Friday, January 13, 2017

My Reading List for 2016

Welcome to my 2016 Reading List where I take a look at my year in reading. I feel that I started strong, but then the latter part of the year my reading just slowed down. The lousy election season in the United States certainly did not help my reading mood in the later part of the year. Also new this year is my study of Tarot and oracle cards. I am teaching myself how to read Tarot as a hobby and mainly as a meditation and reflection tool. I have found this new interest to be a calming element. In terms of work, I am entering my fifth year working at Berea College, and overall, it is going well.

Blogging here at The Gypsy Librarian has slowed down. While I still read LIS literature here and there, I am not reading as much as before. In addition, I find that I honestly could not care less about a lot of the drama in the library field, which means I am not inclined to blog about it. But if something comes up that may be of interest, I will post about it here. As I mentioned in last year's report, I am at peace with blogging less here. I've got other more interesting things going.

Blogging at The Itinerant Librarian has gone along nicely. That blog is growing into a good book review blog. I review both new and older selections I get from various sources. If you think you have a book I may want to read and review, check out my book review statement. I read a lot, and I read a variety of things, but I do not read everything, which is why I created the review statement. Reading and reviewing books is one of the best parts of being a librarian and reader. As I mentioned in last year's reading report, getting to know a few authors and editors is also a nice part of being a book blogger.

So, without further fuss, here is the list of books I read in 2016. As always, an asterisk (*) after a title indicates a book I reread:

January:

  • Jane Lyle, Tarot Deck: Explore the Power of Tarot (book and deck kit).
  • Troy Little, Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Russell Brettholtz, Side-Kicked.
  • Rob Williams, Star Wars Rebellion, Volume 2: The Akahista Gamble
  • Don Brown, Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans.
  • Paul M. Barrett, Glock: The Rise of America's Gun.
  • Lewis Black, Me of Little Faith (audiobook edition)*
February:

  • Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn Volume 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab
  • Greg Rucka, Shattered Empire (Star Wars graphic novel)
  • Jen Campbell, The Bookshop Book
  • Natasha Knight, Given to the Savage
  • John Leguizamo, Ghetto Klown
  • Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance (audiobook)
  • Margie Lapanja, Food Men Love
  • Julio Patán, Cocteles con historia
  • Donnie Cates, The Ghost Fleet, Volume 1: Deadhead
  • Ted Rall, Bernie
  • Kevin B. Eastman and Peter A. Laird, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 3

March:

  • Jim Berg, The Jumbo Duct Tape Book
  • Daniel Lipkowitz, LEGO Star Wars in 100 Scenes
  • Sarah Bowen, Divided Spirits
  • Harlan Ellison, Night and the Enemy
  • Sean Ryan, New Suicide Squad, Volume 2: Monsters
  • Tom King, Grayson, Volume 2: We all Die at Dawn
  • Rob Williams, Martian Manhunter, Volume 1: The Epiphany
  • Masahiko Murakami, Nichiren
  • Christopher Hansard, The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking.
  • Kim W. Andersson, The Complete Love Hurts
  • Jerry Scott, Zits Unzipped
  • Charles Soule, Lando
  • Staci Mendoza, Reading and Understanding the Mysteries of the Tarot.
  • Robert Kirkman, Battle Pope, Volume 3: Pillow Talk
  • Jerry Scott, My Bad: a Zits Treasury.
  • Robert Kirkman, Battle Pope, Volume 4: Wrath of God

April:

  • Isabella Alston, Tarot Cards
  • Jessa Crispin, The Creative Tarot
  • Josh Mack, The Hobo Handbook
  • James Swallow, The Blood Angels Omnibus, Volume 1.
  • Richard Matheson, Hell House
  • Dick Lehr, Black Mass
  • Scott Snyder, Batman, Volume 8: Superheavy
  • Bathroom Readers' Institute, Uncle John's Factastic Bathroom Reader

May:

  • Louis Jordan, Llewellyn's Complete Book of Tarot
  • Patrick Gleason, Robin: Son of Batman, Volume 1.  
  • Brian Azzarello, Batman: Europa
  • Josephine Ellershaw, Easy Tarot (book and deck kit).
  • Scott Adams, When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View (Dilbert).
  • Jeff Jensen, Green River Killer
  • Donny Cates, The Ghost Fleet, Volume 2: Over the Top
  • Jason Aaron, Vader Down
  • Daniel Way, Deadpool by Daniel Way: The Complete Collection, Volume 1
  • Wilfred Santiago, 21: the Story of Roberto Clemente

June:

