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What do you look for in a good deck companion book?

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View Poll Results: What do you like most in a Tarot Companion Book?
A section about the History of Tarot 6 6.19%
A few new spreads unique to the theme of the deck 52 53.61%
Full descriptions about the images or symbolism used 75 77.32%
Standard RWS meanings 9 9.28%
New and different meanings with regards to this deck 57 58.76%
An Insight into the artist and why they chose the symbols 68 70.10%
All of the Above 9 9.28%
None of the Above! 1 1.03%
Other (please specify!) 6 6.19%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 97. You may not vote on this poll

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baba-prague  baba-prague is offline
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Originally Posted by Grizabella
But I get sooooo tired of the same old Tarot history in book after book. There are tons of beginner books available so to put it into every single Tarot book ever written just gets really old and makes me want to not even buy a book when I find Tarot history in it.
Well, the argument in favour of doing that is the one I already mentioned - that many deck sets are bought by people as a first deck and they want all the "basics" in there as well as the more discoursive/specific-to-the-deck stuff. Our Tarot History section is only three pages or so, so no-one is actually paying more for the book because it's there. I assume people who've seen it a thousand times before will just skip it. Likewise I assume that many people will skip what I have to say about the generalities of doing a reading. I feel your frustration - but well, please grin and bear it for the sake of the novices.

However, as I already said, I'm not sure that Chronata will need to include all that stuff if she is not planning wide distribution and is aiming more at a specialist audience.
Top   #11
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THANK YOU everyone! Very awesome opinions...and I seriously appreciate every single one of them!

The poll seems to be slanted towards what I was envisioning anyway...

I never really liked the whole history section in most books...because lets face it I personally know diddly about tarot history! It's why I am seldom in that part of the forum. It seems to me that I can just write..."and there's a lot of conjecture and difference in opinion about the origins of Tarot..." and just leave it at that!

But I agree with Baba..I may not have wide distribution of this deck and/or book...but just in case someone who has never read tarot in their life gets a hold of it...I at least want to cover the basic I know them to be... of Majors and minors, and possibility of reversals, and how to read out of the box.
I think that's just good manners! But it shouldn't take up a lot of time in a book either.

I actually like the layout of the cards done here for the community tarots...
a discussion on the symbols...the meanings of those symbols...and then I am adding what I am call "Behind the Veil" which is the explanation as to why I chose what I did, what traditionally, the card means to me, and other weird little tidbits from my life, and from my many years of reading and teaching tarot that further enhance the card.

And also a little bit about Halloween/Autumn memories in some cases...since this is a deck about that particular time period, which has always been an important season for me!

Spreads...I have three so far that are unique to the theme. I may add more...but right now 3 seems like a good number. I will not include the celtic cross...mainly because I never really liked it.

Actuallyit was in reading two of my favorite tarot books recently...the companions for the BBcats and for the Fairytale...that I realized that a book needs more than just meanings!

and I agree that the Fey is a great book as well...I love the evolution part of the cards...but I don't think I can really go that route...

Anyway...thank you all for your excellent insights!

Keep 'em coming!
I think I may have just broken through...and might actually see this thing finished!
Top   #12
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I voted for spreads, as they can be so useful (such as the Babylonian Universe spread with the Babylonian Tarot); full descriptions of the images and symbolism because it gets you to notice so much more about each card; new and different card meanings because why get other decks if you're going to used canned interpretation?; and an insight into the artist, because that's a key element in understanding a deck, IMO.

I'd like to add another vote for the MRP companion books, as they really are DA BOMB. I like the quirky asides and stories in them, which give a sense of the feel of the period in which the deck is set.

So little stories of your own that you associate with the card could be a good addition, too.

Another thing - I really dislike books that spend five pages discussing each Major Arcana and then cram five Minors to each page. There is so much more to be got from each Minor card - number associations and how each one relates to its corresponding Major, combined with suit and element so that the reader is encouraged to think whilst absorbing your own thoughts.

One more dislike - books that repeat themselves ad nauseum, such as Alexandra Genetti's companion for the Wheel of Change Tarot. By the time I got halfway through that book, I felt as though if I read about the "five phases of womanhood" one more time, I'd scream!

\m/ Kat
Top   #13
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I don't care a flip about new spreads, and I've already got a shelf full of books on tarot history.

But I am always interested in knowing the artist's perspective on the images and symbols in the cards, and in knowing the artist's conception of the cards' divinatory meanings - above and beyond what the "usual" meanings are.

It also helps me A LOT when a companion book is well-illustrated, though I know that this adds to the production cost. I always prefer to have a picture right there with each card's meaning.
Top   #14
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Has this poll closed?

What do I most like? Durability, not crappy glue on the spine that cracks open and the pages fall out a year later. New spreads. Why the images were chosen. I also love hearing stores of how the author got into tarot, first deck etc (donīt ask me why. Maybe Im just nosey).

My eyes glaze over when I start reading again about "14th century... blah blah blah.. Ferrera... Sforza..."

O and if itīs a baba book, I love knowing the source materials, seeing the original engraving/photo in itīs context and thus seeing ho w itīs been adapted to tarot. I canīt get enough of that (i.e seeing the "original" BG photos!)

Just received the Rohrig book. A lesson in how NOT to do a book. Itīs just the LWB in big print and with colour reproductions of the deck which I have anyway. A rip off. Naughty.
Top   #15
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The tarot history thing. I take baba's point, but I think most people buying their first deck do NOT do so to read tarot history; they likely don't know there IS a history. They buy for interest in general or with a hope of reading. So books should concentrate on that side of things - but NOT saying these are the meanings what are set in stone and so on - which is why I want to see "why this symbol for this card...."
Top   #16
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As an amateur tarot historian I really like hearing something about the author/artist - their background and experience in tarot, the story of how they came to do the deck, the central purpose or intent. This doesn't have to be long and can even come at the end, rather than the beginning, of the book. As I document early and mid-20th century tarot works, this is what I most want to know about the authors and deck creators. I want anything that will help place the work in what's happening at the time. For instance, Chronata—a hundred years from now I think people would be interested that you were supported and encouraged by an international forum of tarot enthusiasts (back in the dawn of the world wide web).
Top   #17
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I also like to see a copy of each card in the companion book. better yet if it can be in color too--but not 100% necessary. it just helps to see the card next to what it supposedly will mean, or at least how the creator of the deck imagined the card to mean.
Top   #18
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faunabay  faunabay is offline
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I was telling a friend of mine about this thread today and she had a suggestion. She's new to tarot....has a few books though. She said she'd love to see a book that is spiral bound. That way it will lay out nice and neat and she can keep the page open to what she's looking at. I told her I'd pass on her suggestion.

I think this was a great idea. I'm not sure about the cost of doing something like this. But it made perfect sense to me.
Top   #19
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Teheuti  Teheuti is offline
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Originally Posted by faunabay
she'd love to see a book that is spiral bound.
Publishers hate, hate, hate spiral bound books! There's tons of reasons for this:

• Cost. Materials, plus the numbers of mistakes, drives costs way up.
• Either no spine printing or it's limited (depends on the kind of spiral).
• It catches easily on other books, damaging them and/or it.
• Booksellers don't like them.
• Purchasers see them as Kinkos/amateur versus mainstream publishing, so they aren't taken as seriously.

I wanted Tarot for Your Self to be done in spiral. My publisher investigated it thoroughly and decided not to do it. Several other books that first came out in spiral changed to standard perfect-binding as soon as they could switch.
Top   #20



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