Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac by Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky
Publishing Details: Flatiron Books, October 2019
Back-of-the-Book Summary: Full of insight, advice and humor for every sign in the zodiac, the Astro Poets’ unique brand of astrological flavor has made them Twitter sensations. Their long-awaited first book is in the grand tradition of Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs, but made for the world we live in today.
In these pages the Astro Poets help you see what’s written in the stars and use it to navigate your friendships, your career, and your very complicated love life. If you’ve ever wondered why your Gemini friend won’t let you get a word in edge-wise at drinks, you’ve come to the right place. When will that Scorpio texting “u up?” at 2AM finally take the next step in your relationship? (Hint: they won’t). Both the perfect introduction to the twelve signs for the astrological novice, and a resource to return to for those who already know why their Cancer boyfriend cries during commercials but need help with their new whacky Libra boss, this is the astrology book must-have for the twenty-first century and beyond.
I first heard about this book on Twitter, and I immediately knew I had to read it. I love astrology, I love poetry, and I mean, just look at that cover. There was no way this book wasn’t going to be amazing.
What I Liked:
There was so much to love about this book, but let’s start with the organization. Dimitrov and Lasky made such smart decisions when it came to the layout and pacing of this book. As someone with a longstanding but relatively casual interest in astrology, I felt that this book both covered the basics and delved into the some of the intricacies that make the zodiac so fascinating. For beginners, the entire first section defines essential terminology and answers some common questions about astrology, like why it’s such a big deal when Mercury is in retrograde. And for pros, the individualized sections on each sign really dig into what makes each sign tick. Whether you arrive at this book with a wealth of astrological knowledge or an eager newness, there is something for you to glean from its pages.
I also loved how this book went so far beyond the stereotypes of the signs. As a Gemini, I’m used to being pegged as a two-faced bitch, which isn’t exactly incorrect, it just lacks any and all nuance. The Astro Poets bring that nuance back. Instead of distilling each sign down to its most basic, they both give the signs to breathe, to be fluid and contradictory and human. It’s incredibly impressive, I think, and it makes their insights feel much more genuine and less typical-horoscope-campy. I honestly feel like I learned so much from this book, which was never really my intention. I just thought it would be fun and interesting, but I never expected to deepen my understanding of human nature.
Finally, I absolutely loved the “The Sign’s Imagination” section for each sign. This part sang out to the poet in me. Comparing each sign to cities and scents and beverages gave me an intuitive sense of the signs, even ones that I don’t have any personal experience with.
What I Disliked:
As much as I loved this book, it wasn’t perfect. First and foremost, it could have done with one more once-over from an editor. There’s nothing worse than reading a book and getting caught up in the phrasing of every other sentence. It just really slows you down and pulls you out of the experience of the book, and unfortunately, that was a relatively major problem with this book. Countless times, I found myself re-reading sentences over and over because something about their structure was just a little off and didn’t quite make sense. As a poet, I get that sometimes you need to switch up phrasing to get at your point, but it should always serve to improve the reader’s experience, not needlessly complicate it.
My only other critique is about how the two authors wrote their individual sections. Dimitrov and Lasky each took six signs and wrote their sections, which means different signs were written from completely different perspectives and with totally different voices. In general, I didn’t actually mind this, I liked hearing from two perspectives. But I do wish they had kept their main points the same. For instance, in Lasky’s sections, she emphasized where each sign fell on the karmic wheel, which I found fascinating. But Dimitrov didn’t include that analysis in his sections, and it was disappointing to lose out on that information for some of the signs. If this (and a few other key disparities) could be reconciled and included in both authors’ sections, that would make the book even more spectacular.
You Might Like This Book If…
- …you’re just getting into astrology
- …you’re an astrology pro and are looking to gain a more nuanced understanding of the signs
- …you love combining poetry and the cosmos
- …you’re a Scorpio who’s tired of being reduced to “a sex-crazed sociopath”
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