The Bookworm’s
Guide to Tarot
By James W. Revak

INTRODUCTION AND HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE

PRINCIPAL FEATURES AND ADVANTAGES

The Bookworm’s Guide to Tarot, an annotated bibliography for beginning, intermediate, and advanced Tarotists, is your gateway to over one hundred significant Tarot and Tarot-related books.  Its advantages over many other bibliographies and guides published in books and on the ’net are significant.  For example, in addition to basic information like author and title, it provides for each book:

Unlike some lengthy bibliographies, this guide includes A Recommended Library, which comprises a relatively brief list of dependable titles carefully selected by the editor to meet the diverse needs of many Tarotists.  If you want to begin exploring fast or have only a few minutes to review books, consider starting with this library.  If you want to know more about the special advantages and features of this guide and how best to use it, please continue to read.

MORE ABOUT FEATURES AND ADVANTAGES

Books included here discuss Tarot from numerous perspectives, including divination, history, philosophy, psychology, self-exploration, religion, mythology, and specific decks.  Unlike many guides, this one also includes carefully selected and clearly identified books which are germane to Tarot, even if they do not mention the cards or mention them only in passing.  These books address such important Tarot-related subjects as Cabala, Magic, Neopaganism (including Wicca), and Occultism or Western Esotericism.

Naturally, this guide provides author names and book titles.  However, it goes the extra mile by including many other helpful details.  For example, for each title you will learn its year of publication, publisher, length (in pages), and whether it is illustrated. 

And that’s not all.  The experience level for which each title is most appropriate is clearly shown from Beginning, through Intermediate, to Advanced.  You will quickly learn if a title is appropriate for you.

The quality of each title, compared to similar ones, is clearly shown on an easy-to-understand scale of one to four stars, where one star = “poor” and four stars = “highly recommended”.  Unlike some guides which contain only glowing reviews, this one pulls no punches; if a book is a dog the reviewer will tell you so. 

This bibliography also provides a brief descriptive and critical review of each title, which summarizes its contents and highlights strengths and weaknesses.  You will quickly learn which aspects of Tarot a book covers and how well it does so.

You may browse books in multiple ways, including by author, experience level and quality rating, and subjectFinding the right book for you is easy and fast.

When multiple authors of a book exist, it is listed by the name of the principal author.  For example, if you are searching for a book by Suzie Pentacles, Winona Wands, and Carl Cups, you would look under P for Pentacles. 

HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM THIS GUIDE

Typically each entry begins with the following information: author(s) in boldface, year of publication in parentheses, title in italics, place of publication, publisher, International Standard Book Number (ISBN), the book’s length in pages, whether it is illustrated, and more.

Next, you will find a quality rating comprised of one to four blue stars which indicates how the reviewer rates the book when compared to similar ones (see key, below).  (Need he note that your mileage can and sometimes will vary?) 

KEY TO QUALITY RATINGS
4 Stars Highly Recommended: the cream of the crop, well worth reading.
3 Stars Good: significantly better than many similar titles, worth reading.
2 Stars Fair: inferior to many similar titles, but not a dog; perhaps worth reading.  Many books fall into this category.
1 Star Poor: guaranteed dogs one and all.

Immediately following the star(s) appears, also in blue, the experience level(s) for which the reviewer judges the book most appropriate, e.g., Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced.  Often books are appropriate for two levels, viz., Beginning to Intermediate or Intermediate to Advanced and are so described.  These are only general guidelines.  If you are relatively new to Tarot but have a grounding in Occult or Western Esoteric philosophy, comparative religion, psychology, European history, and/or related fields, you might enjoy and benefit from many books recommended for advanced Tarotists.  If you have been intensely studying myriad facets of Tarot for many years, you might still enjoy and benefit from some books recommended for beginning Tarotists.

Following the experience level, on the next line appears, still in blue, a code which indicates approximately how much of the content is devoted to Tarot appears, viz., TTT, TT, T, or TG (see key, below, for explanations). 

