Check It Out: It's crystal clear this book is cool

By Jan Johnston, Columbian book reviewer

Published:

 
photoJan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at readingforfun@fvrl.org.

Do you ever pick up a book because of its cover? I do, and this week's title is one of my "cover-inspired" checkouts. I know the old adage says, "You can't judge a book by its cover," but sometimes it's worth placing your faith in a book just because it looks so pretty sitting on the shelf.

In this instance "The Encyclopedia of Crystals" not only looks attractive on the outside, the inside sparkles, too. Perhaps this is not surprising considering that the book's main characters are crystals; but if the "eye candy" factor is the hook you need to add this intriguing volume to your reading list, I will shamelessly promote this feature (and give you a virtual high five for checking out a library book just because it's easy on the eyes).

Now that I've made you feel better about "cover checkouts," I want to say that this week's book has what I'll call the trifecta of audience appeal — an eye-catching cover, beautiful photographs, and engaging content.

The main premise of Judy Hall's guide is to educate readers about the therapeutic and psychic powers of crystals. Using crystals for health and well-being is a concept I've certainly heard about, but not one that I've had any interest in pursuing because, quite frankly, it's too "New Age-y" for me. However, I know several people who firmly believe in crystal therapy, so I was willing to try and appreciate this book for more than just its pretty photographs. And you know what? Even though I continue to maintain a healthy amount of skepticism about crystal powers, I truly enjoyed reading about this alternative practice.

Organized by color, each entry includes not only the healing properties associated with each crystal, it also lists the crystal's chemistry, hardness, source, chakra, zodiac sign, planet and crystal system. In addition to the more than 450 crystal entries, you'll find a brief history about their uses; a short geology lesson explaining how crystals are formed; information on how to clean, activate and maintain crystals; and two indexes — general and crystal specific.

An acquaintance of mine, who uses crystal therapy in her daily life, told me that she really likes this particular title because of its attention to detail. If a devoted fan of crystal therapy, as well as a skeptic, can find much to enjoy in the same book, I'd say it's crystal clear why others should check out "The Encyclopedia of Crystals." Enjoy!