April ’20 Roundup & Ramblings


Raw Data:

Books – 14

Pages – 4845

Words – 1420.9K

Average Rating – 3.39 stars


The Bad:

Entrepreneurship – 1 Star

Two Noble Kinsmen – 1 1/2 Star


The Good:

The Bell at Sealey Head – 5 Stars

Cursor’s Fury – 5 Stars

Zero Point – 5 Stars



Managed to make it through the Second Disc of the 10th Kingdom, but man, was it a slog. Only 1 more to go and it should be shorter and hence easier to deal with.


Miscellaneous Posts:

I deliberately cut down on the non-review posts this month as I was just feeling word burn out from last month. So only a couple this time around:



With the whole covid19 thing, I was only working 3 days a week the whole month. I felt blessed to be working at all though, so that was good. It meant I was able to read a few more books than I was counting on, always a good thing.

While I was working less, Mrs B was working more, as the big box store she works for was doing gang-buster business and they needed all hands on deck. That meant that a lot of the things she normally takes care I ended up doing so I wouldn’t go stir crazy or waste the day watching tv all day. Whenever I wasn’t working, we would make up a list of Things To Do. That really helped me from spiraling downward or getting into an emotional funk.

We know of several people at our church who have lost their jobs because the companies they worked for just decided to go belly up due to the shutdowns. We’re already hunkering down (with saving up money now and decreasing spending) and are planning on a year long time of riding things out. We’d love to be wrong though.


Cover Love:

This was a real toss up, as usually a McKillip book with Kinuko Craft cover is auto-win for this category. But overall, I was feeling a bit darker and Zero Point just hit my fancy a bit better. Brutal SF Space Mayhem, yes please!



Plans for Next Month:

Originally I was going to make May a Gulag Archipelago month. Lots of quotes and little data bits, etc with one big review of the first volume at the end of the month. However, my current speed of reading is considerably slower than anticipated and so while I’ll have several quotes, I don’t think I’ll be able to get the review done by the end of May. Therefore I’m going to fall back on my typical routine and hope it pans out.


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28 thoughts on “April ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

  1. Wow, you sure got a lot more accomplished than I did this month. Reading-wise, at least. Glad you’re staying safe and still working at bit. One vital question though: Do y’all have a doomsday bunker?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started my reading rotation way of reading a couple of years ago and it has virtually destroyed the dreaded reading slump for me. Keeping about 2 months of books to cycle through, with a variety of genres, keeps things fresh but also managable for the series. And with not having to “choose” what to read next, it just makes reading so much more enjoyable. But I like planning long term, so this system really works for me 🙂

      If I wasn’t living on the 3rd floor of an apartment building, I would definitely have a doomsday bunker 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm, yeah I have enough extra material sitting around, but I like to have an idea of what to read next. Although sometimes (like recently), I’ll just start several, read a few chapters, and ditch them. But at least I’ve some options. I’ll have to look into a better system, though, maybe like the one you’ve got.

        I’ve never found it easy to “hunker” on the third floor. Maybe find a pit in the middle of nowhere and try there? Just make sure it’s a super cozy pit. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve been doing this reading rotation long enough to have figured out what works for me. A 2 month cycle seems to work well (so about 20-25 series or authors). Haven’t had a real reading slump in over 3 years 😀

          Yeah, hunkering that high up is a challenge, hahahaha…

          Liked by 1 person

  2. 3 five-star books in one month, nice! I’m glad you and Mrs B are both still able to work, even if it’s less hours for you. I hope the store Mrs B works at is doing a good job of keeping their employees as safe as possible and that the customers are being respectful; I’ve heard some horror stories about some of the stuff going on in some stores.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!

      As for work, thankfully Mrs B’s store is in a slightly more affluent area than some of the others, so the clientele tends to be a bit more genteel. But they’re still people, so….

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep, thankfully.
          And we’re farther from the Massachusetts state line, so we don’t get those jackasses either, unlike the store right on the border. I wouldn’t let her work there, that is for sure…

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Gulag… well, it’s a challenge. I don’t remember if I’ve read it all, or just parts…
    I remember his “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” better, very short, but also quite powerful 🙂
    And I’d choose McKillip over Asher for cover of the month 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My brother read Gulag while back in bibleschool and he says it scarred him. He just wasn’t ready for it on so many levels. I figure I’m as ready as I’m ever going to be though, so now is the time!

      Normally I’d choose McKillip too, but I needed brutal robots, ai’s and humans murdering each other at an astronomical rate, so Asher it was, hahahahaha 😀

      You haven’t responded to the Wyrd&Wonder post, but is there any chance you’ll be posting more or should I just bury those hopes?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. You seem to be enjoying The Gulag. I don’t think I read enough of it to get hooked. It’s not going to be one of the first “currently-reading books I need to finish” that I’m going to start, I will admit!

    I really think we need to get things moving again, slowly towards a new normal. Here, we’ve been shut down since mid- March and most of the deaths have occurred in nursing homes. It doesn’t make sense to keep this up, especially when there are examples of other countries who didn’t shut down like this and they aren’t doing any worse. Personally, I WISH I could act like I was retired and read and garden all day but it’s not feasible if I want to eat. It’s good, I suppose, if you are working less that Mrs. B is working more. Hopefully, you won’t have to cut back too much. I’ve been cutting back as well. I think the price of food is going to increase quite a bit. They’ve already been talking about meat being much more expensive. Usually everything else follows. However I hope I’m wrong in this too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am enjoying it, at least so far as one can. I do admit, it could do with some annotation. So many references he makes are simply unknown to me, either due to culture or time.

      I’ve heard about potential food price increase as well, but I’m not sure what it is based on. Thankfully we’ve pretty much always lived by the 75% rule, so we’re doing fine. And I just found out next week we’re moving up to 4 days, so we’re approaching “normal” pretty quick. We’ll have to wait and see what the longterm outcome is :-/

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m glad you and Mrs. B are still working, it’s rough times out there, and good on you guys for having a savings plan to weather out the economic storm ahead (but then with you and all your survival food and hunkering down gear, I’m not surprised :D)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. We’ve been pretty blessed in regards to still being able to work.
      And ’08 taught us a life lesson we’ll never forget. Never take the good times for granted or plan that they’ll last.

      How’s things going up in Canada?


      1. LOL I’m not in Canada, I used to live in Toronto but ever since I got married I’ve been in the US and have become a naturalized citizen. Some of my family’s still up there though, and they’re pretty much going through the same thing as us.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Planning for a prolonged emergency is prudent and wise, although we all hope things will get better sooner than that. But as long as we can stay safe, it’s a decent bargain – and friendly books on our shelves are indeed a comfort… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the year-long approach and it’s definitely wise considering that ANYTHING could happen in the year to come. I am glad that you both still have a job though. Having that taken away is probably the last thing we need to our routines. Especially when you were in the middle of an adaptation with your new job and all. Looking forward to what you’ll be sharing in May, even if it’s not Gulag yet. 😀 I’ll probably hunt down a copy of that beast after I hear your thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankfully, life seems to be slowly getting back to normal. It is sunny and warm, I’m starting to work a bit more starting next week and people in general are starting to act a bit more normal. It’ll definitely be interesting to see what kind of long term effects this covid19 virus had had on us as a culture.


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