro Marchetti's Gilded Tarot, at The Itinerant Librarian. Simply click the link above.


By the way, if there are any Tarot users, readers, and/or collectors here in BookLikes, feel free to comment and say hello.

Booknote: Lando

Star Wars: Lando - Charles Soule, Alex Maleev

(Crossposted from The Itinerant Librarian)


From the book's description:

"Before he joined the Rebellion, before he ran Cloud City, Lando made his way in the galaxy getting by on some swindles, some swagger, and a smile. With the loyal Lobot at his side, Lando has a plan to steal a very valuable ship." 



This book is part of Marvel's new Star Wars comics under Disney ownership. In this comic, Lando finds himself in trouble when he has to settle a debt to a crimelord. To settle it, the crimelord gives Lando one big job: to steal a very valuable ship. Even better for Lando is that he can keep anything of value inside the ship. At the moment, the ship is in dock for repairs, which means minimal security and a great time to steal it. It looks like an easy payday, but Lando soon finds out things are not as they seem. When the owner finds out the ship is stolen, he sends a deadly assassin after Lando, and that may be the least of his worries.

This is a good, fast paced story of Lando Calrissian's early days. It's a good thieves' tale with plenty of action and charm. We see Lando as a smart and lovable scoundrel with a great gift for charm. The tale draws you in right away, and once you start, you keep reading right to the end. And it also has a fast, tense, and moving ending. Additionally, the tale provides more insight into the friendship and bond between Lando and Lobot; for fans of the original films, this may be of interest too. Plus, the art in this volume is very good.

Overall, this is a story I really liked. It did feel a bit short, but it packed in a lot in terms of action. If another volume comes out, I will seek it out. Star Wars fans, especially for The Empire Strikes Back, will likely enjoy this one. It is a good addition for libraries.


Booknote: The Blood Angels Omnibus

The Blood Angels Omnibus, Volume 1 - James Swallow

The novels and short story tell the story of Space Marine Rafen and his blood brother Space Marine Arkio. When Arkio comes into contact with the Spear of Telestro, an ancient Blood Angels' relic recently recovered, Arkio experiences new powers and visions. He then claims to be the reincarnation of Sanguinius, the Blood Angels' Primarch. Many of the Blood Angels rally to Arkio but not all. Rafen is one of those with doubts, and the novels lead to their inevitable confrontation as the Blood Angels are plunged into an internal conflict.


Check out the full review of this at The Itinerant Librarian by clicking on the link above.

Booknote: Tarot Cards

Tarot Cards - Isabella Alston, Kathryn Dixon

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


Check out the rest of my review at The Itinerant Librarian by clicking the link above. On a side note, the photo that BookLikes is using here is different than the cover of the edition I have, which is shown on my blog post.

Booknote: Battle Pope, Volume 3

Battle Pope, Volume 3: Pillow Talk - Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Cory Walker

(Crossposted from The Itinerant Librarian)


After the events in the previous volume, Pope and Jesus are homeless. However, they soon find a new place to live along with the tenants of the previous building they lived in, who ended up homeless as well. Jesus and Pope are getting along slightly better as roommates. Meanwhile, Agnes, Pope's old landlady, keeps hitting on him, and if that was not enough, Pope has a crush on a female demon named Brenda. Could Brenda be true love for Pope at last? The volume also features a Christmas holiday edition, and the Virgin Mary drops by to visit her son for his birthday.

Pope continues to blast evil demons when he can, and he does get with the ladies as much as possible. Though the volume is not as humorous as previous ones, it is still amusing, and it does have some funny moments. The art is definitely a great reason to pick this up, and Image's restoration in full color makes this comic pop. The comic also features a short introduction by Chris Piers, and it also has a sketchbook so you can see early drafts and how the comic was developed. Overall, it was a fun read. As I've said for previous volumes, this is not a comic for young kids given violence and some very adult situations.

Booknote: Black Mass, plus some thoughts on the film

Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, the FBI, and a Devil's Deal - Gerard O'Neill, Dick Lehr

This is a story that on the one hand can be hard to believe. On the other hand, it is a story that is easy to believe given the reputation of law enforcement of often breaking rules they are supposed to enforce and making deals with criminals of dubious value. Sure, taking down the Boston Mafia was a noble goal, but the FBI basically sold its soul to Bulger and enabled his own rise to control organized crime in Boston. Add to this a serious lack of accountability, the FBI's own internal corruption, and a parade of barely competent FBI supervisors, and you get a recipe for a disaster the FBI will be trying to amend for years to come.


Click the link to read my full review at The Itinerant Librarian. This review includes my thoughts on the film, which I watched shortly after having read the book.