  • Thich Nhat Hahn, Silence
  • Sarah Cooper, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings
  • Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously...I'm Kidding (audiobook).
  • Erik Burnham, Ghostbusters International

July:

  • Nicholas Pileggi, Casino.  
  • Adrian Tomine, Scenes from an Impending Marriage
  • David Wilkie, Coffee with Jesus
  • Corinna Sara Bechko, Aliens/Vampirella.  
  • David Wilkie, A Second Shot of Coffee with Jesus
  • Tom King, Grayson, Volume 3: Nemesis
  • Benjamin Law, Gaysia
  • Rachel Kramer Bussel, ed., Dirty Dates
  • Barbara Moore, Tarot for Beginners
  • Amanda Conner and  Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn, Volume 4: A Call to Arms
  • Sarah A. Chrisman, True Ladies and Proper Gentlemen

August:

  • Stephanie McMillan, The Beginning of the American Fall
  • Gustavo Duarte, Monsters! and Other Stories
  • Miguel Ruiz, Jr., The Mastery of Self
  • Carol Peachee, The Birth of Bourbon
  • Suzanne Corbie, Tarot Workshop: an Introductory Guide to Tarot (audiobook).
  • Gabriel García Márquez, Yo No Vengo a Decir un Discurso
  • Sean Michael Wilson, Cold Mountain: The Legend of Han Shan and Shih Te.
  • Bill Maher, New Rules (audiobook edition)*

September:

  • Winifred Gallagher, How the Post Office Created America.
  • Stacey DeMarco, The Halloween Oracle (deck and book kit). 
  • Emelyn Rude, Tastes Like Chicken
  • Denys Leary, Why We Suck (audiobook edition)*

October: 

  • G.B. Trudeau, Yuge! 30 Years of Doonesbury on  Trump
  • Editors of Rock Point, Cats in Sweaters.  
  • Tomas Prower, La Santa Muerte
  • Amanda Conner and  Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn, Volume 5: The Joker's Last Laugh.
  • Carole Cable, Cable on Academe.*


November:

  • Alex Mar, Witches of America
  • Joseph D. Pistone, The Way of the Wiseguy
  • Sam Maggs, Wonder Women
  • Mira Grant, Rolling in the Deep.
  • Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo, Volume 30: Thieves and Spies
  • M.R. James, et.al., Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Volume 1
  • Paul Dixon, Contraband Cocktails


December:

  • Barbara Moore and Aly Fell (illustrator), The Steampunk Tarot (deck and book kit).

Here are the numbers:


For 2016, I read a total of 92 books, including 4 re-reads.

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
Commentary, other numbers, and additional thoughts:

