2 out of 4 stars
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In his book, Bill Felker outlines a study where the diligent “time observer” can perceive the world anew by applying his outwardly focus inward. Plucking his words like a minstrel, the world he unveils to readers is one where the moon “oversees” our happenings, where stalks and blooms “retreat” rather than die, and where planets are more than stars to be examined, but preside above as “evening companion(s).” Poor Will’s Almanack for 2019 and Horoscope in Nature is presented as an all-encompassing guide to acknowledging the world around us and understanding its effectual nature on our lives.
Although the presiding voice of the storyteller echoes attractively throughout the pages, I believe his readers would be better served should he choose between telling a story and informing a client base. Felker’s jumbled attempt at combining the two resulted in non-clarity and confusion which will likely be off-putting to first-time almanac readers.
The book follows a cyclical format presenting the “Almanack Horoscope(s)” month by month beginning in January. In each section, the alignment of the sun, moon, and stars are noted along with the predicted accompanying weather estimates. Also included are observed emotional correlations, animal behavioral patterns, planting suggestions, and short stories.
Where Felker loses credibility, in my opinion, is in the details. Since many almanacs exist, any competing editions must first begin on sound organizational and informational footings. Although Poor Will’s Almanack has published annual publications since 2003, this gives no excuse for making assumptions with one’s readers (unless there is zero intent to invite a new base). The author presents many thematically specific terms with definitions either wholly omitted or instead, included chapters after their first presentation. Simple in-text definitions for words like “fractal,” “sidereal Zodiac,” “Gregorian,” “perigee,” and more would bring clarity to potential new readers.
Although Felker’s research methods are studiously chronicled in the book’s beginning, the air of professionalism does not continue in the subsequent pages. The use of statistics lands a bit skewed where, for example, a 35% chance is used to notate a “trend.” Some confusion arises in the monthly “Meteorology” sections. In the first three months, there is a directive to add/remove days based on one’s relation to the 40th Parallel. This notice is left out after March though with no mention of whether one should apply the same rule to the continuing months. It seems that much of the book is peppered with useless filler instead of presented with new movements. The first paragraph in the sections for “Peak Activity Times for Creatures” is repeated verbatim February through December.
Many of the book’s inclusions were alluring and noteworthy; I particularly enjoyed the predictions on the “Seasonal Affective Disorder Stress Index.” I question, however, if this almanac is worth purchasing over the others in circulation without similar errors. The book has a clear and dire need of professional editing throughout. Incorrect punctuation, repeated words, weak sentence structure, and pixelated graphics riddle Felker’s attempt at a melodic presentation. Immediately losing one star for poor editing, and at least one more for questionable layout and reasoning, I am rating Poor Will’s Almanack for 2019 and Horoscope in Nature 2 out of 4 stars. I recommend this book to those who are already followers of Felker’s work. There is likely much to be enjoyed and gleaned from his natural astrological presentation, however, there are better options out there for those who are not already used to the error of his ways.
Poor Will's Almanack for 2019 and Horoscope in Nature
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