Reblogged from Angels With Attitude Book Reviews:

Booknote: The Right Side of History

The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQ Activism - Adrian Brooks, Jonathan Katz

Cleis Press is running a virtual book tour for this book during National Pride Month in June, and I was happy when I got the invite to join in for this book. I wanted to read this for a couple of reasons. One, I enjoy reading history books, especially on topics I may need to learn more about. This book certainly fit that bill. Two, June is National LGBT Pride Month, so what better time of the year to read a book on the history of LGBTQI activism? The timing worked out for me. Overall, this was a good book I enjoyed.


Click the link to read the rest of my full review of this book over at my blog, The Itinerant Librarian.

This is totally cool. The Encyclopedia Brown fascinated me because I loved those books as a kid, and I can just see that fate.


Reblogged from Quirk Books:

Ah, Hannibal Lecter. No other fictional murderer has captured the collective unconsciousness quite like Thomas Harris’s culinarily-inclined mastermind. What is it about sleek, erudite monster that makes him so indelible? Four novels, five films and a television show might have destroyed another character, or at the least made him over-exposed. Only classic nightmare fodder such as Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster seem to exist in that same rarified air as Hannibal, where repeated use does nothing to fade their own personal brand of darkness.


Part of Hannibal’s continued appeal must lie with the way Harris has chosen Hannibal’s antagonists. The women and men who go up against Hannibal Lechter are all formidable minds in their own right, and so Hannibal’s victories (and defeats) against them are always well-earned.


So how might Hannibal fare against some of the greatest detectives in literary history?


Sherlock Holmes

It’s not so much the clues that make Sherlock Holmes curious about the dapper alienist Dr. Lecter, but their absence. The tell-tale cloud of detritus that surrounds us all as consequence of living was absent from Lecter, as if the man scrubbed himself clean every hour. “Or perhaps,” Watson joked, “he isn’t even there at all.” Despite no evidence of wrong-doing, Holmes can’t let the matter go, and becomes obsessed with the man, teasing out the smallest of pieces to Lecter’s true identity. Lecter gleans what Holmes is up to, and in a bout of hubris, invites the detective to his massive estate for dinner. Holmes needs only a sniff to know that succulently-roasted pork loin isn’t pork at all, and everything falls into place.


Key Line: "I speak only of your inevitable destruction,” said Lecter. “You’re clever, Mr. Holmes. But you stand in the way of an individual, whose skill you, with all your cleverness, have been unable to realize. You must stand clear, or be trodden underfoot."


Who Survives: Holmes, but just barely. Hannibal almost succeeds in killing Sherlock before he takes a bullet from Watson’s service revolver.


Hercule Poirot runs into Dr. Lecter when investigating a particularly gruesome series of murders that have taken place in an English resort village. They admire each other’s suits and accessories, and Lecter assists handily in investigation, speaking to Poirot entirely in French. Hastings takes an immediate dislike to Lecter—“I can’t explain it, and I’m not going to. I simply don’t like the chap.”—which Poirot chalks up to general English distrust of foreigners.

It is not until after Poirot and Lecter are celebrating the case being solved and the murderer confessed that Poirot gives Lecter a deeper look. Poirot realizes that the murderer was a protégé of Lecter and he is currently dining on human flesh at approximately the same moment. Poirot, ever the gentleman, confesses that he’s lost his appetite, and hurriedly informs the authorities.


Key Lines: “You know, every wine, even a small wine, has its own personality with its own secret past and its own promises of pleasure in the future. And so those of us who have been witnesses of death as we have - for them, this is a manifestation of life.”

“Not just wine, Poirot...”


Who Survives: Hannibal considers killing Poirot, but cannot bring himself to destroy such an impressive mind. He flees instead, and Inspector Japp brings the assembled police to an empty house.



Spenser isn’t even LOOKING into anything near the murders Hannibal commits. He’s following a kidnapped girl, because people pay him to solve kidnappings, not murders. But when he finds the kidnapped girl unharmed and her obstenible kidnapper hung by his own intestines from the rafters, Spenser is surprised to find he’s still capable of surprise. He gets paid for returning the girl, but the murder weighs on him more than it should. Susan, ever the psychologist, sees this and arranges a meeting with an old colleague. Dr. Lecter does this sort of work with FBI, and wouldn’t it be nice to have him over for dinner?


Key Lines: “Susan said you’re a whiz in the kitchen. You have any suggestions, make them. I'm in charge but humble.”

Lecter said, "Mind if I snicker every once in a while behind your back?"

"Hell, no," I said. "Everyone else does.”