  • I knew even without doing the final tally that I read fewer books this year. As I mention, the latter part of the year was just rough overall. On the positive, I do feel that I got to read some really good books this year, and I will do a post later highlighting the best books I read in 2016. 
  • The re-reads I did for one of my reading challenges. You can view my Reading Challenges for 2016 page to see how things turned out. In a nutshell, I completed 10 out 12 reading challenges I set out to do. As of this post, I am in the process of selecting what reading challenges I will attempt in 2017. Given how bad the latter part of 2016 was and  that I am not expecting 2017 to be any better in a lot of ways, I am probably going to keep the goals on the low side to be safe. 
  • Best month: March with 16 books. 
  • Worst month: December with 1 book. 
  • 61 books in print. The majority of what I read is in print, which reflects my preference to read in print.
  • 25 e-books. Majority of these I read via NetGalley. One of them came from my local public library's Overdrive offerings.
  • 6 audiobooks. These I  read mainly for the Audiobooks Reading Challenge I did last year. Not sure if I will repeat this challenge given the quality and selection of audiobooks in my local public library leaves a lot to be desired. They are good in other areas, but the audiobook collection has been neglected, and it shows in old out of date titles with minimal appeal. 
  • 6 fiction books read. Most of these were for the Horror Reading Challenge I did. This was a challenge I enjoyed, and I may repeat it again this year. I did rediscover that I do like the horror genre. Graphic novels and manga are not included in this number regardless of them being fiction or not.
  • 46 nonfiction titles. Again, this shows that I prefer to read nonfiction. This number does not include graphic novels and manga, though I did read some of those that could be classified as nonfiction such as graphic biographies. Tarot books are included in the category of nonfiction for me. 
  • 46 graphic novels. These could be fiction or nonfiction. I did not read any mangas this year, though I have bought a few new series. Maybe I can get to some of them in 2017. 
  • I read 53 books from my local public library, which at this time is the Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library. Most of my popular type reading comes from the public library for me. 
  • I read 2 books from my library, Hutchins Library, Berea College. 
  • No interlibrary loans (ILL) this year. It was not for lack of things I would have wanted to do ILL for, but more that I was busy enough with what I had to read already. 
  • I read 13 books that I own. 
  • Other numbers I find of interest: 
    • Erotica and/or sex writing: 3
    • LIS: 0. I had a few in my office I had checked out, but I did not get around to them. To be honest, I did not feel much of a loss. These days I am very selective about any LIS books I may pick up for reading. I still do read articles and keep up with what is left of the librarian blogosphere, so I feel at peace in this regard. We will see if I pick up anything in LIS in 2017. 
    • Tarot and/or oracle cards and/or divination: 9. As I mentioned, I began to study Tarot (and oracle cards to a lesser extent) seriously in 2016. As a result, I have been reading in this topic. When I get a deck that comes with a substantial companion book, I read the book, and I review both the book and the deck. In addition, I will be reviewing any individual decks I get to use and any standalone Tarot books. One of the best ones I read this year on this was Jessa Crispin's The Creative Tarot (link to my review). In addition, I was able to add these books to the tally of the Self-Help Junkie Reading Challenge I did in 2016. 
    • Pagan/Other beliefs/inspirational: 4. In this category I put stuff that deals with spirituality broadly. Though Tarot and paganism do not have to go together, they often do, so naturally as I read about Tarot I got curious about some pagan traditions. So among other things I read a book on witchcraft and witches in  the United States and another on La Santa Muerte. I also read some other inspirational books including a couple of graphic novels featuring Jesus in a coffee shop. I often label myself as a heathen, but it  does not mean I am a pagan per se, well, at least as far as I know. In this regard, I am more of a curious explorer, but I am finding a bit of a soft spot for some pagan paths. We'll see what kind of books on this I pick up in 2017. As a final comment, a couple of the books in this category also qualified for the Self-Help Junkie challenge.
    • Books I was offered for review (not from NetGalley or Edelweiss): 2. This has slowed down a bit for me. In part, this was due to the lousy year, which affected my reading mood, which meant there were books I did not get to in the most timely fashion. I have a few more left, and I hope to get to them in 2017.
    • Books in Spanish: 2. I was happy to see that this year I managed to read something, anything, in Spanish. For me, reading in Spanish keeps my in touch with my heritage.

Looking ahead, as of this post, I am currently reading the following:

  • Mark Kurlansky, Paper: Paging Through History.
  • P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, Marked (House of Night, Book One).
  • C.S. Goto, Blood Ravens: the Dawn of War Omnibus (Warhammer 40,000).
Also, for 2017, I have already read two books, which I will be reviewing on the blog soon:

  • Becky Diamond, The Thousand Dollar Dinner
  • Inazo Nitobe, et.al., Bushido: The Soul of the Samurai (graphic novel adaptation).

Finally, here are some other folks who looked at their year's end reading:


Thank you for reading and stopping by. I hope you come back and check out my list of best books read in 2016, which I hope to publish soon.

Happy reading in 2017.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

On not doing anything

Before I go on, yes, I know I have not posted here in a while. There are a couple of reasons for that, and I would rather not go into them now or anytime soon. However, I drafted the following post on an early morning journaling session, and I figured I would post it more so I would have a record on my blog. If this does not interest you, you are welcome to skip it. These days I am more involved with my other blog, The Itinerant Librarian, doing book reviews and some other things that interest me more. Anyhow, here goes.

A while back, one of coworkers who so happens to be a bit of a biddy decided to do some trash talk about me, telling the student workers in the biddy's department that I just sit around and do nothing all day. The thing is one of the nothings I happen to not do is work a lot with students during class sessions and individual consultations. I am fairly good at that, and so when someone talks trash about me, they come and tell me. And then we have a good laugh about it because we both know better. While that person is not worth giving the time of day, the person got me thinking I  should do one of those "what is it I do" kind  of posts. So here is a not so short list of what I do in my current workplace. It is not necessarily in any particular order; I just wrote it as I was thinking.

