The Mystery Library: Fortune-Telling by Stuart A. Kallen

I’m a big fan of the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona video games, as I’ve mentioned before. Apart from Jungian psychology, a recurring trope in the games is tarot. Persona 3 even includes a series of lessons in using and interpreting tarot. Naturally, this sparked my curiosity.

Kallen’s book provides a brief, easily digestible introduction to the subject of fortune-telling, including the branches of astrology, palmistry, tarot, the I Ching, and oracles. If you have any interest in the subject matter and don’t know where to start looking for more information, this is a good option. While Kallen doesn’t go into too much detail on the level of interpretations, he does provide a number of quality examples and resources so the reader can continue their research.

The prose itself is straightforward and easy to follow, which is ideal in the face of such abstract and difficult subject matter. For some reason though, despite the large font and pictures, I found the pace rather slow. I suppose I can attribute this to some areas of dry delivery and some areas of simply my own waning interest. I’m certainly not going to try and interpret hexagrams in the I Ching anytime soon.

Advice from a lowly novice writer:

Some people see nonfiction as boring, but it doesn’t have to be. Even dry facts can be presented in a way that any reader can enjoy. The key to this, I’ve noticed, is finding a way to make the reader care, and the best way to do this is to answer the question: what does this have to do with me? If you can find a way to connect with the reader, they will be more inclined to continue reading and absorb the information you give them.

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