Who Survives: Clever as he is, Spenser is far too much of the type that Hannibal dines on regularly, so there’s no way he walks away from the encounter. Where Hannibal trips up is that he tries to go after Hawk. And you can’t kill Hawk.

Nick & Nora Charles

Nick and Nora travel to the East Coast to barely put up with another member of Nora’s illustrious family, the highlight of which is an extravagant dinner party put on by the toast of Baltimore society, Hannibal Lecter. While Lecter’s initial stinginess with the booze tries Nick and Nora’s patience, eventually the liquor is loosed and good time is had by all. It’s not until an old friend of Nick’s from his detective days asks for help with a particularly grisly series of murders that a pallor starts to fall over the visit. Nick realizes the similarity to the missing organs in the murder victims and the menu items he and Nora devoured at the party. Looks like it’s one more trip back to the Lecter estate—better have a stiff drink before they go. Well, maybe one more....


Key lines: “How about a drop of something before we get started?”

“I am afraid the amuse-bouche must be enjoyed sober to be properly appreciated.”

“With all due respect to your first course, Dr. Lecter,” I said. “We didn't come to Baltimore to stay sober.”


Who Survives:  Lecter gives a good fight, seriously wounding Nick. But he doesn’t account for Asta, and the small Schauzer distracts Hannibal long enough for Nora to take him out for good.  Nick and Nora resolve never to visit Baltimore again.


Kinsey Millhone

When one of the California Fidelity insurance employees turns up dead with his lungs missing, Kinsey Millhone is on the case. Nevermind that the local police and the FBI (who thinks the MO is strikingly close to the Chesapeake Ripper on the East Coast) are already investigating—Kinsey’s not going to turn down a chance at rent-free office space just because there’s other detectives. But having more eyes doesn’t mean they can see anything: it’s Kinsey who turns up more murders that the police and the FBI have overlooked. And it’s Kinsey who figures out the connection between the California Fidelity employee’s cold call to visiting psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter and his unfortunate demise.


Key Lines: “I don't take death-and-dismemberment talk very seriously. Where could you rent a chainsaw at this time of night?”

“Chainsaws are at best, imprecise, Miss Millhone.”


Who Survives: Like so many Alphabet Series antagonists, Hannibal underestimates Kinsey as a threat, and never realizes the woman in the turtleneck sweater who trims her hair with toenail clippings is the one who delivered him right into the waiting hands of the FBI.


Encyclopedia Brown

Chief Brown can’t tell every difficult case at the dinner table. For those cases that are too disturbing to tell his wife and 10-year-old son, he bends the ear of another. Dr. Hannibal Lecter has given invaluable help over the phone, and it is not long before the conversations between the police chief and the psychiatrist take a personal turn. Hannibal is impressed that Brown’s son Leroy has started his own detective agency, and wastes no time coming to their home in Florida to meet the boy in person.  Impressed by Encyclopedia Brown’s observation skills, Hannibal takes the kid under his wing. Hannibal ends teaching Encyclopedia more about human nature than the boy every dreamed.


Key Lines: “No one, grown-up or child, gets away with breaking the law in Idaville.”

“What a charming idea,” said Hannibal. “But you’re far too smart a boy to truly believe that, aren’t you?”


Who Survives: No one. We’re all dead if Hannibal raises Encyclopedia Brown.


How would your favorite fictional detective stack up against Hannibal Lecter?


Booknote: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters - Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening, Tom Waltz

(Crossposted from my blog The Itinerant Librarian).


This was a light and entertaining crossover comic. A new invention, a dimensional transporter, goes haywire, and the Turtles get transported to a very different New York City, the NYC of the Ghostbusters. As usual in this kind of crossover, the two teams need to learn how to work together. In this case, they unite to fight an ancient evil that followed the Turtles through the transporter.

Though it is labeled children's fiction, it is pretty much good entertainment for all ages. It is certainly one I can recommend to public libraries, especially if they already have other TMNT or Ghostbuster comics. These are not the Nickelodeon TMNT, but the comic will likely appeal to those fans as well.

The volume provides a nicely paced, entertaining story with some good humor and plenty of action. It is neat to see how the two teams come to work together. Also, it is a nice and very colorful with the art, which enhances the volume.

Booknote: Hip Hop Family Tree, Volume 1

Hip Hop Family Tree - Ed Piskor

(Crossposted from my blog The Itinerant Librarian)


This is a graphic novel history of the early days of hip hop and rap, and it all gets started in parks and nightclubs in the South Bronx. We get to see the rise of stars like Grandmaster Flash, the Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, and others who worked behind the scenes like Russell Simmons and Sylvia Robinson. The book takes us from the early days and rivalries to the start of the music entering the mainstream with Kurtis Blow's hit "The Breaks" and Debby Harry and Blondie's "Rapture."