Things I do: 

  • Head of the reference and instruction program for my library. I run the program, make decisions, provide direction and vision for it. I also plan and coordinate our information literacy assessment efforts. 
  • I supervise two professional librarians who make up the instruction team. I am able to run our information literacy program thanks to them and with  them. 
  • I work hours at the reference desk. This semester is four hours, which is not much, but we do have a bit of a surplus of student labor in the reference unit (keep in mind, we are a labor college). I also work one evening shift a week, and I rotate Sundays with  other reference librarians. I often also cover when other reference librarians are out, and they cover for me. We are good about watching out for each other. 
  • I teach classes and workshops. This also includes the preparation time to teach. 
  • I do research consultations, mainly with students. Again, this also includes the preparation time for those consults. 
  • When I get a break from all of the above, I do, or try to do, some collection development. I am faculty liaison for our Division 5, which includes Art and Art History, Asian Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Religion. Not to brag or commiserate, but this division is probably the most demanding and "prickly" one of the divisions, especially a couple of departments that I will not name, but can get time consuming when they get an itch (I could go on, but I will stop in the interest of grace). Anyhow, this task also includes any specialized library instruction for them. 
  • I coordinate library outreach. This includes making sure we have displays, planning for them, putting them up or delegating that part, planning and implementing other events when I can. 
  • I oversee our social media. This semester I have a great student worker who keeps it running, so I just oversee it. When I get a moment, I write for the library's blog. 
Other things I do:

  • I have faculty status in this campus. So I serve on committees. This year, I am on the last year of a three-year term in Student Life Council. 
  • Meetings: staff meetings, library management team meetings, collection development meetings, and a few others I cannot remember now. Like other libraries, our director is quite fond of meetings, including the ones that can probably just be an e-mail. Oh, then there are faculty senate meetings, and some others I am not remembering. 
  • What I call now "my other hat." I am Coordinator of Latino Services for the campus. This includes, but it is not limited to: 
    • Services for families of incoming Latino students. A lot of this is translation services (English to Spanish to English), but also point of contact for them and campus offices to answer questions as needed. 
    • Coordinate and make sure we have translators during summer orientation events and  the fall term Move-In Day. Again, I note, this is for families, not the students per se. 
    • I translate and get other volunteers to translate various campus documents as needed.
    • I am on-call if a department needs my services. Admissions, for  instance, calls once in a while when they have a visiting family needing a translator. 
    • My newest endeavor is to provide some library and academic support as needed for a General Studies course on  Latino Males in Higher Education. This has not been called for much (but that is another story).
    • Whatever the heck else the dean and/or the college president may need in relation to our campus' recent initiative to attract and retain more Latinos on campus. This is one  of those "other duties as assigned" tasks. 
  • Oh, and somewhere in all of the above, I also try to: 
    • Keep up with library literature. I've blogged less on  the library literature these days, but I still read it where I can. 
    • Do some professional development. I do not do enough, and I certainly wish I had the time to do more, especially related to "my other hat."
    • Did I also mention  I often represent the library at selected campus events? For instance, I was a speaker at last year's Carter G. Woodson Center's retreat for students. 
    • Also under professional development, I do a presentation when I can. These days, I  have done one or two in collaboration with another colleague of mine, a nice lady who could write a whole post on "not doing anything" that would be very substantial. 
  • And, finally for now, I work with students who pop into my office for help. If the door is open to my office, they know it is fair game. 
I am not telling my four readers all this to brag or so they feel bad for me. Mainly, as I think about it while writing, I realize I never really sat down and did this little exercise until now. It is quite a bit. Anyhow, keep in mind I do not do every single thing above everyday, but this is what keeps me off the streets during the year, and I mean the full year. Unlike "real faculty" who take summers off to write (allegedly) and travel, I actually work year round as the library is open year round.

In the end, I look at it as my wise father would say, "don't worry if you have too much to do. Worry when they do not give you enough to do." So there you have it, the "nothing" that I do. In my personal journal, this post took me about four handwritten pages. As I look it over, one of the  things I have wanted to write about more is precisely "my other hat" work. There is a  lot in there that can be explored about it being a new position, how the position has evolved, issues like tokenism and cultural taxation, and other things I think maybe a reader or two may find of interest. But those are ideas for another day.


Friday, February 12, 2016

My Reading List for 2015

Welcome to my reading list and report for 2015. I fell a bit behind on this in part because I took some time choosing my reading challenges for 2016. I read a bit less this year in terms of books, but it was in part because I had a busy year at work, and that was a good thing. I am entering my fourth year working here at Berea, and things are still going well. Overall, it was a good year for reading overall.

I continue to read and write about what I read on my personal blog. The Itinerant Librarian continues to grow slowly but surely into a good books and reading blog. It is something that I definitely enjoy both personally and as a librarian. I've even gotten to know, online, a few authors and editors in the process. I am always thrilled when I write a review, and an author or publisher notices and writes back an encouraging word or two. Thanks to them for writing and editing good books so I can keep reading. Keeps The Itinerant Librarian off the streets.

In addition, while I have blogged less here on my professional blog, it is not because of lack of content or ideas. A large reason is I am enjoying my book blogging. Also, to be honest, a lot of LIS blogging out there often boils down to the same few issues and dramas, and I would rather do without that stuff. So I keep up with the LIS literature, but I may not blog here as often, and I am at peace with that. I keep posting the annual reading list here mostly out of tradition. In time, I may or not move it to my personal blog. We'll see.

