I've had this book since it's original inception, "Choice Centered Tarot".
That well worn copy which lasted many journeys was eventually lost to me by water damage. The new edition shiny purple cover didn't change a word inside though~ still like coming home.
Originally published in 1982, this book is as relevant as ever.
What you'll get: a larger than mass paperback/smaller than trade paperback thin edition- Paging in at only 160 total, Ms Fairfield executed editing brilliance: not one word used frivolously.
Why may have overlooked this gem:
Keeping in mind the date of press, not much was available to the masses on the subject- this was a pre-internet treasure trove, though not my first book.
That was admittedly "The Complete Guide to the Tarot" by Eden Gray, also released in mass paperback in 1982, and considered one of the hallmark "ancestors channeling" of Tarot reading as we know it today.
It probably was yours too, or one that would be first recommended to you, if not "78 Degrees of Wisdom", Rachel Pollack's seminal reconstruction inspired by that book as the "Gold Standard" by which all others are held to since.
Prettier cover maybe? Well CCT was a bit unpolished as "Judging a book by it's cover goes"
Why it's worth it's place in the book nook:
+This book called out the overt racism, classism, sexism, gender, age, and body image discrimination found in most every deck in print to that point, which seems to this day still present an issue...
So many extra points for her stating that the gender name on the card is irrelevant to the person whom embodies it. The book's language stays relatively gender neutral as well, allowing the place for "You", as you are.
+There's no blank areas for your to write in, but this is a workbook!
Gail shows you where to look but does not tell you what to see.
+The chapter "Designing A Layout" aka, creating a spread, is alone worth the price of admission.
+Card interpretations include concise Upright, Reverse, Neutral, Positive and Negative meanings, sort of one and done for any appearance in a spread. I find her explanation of description of the four suits exemplary and suitable for teaching.
+She really touches on most everything- Asking the Question, Appearance of other people in the spread, reading for Skeptic or Child, Timing answers, Alternate Ways to use the Tarot,(dreamwork, anyone?)and a nice list of possible Layout Positions you use.
Do I have sample pages? Yep.
What's NOT in this book (That may be important to you):
-There's no photography, no illustrations of cards,
meanings not attributed for RWS and clones thru description of pictures. -Wands= Fire Swords= Air
-There are no Golden Dawn decan dates or any Astrology explained other than a sentence notating group elemental and compass node of direction.
-The Celtic Cross is about one of eight shown, and there are no sample readings of spreads provided. The emphasis is on creating your own tailored layout.
-58/160 pages are dedicated to card meanings, and tend to rely on non-illustrated pips and numerology meanings- you may want other books to fill you in on the history, and more in-depth symbolism for illustrated decks.
TL,DR? Too Long, Didn't Read?
*You could learn to read using this book.
*It is also ideal to curb any co-dependency on RWS decks and/or learning to design your own spread.
*The universal concepts within will still apply 20 more years from now.