The oversized volume is colorful with great art by Piskor. The art really captures the flamboyant and strong personalities of the artists. I found the story interesting, though at times I wanted a bit more depth. The narrative jumps quickly from episode to episode. It can be a bit superficial at times. However, it is a good book that captures its era well. I will seek out the next volume.

I liked it, but it could have been better at times, so I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars.



Booknote: The China Collectors

The China Collectors: America's Century-Long Hunt for Asian Art Treasures - Karl E. Meyer, Shareen Blair Brysac

The topic was interesting, but this writing in this book was a bit dry at times; the result is that the book was a slow read for me. Once you get past the first chapter, which lays out a lot of basic historical background, things do get a bit more interesting.


Just click the link to read the rest of the review.

10 idioms about books - a perfect lexicon for a book lover

Reblogged from Bookish Quotes:


Eduardo Galeano, leading voice of Latin American left, dies aged 74

The other great loss to the world of letters (besides Gunter Grass, another great) that not many are talking about. From The Guardian. If you want to understand Latin America, the United States colonialism and exploitation of the region, and globalism, Eduardo Galeano is one of the must-reads.

Booknote: Darker Edge of Desire

Darker Edge of Desire: Gothic Tales of Romance - Kate Douglas, Kelley Armstrong, Mitzi Szereto, Jo Wu, Rachel Caine

This is a collection of tales of the sensual and forbidden in the Gothic tradition. Many of the tales have a strong supernatural element; others simply have that dark feel that really does not need something supernatural to draw you into the shadows. Some of the tales may be a bit horrifying, and others can be bittersweet and even moving.


If interested, feel free to click the link and read my full review on the blog.

Saturday Public Library Haul: March 21, 2015

Etiquette for Outlaws - Rob Cohen, David Wollock The Radical King (King Legacy) - Martin Luther King Jr., Cornel West The 12-Bottle Bar: A Dozen Bottles. Hundreds of Cocktails. the Only Guide You Need for an Amazing Home Bar - David Solmonson, Lesley Jacobs Solmonson

I have not done one of these posts in a while, mostly because life keeps happening. But I do enjoy my Saturdays browsing and finding new things to read at my local public library, so here are my latest findings. Once I read them, I will do my best to get the reviews up. I find that writing up the reviews, or at least taking notes to write the reviews, is the easy part. Putting them up online? Not as easy. Anyhow, here we go.


The Radical King. I recently read Black Prophetic Fire (link to my review if you are interested) which was written by Cornel West. In the book, West speaks of the radical nature of Martin Luther King, Jr., a nature that has been mostly sanitized from the history books. So when I saw The Radical King, which is an edition of King's works highlighting his more radical work, I knew I had to pick it up and read it as well to keep on learning.


The 12 Bottle Bar. I had requested this for review at Netgalley, and they actually turned me down. It does not happen very often, but once in a while I do get rejected for a request. I was slightly curious why I was not approved since I have reviewed bar and and drinking books before, but oh well. Maybe it was for the better since at least one review of it I saw (via Drinkhacker) seemed mixed. However, when I saw it at my local public library, I was curious enough to take a look.


Etiquette for Outlaws. One of the places I check when I go to the public library, after the new books shelf, is the returns shelf. This is the staging shelf the library uses for books that return that have been discharged and need to be reshelved. Not all libraries keep their staging/returns shelf in an area available to the public. For me, it gives me a small glimpse of what other people in the community may be reading, and once in a while I do find something to read from there. Etiquette for Outlaws was one such find. I will admit the cover caught my eye right away. The book claims to answer questions like: what to wear to a fetish ball? what to tip a tattoo artist, strip club etiquette, and a few other streetwise and a bit chaotic things that somehow you are supposed to know, but no one tells you. The library's copy is a bit tattered, so it has gotten some use. When I read it, I will post a review.


Happy reading.

Currently reading

Batman: Death Mask
Yoshinori Natsume
Red Hail
Jamie Killen
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick: A Comprehensive Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition
Lon Milo DuQuette
Bloodshot, Book 1
Tim Seeley
Captain Ginger, Volume 1
Stuart Moore, John Richardson, June Brigman, Veronica Gandini
Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America's Whiskey
Reid Mitenbuler
How to Survive a Horror Movie: All the Skills to Dodge the Kills
Seth Grahame-Smith, Wes Craven
Michel de Montaigne, J.M. Cohen
Progress: 38/406 pages
The Complete Fiction
H.P. Lovecraft, S.T. Joshi
Progress: 32/1098 pages