Here then is the list of books I read during 2015. Books marked with an asterisk (*) are re-reads. Most books were reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian. Feel free to go over there and check some of the reviews out. Simply click on the "books and reading" label in the sidebar of The Itinerant Librarian to get to the reviews.


January:

  • Cornel West, with Christa Buschendorf, Black Prophetic Fire
  • Diane Muldrow, Everything I Need To Know About Christmas I Learned from a Little Golden Book
  • Carl Critchlow, Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi-Division
  • Lawrence Osborne, The Wet and the Dry
  • Chris Metzen, Transformers: Primacy
  • Vic Malhotra, X-Files: Year Zero
  • Scott Snyder, American Vampire, Volume 5
  • Andrew Bohrer, The Best Shots You've Never Tried
  • Ian Doescher, William Shakerspeare's The Jedi Doth Return
  • Juzo Tokoro, Spawn: Shadows of Spawn, Vol. 2

February:

  • Kennedy Xu, Daomu
  • Juzo Tokoro, Spawn: Shadows of Spawn, Vol. 3
  • Kevin L. Nadal, That's So Gay!
  • Jane Stern and Michael Stern, Two for the Road
  • James Kuhoric, The Six-Million Dollar Man, Season 6.
  • Scott Snyder, American Vampire, Volume 7
  • Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays, Being Dead Is No Excuse
  • Henrik Lange, 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry

March:

  • Caitlin Doughty, Smoke Gets in your Eyes
  • Bob Budiansky, et. al., Transformers Classics, Volume 4.
  • Michael R. Veach, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: an American Heritage.
  • Erik Burnham, et.al., Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters
  • Ryan Burton, et.al., Dark Engine, Volume 1.
  • Paco Ignacio II Taibo, Pancho Villa Takes Zacatecas
  • John Arcudi, The Mask
  • Mitzi Szereto, ed., Dark Edge of Desire
  • Kevin Smith, Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet
  • James Luceno, Star Wars: Tarkin.

April:

  • W. Haden Blackman, Darth Vader and the Lost Command.
  • Various authors, Predator Omnibus, Volume 1.
  • Seth Holmes, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies.
  • Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, The China Collectors.
  • Fred W. Sauceman, Buttermilk and Bible Burgers.
  • Todd McFarlane, Spawn: Volume 1: Endgame
  • Carlton Mellick III, ClownFellas: Tales of the Bozo Family.

May:

  • Martin Luther King Jr., The Radical King
  • Nick Kyme and Lindsey Priestly, eds., Tales of Heresy (The Horus Heresy, Book 10).
  • Geoff Johns, Batman: Earth One, Volume 2.
  • Paul S. Kemp, Star Wars: Lords of the Sith
  • Steve McNiven and Charles Soule, Death of Wolverine
  • Jennifer S. Baker, The Reader's Advisory Guide to Historical Fiction
  • Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou, Deadman Wonderland, Volume 2.
  • Vassilis Gogtzilas, The Bigger Bang
  • Max Dunbar, Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur's Gate Volume 1.
  • Jim Davis, My Laughable Life with Garfield: The Jon Arbuckle Chronicles.

June:

  • Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn Vol. 2: Power Outage (The New 52).
  • Shawn Kittelsen. Mortal Kombat X.
  • Jim Davis, 30 Years of Laughs & Lasagna: The Life & Times of a Fat, Furry Legend!
  • David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, The 12 Bottle Bar
  • Paul Kingsbury, Vinyl Hayride: Country Music Album Covers 1947-1989.
  • Nick Roche and Brian Lynch, Monster Motors
  • Rob Anderson, et.al., Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit
  • Shane McCarthy, Transformers: Drift-Empire of Stone
  • Mark Millar, Jupiter's Legacy, Vol. 1.
  • Scott Snyder, Batman, Volume 6: Graveyard Shift (The New 52). 
  • Adrian Brooks, The Right Side of History
  • Bayard Rustin, The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin

July:

