In this series, we’re asking fans and followers to send us pictures of their bookshelves. If yours is chosen, we will use it to conduct a Tarot-inspired “reader reading”—an exploration of your past, present, and future, as revealed through your books. If you’d like to get a reading, tweet us a photo of your bookshelf with the hashtag #readerreading, or email it to email@example.com. Disclaimer: I have zero training as a medium, psychic, or palm reader. I don’t even know how to do a cartwheel.
Are you feuding with someone, perhaps? This book tells me you are enmeshed in drama with an opposing tribe. Perhaps they didn’t steal your hog (or vice versa), but is there a modern-day equivalent? I get the feeling you’ve been feuding with this person for a while. It started with something small and has been escalating as each side tries to one-up the other.
2. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
You’re a leader in your community, but right now, you’re struggling to maintain your values while upholding your position. This book is about the balance of power and corruption, and it tells me you’re trying to do good work in a sinful environment. Is your book club getting a little too political, perhaps?
3. Hazard, by Gardiner Harris
I’m sensing that you’re in turmoil over your position of power. What should your aim be in solving your dilemmas? This book tells me the key is simple—it’s in grasping the one thing that connects it all. In Hazard, it’s coal that rules the world. It’s the main piece of the puzzle that trumps everything. Likewise, there’s a key in your life that can assuage your situation. What is it?
4. The Enduring Hills, by Janice Holt Giles
I’m going to take a stab in the dark and guess you live in Kentucky, and that you’ve always lived there. The problems you’re having stem from the fact that while you’re rooted in Kentucky, your heart longs for bigger, busier things. In The Enduring Hills, Hod pines for “wider horizons, more education, and the freedom he imagines can be found in the outside world.” Are you a city girl swimming in a small pond? Maybe you’re trying to widen your horizons in a place that resists being widened.
5. The Coal Tattoo, by Silas House
Though you’re experiencing turmoil in your life, another matter has recently been settled. Do you have a sibling or close friend who is extremely different from you? I’m assuming you’re the wild one, she the more conservative. I get the feeling that you’ve struggled to temper your love and differences, and have recently succeeded in doing so. You know who you are, and in mending this important relationship, your sense of self has become even stronger.
6. The Kentucky Tragedy: A Story of Conflict and Change in Antebellum America, by Dickson D. Bruce
Yikes. This book, about the affair/murder/suicide/execution that unhinged a Kentucky town in 1825, represents the influence that will operate in the near future, the forces that are becoming influential. Lay low. If you’re tempted to do anything scandalous—say, have an affair with a politician—you must resist, because I’m telling you, it will end badly. But if you do succumb to temptation, stop your transgressions there. Don’t further your wrongdoing for reasons of malice or revenge. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
7. Henry Clay: The Essential American, by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler
This book speaks to your attitude and frame of mind. So is it obtuse of me to assume that means you’re the essential American? Do the words canny, colorful, precocious, witty, optimistic, consummate, and Great Compromiser best describe you?
8. Night Comes to the Cumberlands: A Biography of a Depressed Area, by Harry M. Caudill
Okay, now I’m sure you’re a true Kentuckian—Kentucky runs through your blood. It is your people, ancestors, friends, and environment. Those who surround you and affect you are hard-working, and perhaps undervalued. These salt-of-the-earth people are known for their tenacity, stubbornness, and relentlessness in their work, and this surely influences you.
9. Caney Girl, by Florence Castle Ison
Your current fear involves a dream you have (similar to Florence Joyce Castle’s dream of attending Alice Lloyd) that you’re worried you will be unable to fulfill. But I’ve been getting to know you for nine books now, and I get the feeling your strong will can help you achieve your goal. Just remember, and I know you know this, that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Don’t wait for help from others.
10. The Senator from Slaughter County, by Harry M. Caudill
Perhaps because of your unconventional free spirit, you’re about to shake up your community. As we learned in book number four, you long for wider horizons, more education, and freedom, and because you’re such an influencer, these characteristics are going to make a huge impact on your surroundings. Dr. Tom Bonhom brought “jobs, schools, roads, and millions of state and federal dollars into his county.” You’re going to bring something, too. What is it?
So, @marquimarq… how’d I do? Was I right about anything?
Don’t forget to send us a pic to get a reading of your very own!