KEY TO TAROT CONTENT
Code Explanation
TTT Approximately 80-100% Tarot.
TT Approximately 20-80% Tarot.
T Approximately 1- 20% Tarot.
TG Approximately 0-1% Tarot.  However, the reviewer has judged the book Tarot Germane (TG), i.e., he believes that a significant number of Tarotists will find the book relevant, even if Tarot is mentioned only in passing or not at all.

On the next line, if the principal subject of the book is not Tarot, the principal subject(s) of the book appear in blue and between parentheses, e.g., (Cabala, Occultism or Western Esotericism).

Finally, each entry includes a brief descriptive and critical review of the title, which summarizes its contents and highlights its strengths and weaknesses.  To understand better how to use entries please review the following example.

 SAMPLE ENTRY WITH EXPLANATION

 
 ENTRY 

Pentacles, Suzie; Wands, Winona; Cups, Carl.  (1981).  How to Use Cabalistic Magick to Channel Your Dead Pet.  Junction City, KS: Dead Pets ’r’ Us.  ISBN 0895604449.  xxi + 199 pp. + biblio., index; illus.; softcover.
Intermediate to Advanced  T
(Cabala, Magic)

This book suggests numerous ways you can quickly use Cabala and magic to communicate with your dead pet.  Topics include learning why your dog used to poke its head out your car window, discovering why your cat always insisted on clean litter, asking your snake if its still prefers live food now that it is dead, and interpreting your Tarot cards with the valuable assistance of your dead pet.  On the other hand, the book is short on hard evidence supporting the authors’ principal theories and techniques.  Each author is a veterinarian, urban shaman, and Certified Animal Tarot Specialist (CATS).


 EXPLANATION 

The authors are Suzie Pentacle, Winona Wands, and Carl Cups.  The year of publication is 1981.  The title is How to Use Tarot to Talk to Your Pets; the place of publication, Junction City, KS; the publisher, Dead Pets írí Us; and the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), 0895604449.  The frontmatter comprises 21 (xxi) pages; and the body, 199 pages.  Backmatter comprises a bibliography (biblio.) and index.  The book is illustrated (illus.), and has a softcover

The quality rating is three stars (i.e., good) and experience levels for which it is most appropriate are Intermediate to Advanced.  The content, indicated by the T, is 1-20% Tarot.  The principal subjects are Cabala and Magic.

What remains of the sample entry is a brief review of this make-believe title.  If you are in the mood for a laugh, do read it.

ADDITIONAL PERTINENT NOTES

Some titles are available in versions not described in this guide.  For example, although this guide may show that a title is available in softcover, it may also be available in hardcover, even if this is not noted.  Please consult your bookseller for further information concerning available versions of any book.  When the guide lists multiple versions, it specifically notes which one the review is based on.

If a book has been translated from a foreign language, two years of publication, separated by a slash, will appear after the author’s name.  The first is the year of publication in the foreign language; the second, the year of publication in English translation.  For example, if the years 1888/1905 appear, they mean that the title was published in the foreign language in 1888, and in English translation in 1905.

ABOUT OUT OF PRINT BOOKS

Some books listed here are out of print.  However, you may often obtain them with relative ease and at modest cost at used bookstores or by searching large databases of used or remaindered books offered for sale, such as the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE) and BookFinder.comIn addition, consider borrowing them from your local public library.  If it does not have a specific title, ask your librarian if you can obtain it by interlibrary loan.

LIMITATIONS

To be honest, this guide has limitations.  For example, although it includes numerous diverse and significant titles, it is not complete; today the literature is far too vast for this bibliography to include every Tarot book ever published.  Additionally, at this time it includes English-language nonfiction titles only.

WHAT’S NEW IN THIS VERSION

This version of The Bookworm’s Guide to Tarot includes many major improvements.  For example:

QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, SUGGESTIONS?

If you have any questions or comments, including suggestions for improvement, concerning The Bookworm’s Guide to Tarot specifically or Tarot books generally, please contact the author, Jim Revak.  To e-mail him, please click here.  He will make every effort to assist you.


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Copyright © 2001 James W. Revak.  All rights reserved.  Version 2.0 (8/10/01).