  • Guy Lawson, Arms and the Dudes.
  • Becky Cloonan, et.al., Gotham Academy, Volume 1.
  • John Lewis, March: Book Two
  • Si Spencer, Bodies
  • Robert Lazaro, Robert Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy
  • Thomas Hodge, VHS Video Cover Art: 1980s to Early 1990s.
  • Brian Michael Bendis, Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3: Guardians Disassembled
  • Steve Niles, October Faction Volume 1.
  • Mitch Broder, Discovering Vintage New York.
  • Various authors, Flash Gordon Omnibus
  • Tim Seeley, Grayson, Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral.
  • Tony Daniel, Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars (The New 52).
  • Corinna Sara Bechko, Heathentown.
  • Michael Uslan, Justice, Inc., Volume 1.
  • Cameron Stewart, Batgirl, Volume 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52). 
  • Robert Kirkman, Battle Pope, Volume 1: Genesis
  • Bathroom Readers' Institute, Uncle John's Beer-Topia.
  • Alan Moore, Nemo: River of Ghosts.
  • Jon Pressick, ed., Best Sex Writing of the Year, Volume 1: On Consent, BDSM, Porn, Race, Sex Work and More.

August:

  • Rebecca Winters, Plucked: A History of Hair Removal.
  • Jim Davis, Garfield the Big Cheese: His 59th Book.
  • Brian Michael Bendis, Age of Ultron
  • Nelson A. Denis, War Against All Puerto Ricans.
  • Boaz Lavie, The Divine
  • Z. Rider, Insylum.

September:

  • Peter J. Tomasi, Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Gerry Duggan, Arkham Manor
  • Sean Ryan, New Suicide Squad, Volume 1
  • Scott Snyder, Batman Eternal, Volume 2
  • F. Leonora Solomon, ed., Tie Me Up: a Binding Collection of Erotic Tales
  • Matthew Algeo, Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure.
  • Mairghread Scott, Transformers: Combiner Wars
  • Louise Baxter Harmon, Happiness A to Z
  • Editors of Penthouse Variations, Penthouse Variations on Oral: Erotic Stories of Going Down.
  • Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection Volume 2
  • Kyle Higgins, et.al., C.O.W.L. Volume 1: Principles of Power
  • Cullen Bunn, et.al., Lobo Volume 1: Targets (The New 52). 
  • Sparky Sweets, PhD., Thug Notes: a Street-Smart Guide to Classic Literature
  • Robert Kirkman, Battle Pope, Volume 2: Mayhem.
  • Derf Backderf, Punk Rock and Trailer Parks
  • Peter Milligan, et.al., The Names

October:

  • Henry N. Beard and Christopher Cerf, Spinglish: The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language.
  • Jim Davis, Garfield Left Speechless
  • Jim Davis, Garfield Takes his Licks: His 24th Book.*
  • Lee Papa, The Rude Pundit's Almanack
  • Jeremy Barlow, Star Wars, The Clone Wars: the Colossus of Destiny
  • Jim Davis, Garfield Will Eat for Food
  • Wayne A. Wiegand, Part of our Lives: A People's History of the American Public Library.
  • Joey Esposito, Pawn Shop
  • Mike W. Barr, Star Wars, The Clone Wars: The Starcrusher Trap
  • Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween.*
  • Jim Davis, Garfield Souped Up: his 57th Book

November:

  • Scott Snyder, Batman, Volume 7: Endgame
  • Jim Davis, Garfield Goes to his Happy Place; his 58th Book.
  • Tom Krattenmaker, The Evangelicals You Don't Know
  • Jim Davis, Garfield Tips the Scales, his 8th Book
  • Diane Muldrow, Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned from a Little Golden Book.
  • Zeb Wells, Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One
  • Derf Backderf, Trashed
  • Vanessa Williamson and Theda Skocpol, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.
  • Charles M. Schultz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 10: 1969-1970.
  • Ben Khan, Shaman
  • Jim Davis, Garfield Lard of the Jungle: His 52nd Book.

December:

  • Various authors, Star Trek: Alien Spotlight, Volume 1
  • Various authors, The Star Wars
  • Elaine Lee, Vamps

Here are the numbers:

I read a total of 123 books this year with 2 re-reads.

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

Let's look at a few other numbers and add some commentary and thoughts:

