By Armand Diaz, PhD
There’s something odd about writing a review of a book of book reviews, and all the more so because two of my books are among the reviews (one is apparently destined to become a classic, in O’Reilly’s opinion – although I’m still waiting). So let me begin with a simple, comprehensive statement:
I wish I had had The Ultimate Book of Astrology Books a long time ago.
Many times, I have walked into an Astrology/New Age bookstore or to the sprawling bookstores at conferences, excited by the galaxy of astrology books available. It often happened, however, that I found myself confronted by too many choices. Which books were really worth the investment of my money, and, more importantly, my time? Frequently, I left with books that I never read beyond more than a few pages. Sometimes, I left discouraged and overwhelmed, with no books at all.
Michael O’Reilly has provided a solution that will help astrologers, students, and those with an interest in astrology to sort through decades of books on astrology. The book includes 334 of his reviews for the late Dell Horoscope Magazine over the course of 27 years, right into 2020. It doesn’t include all of the astrology books published during the nearly three decades that he was writing for Dell (he missed one of mine), but the book includes many reviews on diverse topics in astrology.
For those looking to get started reading in astrology, the book is indispensible. It will guide you through beginner’s books, and then help you to find a good read on topics of interest as you progress in your learning. But the book itself is a great resource in astrology, and you can become acquainted with many topics just by reading Mr. O’Reilly’s reviews. His style of review writing includes a summary of the material presented in the book, as well as contextualization of the book in the astrology universe.
Those of us with more experience will certainly appreciate the author’s approach to astrology reviews, as he makes it easy to decide which book(s) on a given subject are right for the reader. The organization of the book is wonderful, as it is divided into areas as broad as Psychological Astrology and as narrow as Eclipses. There is also an author index in the back, which is helpful if you want to read up on a particular author.
I get the feeling that Michael O’Reilly didn’t review books that he didn’t like at least a little, and his criticism is gentle. While that may suggest that he doesn’t maintain objectivity, the actual effect is to give us reviews of 334 astrology books that are of at least satisfactory quality.
Astrology is a field without a centralized database, a library, or even a comprehensive card catalog. To know what was or is going on in astrology is a difficult task, but The Ultimate Book of Astrology Books makes that task much easier. It is a guide not only to astrology books, but also to understanding astrology as a discipline in all its complexity.
The book is available in paperback and in a Kindle edition. The latter is less expensive and easier on your arms. The paperback is heavy and more costly, but perhaps more functional. For those of us who prefer to skip from topic to topic and author to author, it is easier to flip paper pages. Few people will read the book from cover to cover, but don’t underestimate how much of it you’ll get through once you get started. It’s fun to revisit books you’ve read, and to explore those you’re curious about.
Either way, Kindle or paperback, if you’re reading this review, you have enough interest in astrology to get this book. Even if you’re not shopping for astrology literature, The Ultimate Book of Astrology Books is in itself a very good read.
About the author
Category: Book Reviews