  • I read a bit less this year, though I think I read a few things a more mindful way. It was interesting working to choose books for some of the reading challenges I did in 2015.  I still read actively from NetGalley, less so from Edelweiss. 
  • Best month: July with 19 books read.
  • Worst month: December with 3 books read.
  • 68 print books read.
  • 55 e-books read. The majority of books this year was still in print, but as you can see, e-books number is close. Though my preference remains print, as long as I read via NetGalley, I will keep reading e-books as well. Plus I may read the odd book here or there as e-book due to other sources, say my public library's Overdrive system. 
  • I read 9 books in fiction. This for me  usually means novels and short fiction. It can include erotica. Generally, I count graphic novels and manga together as separate categories regardless of whether some are fiction or nonfiction.
  • I read 34 books in nonfiction. That the majority of books other than graphic novels and manga are nonfiction is pretty consistent for me. I tend to prefer nonfiction overall. This category can include erotica in the sense that it would include sex manuals and other sex writing not fiction.
  • I read 77 graphic novels this year. Many of these I read via NetGalley, but I also read a good amount of them via the library. I also had two graphic novels challenges, which do allow for manga as well, running last year. Plus, this is a favorite genre of mine.
  • I read 3 mangas this year. One reason is that good mangas are not easy to get around here, but when I find them, I read them.
  • I read 7 books via my work library, Hutchins Library. This was kind of low considering I had a good number of books checked out from Hutchins Library. I just did not get to them right away. Those longer loan periods do kind of encourage me to keep things longer. I will try to do better in this regard in 2016. In addition, I got three books via Interlibrary Loan (ILL) through Hutchins Library:
    • Tales of Heresy is probably the furthest out ILL I have ever received so far. It came from Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library System in Alaska.
    •  The Rude Pundit's Almanack came from King County Library System in Issaquah, Washington.
    • Tarkin came from Rowan County Public Library in Morehead, Kentucky.
  • 34 books came from my local library public, the Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library.
  • I read 23 books that I own, including 12 that qualified for the 2015 Mount TBR Reading Challenge.
  • I read 52 books via NetGalley. I read 2 via Edelweiss.
  • Other numbers: 
    • LIS books read: 2
    • Erotica: 4.
    • Books provided for review, not via NetGalley nor Edelweiss: 6. These are books provided by an author, publisher, or editor for review, either by invitation or because I requested them.
  • I completed 10 Reading Challenges for 2015 (see the link above, where you can see the challenge summaries and additional details). Some of these I did because they went with the flow of my reading. Others I did to try new things. Overall, things worked out OK, and I already have 2016 Reading Challenges going (see link above to see those). I am trying some new things this year, including an audiobook challenge. Overall, I am attempting 12 Reading Challenges this year: 5 repeating from last year, and 7 new ones to me.

What I am currently reading (as of this post):

  • James Swallow, The Blood Angels Omnibus (Warhammer 40,000).
  • Rachel Kramer Bussel, ed., Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples
  • Margie Lapanja, Food Men Love.
  • Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance (audiobook edition). 
  • Julio Patán, Cocteles con Historia: Guía definitiva para el borracho ilustrado.

And as I often do to finalize, if you are interested, here are a few others who did end of year reading reports too:


Have a happy 2016 year of reading.


(Update Note 5/10/16: For some reason, this post has become a spam magnet, especially for Indian and other Asian spam assholes peddling their online scams. I have literally had to remove or deal with I'd say a comment or two a week from those bottom feeders. So, I am closing the comments here. You want to comment on this, shoot me an e-mail).



Friday, November 13, 2015

Booknote: The Readers' Advisory Guide to Historical Fiction

(Crossposted from The Itinerant Librarian)

Jennifer S. Baker, The Readers' Advisory Guide to Historical Fiction. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2015. ISBN: 9780838911655. 

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: readers' advisory, library science
Format: trade paperback
Source: My local public library



I read this in the interest of keeping up with my skills as librarian and readers' adviser. This is an ALA book, so it is fairly similar to other RA books that ALA publishes. I will admit that historical fiction is not a genre that I usually read. For the most part, if I want to read history, I go read a real nonfiction history book. However, I get that some readers find historical fiction appealing, so I read this in order to learn more about the genre and to have some knowledge in case someone comes asking me about it. In addition, I discovered a book or two I have enjoyed in the past such as The Name of the Rose and The Killer Angels that could fall in this genre. From reading this book, I learned that historical fiction can be a diverse and very flexible genre.

Still, the book's text is a bit on the dry side compared to other guides like this I have read. It reads a bit much like a textbook. So while I appreciated the learning, it's basically a book to consult now and then. For librarians with little knowledge of the genre, it does provide a good start.

3 out of 5 stars.

* * * 

Some additional reading notes:

From the RA series introduction, what a book in this series is designed to do:

"They help advisors become familiar with fiction genres and nonfiction subjects, especially those they don't personally read. They provide ready-made lists of 'need to know' elements such as key authors and read-alikes, as well as tips on how to keep up with trends and important new books and titles" (ix). 

At its most basic, this book accomplishes just that.

How "historical fiction" is defined in the book:

"For our purposes, historical fiction is defined as novels (and sometimes short stories) with settings from a historical period at least fifty years  prior to the work's publication or occurring before the author's memory" (1).

A resource to check out mentioned in the book: http://raforall.blogspot.com.

What can you do if you can't "figure it out on the spot"?

"I try very hard to find something on the shelf for readers to take home and then offer to send them a personalized reading list. This buys me more time, perhaps a day or two, to come up with more suggestions. To create a reading list for a specific reader, I make a list of about five suitable titles; write short annotations, including reasons I think he or she will like each one; then send the reader that document. Personalized reading lists are time consuming but can be a good option to fall back on when you're flummoxed. A good strategy to prevent going blank is training yourself to be more a more versatile readers' advisor. Read several benchmark books in your least familiar genres and know which reference tools can help you in each (24-25). 

Those last two sentences above are why I read books like this one, to build up a bit of my RA knowledge in areas I am not as strong in.

Something to keep in mind:

"Subjects usually touched on in historical fiction don't always match Library of Congress subject headings, and it can be tricky to find good topical historical fiction quickly" (117).

A pro tip:

"Consider making your own subject book lists for those topics you are repeatedly asked about as part of your historical fiction readers' advisory preparedness training!" (117).

On the question of "can you really learn history from historical fiction?" The author says yes, but up to a point. People who read in this genre often say,

". . .that they can learn history painlessly by reading historical fiction" (137). 

However, even if those books are historically accurate,  you can miss details and elements of cultural experience and a historical time. Personally, this is a big reason I prefer to just read history, but I can see how for many folks this genre can be a start.

The author then argues that for RA in this genre, it is important to engage readers with works that have accurate historicity. In addition,

"Readers' advisors should, however, point out the advantages of reading nonfiction material to augment the readers' learning in areas that fiction doesn't pursue" (137). 

Keep in mind that you offer, suggest, and let the reader take it from there.

Some pro tips on how to build your RA reputation as a resource for others to get reading suggestions:

  • "Host author readings and events at your library.
  • Run several book discussion groups at your library and/or in the community.
  • Write regular book reviews for your local paper and library newsletter.
  • Post your own staff picks on your website and put your picture by it" (223). 
Using Twitter for on-the-spot RA also works.

"Readers' advisors must take advantage of social media as a way to reach readers and increase community awareness of our libraries' relevance" (223).

The author also suggests for readers' advisors to keep track of what they read and even have reading plans. For me, this is why I write about what I read in my journal and write a few reviews online to share. I do enjoy sharing books with others. On making a reading plan:

"To create a personal reading plan for historical fiction, identify your genre weaknesses, and make a plan to familiarize yourself with the best titles in each area of interest. Your personal reading plan can be as simple or complex as you like" (237). 

That's applicable to any genre by the way. It also means you may read outside your comfort zone, and that is OK.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Dean's Faculty Book Reading Group on Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies

These are my notes from the discussion group. Like other book discussions of the group, there were to be two meetings. This first meeting took place on March 25, 2015. The second meeting was the following week, April 1, 2015, which as I have noted elsewhere was "Holy Shit Week, this chronic bronchitis took me out of circulation" week. So you are only getting this set of notes. I did read and write a review of the book (link to the review) with additional reading notes that may be of interest.

  • As a group, we are drawn to read this book for various reasons. 
  • Re: consumers: why do they care more about the land, the food (does it have chemicals, so on?), about the animals than about the actual human laborers? 
  • The author continually reminds us of the systemic violence. He also goes on to show that for migrant workers, this labor is not just an individual choice. 
  • No one in the U.S. speaks of the actual role the U.S. has in forcing the migrants to try and go to the United States. The U.S. basically destroyed their way of life with things like NAFTA. (This is very well explained in the book, and I made a note of it in my review.)
  • The author speaks of the intersection of class and race. 
  • See also the book The American Way of Eating. (On a side note, Hutchins Library at Berea College has this book.)
  • The wrong question to ask is "how do we get food cheaper"? We should be asking how to make food production fair. Yet, we do have to acknowledge, that to many, making it "fair" would mean a price hike they simply cannot afford (many are barely affording food as it is, but that may be a larger question.)
  • See pg. 78 of the book for the passage on "marginalization begets marginalization." 
  • The author's experience is an example of observing his own privilege. He had to balance when he could use his privilege or not. 
  • The possible answer to the question of why Americans disregard immigrants is the American sense of individualism. This is in contrast to much of the world which thinks and acts in terms of community and the common good. This also explains things like Americans resisting universal health care (which pretty much every developed nation has); it is a failure to care and have empathy for others (a.k.a. as the "I've got mine Jack, so fuck you!" attitude). 
  • Note that the organic movement is largely driven by selfishness. These consumers of organic foods do it out of self-interest (i.e. concern over what they put in their bodies), not out of environmental concern let alone concern for the fellow man who actually picks up the food.