When I’ve posted about the fact that I am Working on the Blog, I didn’t think of some of the smaller reasons that have recently come to my attention. The following is one of the unexpected benefits of doing this fiddly kind of work.
I keep my reviews in a program on my computer called Calibre. It’s an ebook manager but has the capability of being a database for reviews. Instead of just using a spreadsheet, I use calibre so I can include covers, etc. Anyway, today I woke up rather early and decided to get another month from 2007 out of the way, so I began creating reviews. When I do this, I also double check what is on my blog against what I have in my calibre database just to make sure I’ve got the complete picture. 99% of the time they agree. It’s that bleeding 1% you have to worry about 😉
Sure enough, today was a 1%’er of a time. I was putting up the review for Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour and was copy/pasting my review and when I checked in calibre, my review there stated “no original review, here’s a blurb”. My guess is that I had a record of reading the book from my time at Devilreads but that the review got lost in the transition to Booklikes and when I tried to search my blog for Down the Long Hills, since it was in a monthly post and not it’s own, it didn’t show up. You wouldn’t believe how many books I’ve read, that are in my monthly posts, that won’t come up in a search. It is one of the reason I’m doing this. This time I was able to update my calibre library with an actual snippet. That is always a good thing.
All of this to pretty much say that today’s been a good day so far and it’s only 5am. It’s either going to turn out to be a great day or a really baaaaad day 😀
I use a free program called Calibreto manage all my ebooks. Not only does it manage my ebooks, but I also use it to store my reviews offline so I’m not dependent on the internet. The developer is a fantastic guy from India who is active, my age and has been going since 2008 or so. Which means there is very little chance of the program just suddenly stopping (barring him dying of course). Even then, I could export everything into a csv file and export it into a spreadsheet, so I’m covered even that way.
Not only does Kovid Goyal maintain the program, but it is open sourced and a lot of other fantastic people have written plugins that can enhance what Calibre can do. I use several plugins, one of them being the Page/Word count plugin. I’ve only been using the Page Count part of the plugin, to keep my numbers consistent but since I decided to start keeping track of words as well, I was using a combination of Kobo.com and Readinglength.com, completely forgetting that the second half of the Page Count Plugin was for WORDS.
Now there will be some internal consistency to my page and word count numbers. I highly doubt any of you will notice a change in my reviews but this is mainly for me anyway. Instead of some of the highly questionable “guestimates” based on audiobook length, etc, etc, I will have the same formula so when I compare Book A to Book B they are using the same metric and it has actual meaning. That “means” something to me, hahahaha.
If you use ebooks a lot, I highly recommend Calibre. It has its own Support Forum on Mobileread which is a great place, barring one person from Massachusetts. Don’t expect to babied along and spoon fed though. You are expected to have done your own homework and to DO the work yourself. I lurked there for years before joining and learned alot. I still visit daily just to keep up. It is amazing what people can do with Calibre, even while I have no need of whatever it is they are doing.
I guess this was just a huge Calibre plug (in), hahahahaa. But I tell you, I use it so much that I’ve donated to show my appreciation. Free program, free help (and let me tell you, sometimes the threads for help get wicked involved and go on for pages and pages), and it does what I want it to. I couldn’t ask for more.
If you have any curiosity or need, go lurk at the forums and see. However, the best way to learn about Calibre is to USE Calibre.
LONG POST AHEAD – NOT KIDDING – NO REALLY – VERY LONG!!!
2017 was quite a different year from 2016 for me, not bad, just very different. Before I run down the differences, I’ll do some quick stats, as I LOVE stats. These stats are only for 2017 unless otherwise stated.
Total Posts: 321
Total Views: 15.8K +/-
Followers: 166 (subject to culling)
Books Read: 194
Pages Read: 67,400 +/-
Average Rating – 3.47
Here’s my 2016 In Review from last year. My overall Book and Pages numbers are down but my average rating went up almost 1/4 of a star from 3.25 to 3.47. Probably because I did a lot of re-reading of excellent books.
Stopped being active on Booklikes in April. Wrote my Final Booklikes Post then and haven’t looked back since.
Made the move to WordPress fulltime. That led to me perusing WP a lot more and hence cut into my reading time. I follow about 60 people and most of them are pretty constant posters. So I’ve spent a lot more time reading blogs than in previous years and that’s ok. People are worth investing in. Plus, now I don’t have to read all those books because I’ve already read the reviews 😉
Using Librarything as my catalogue site and while I post reviews and try to be somewhat active on the forums, I find that the forum format is limiting to how I like to communicate. I can be found at Bookstooge on LT.
I’ve also fully moved over to Calibre for keeping track of my reviews offline. While it is actually an ebook manager, it works just as well for managing my reviews. Just like a spreadsheet in terms of data but with pretty covers so I can make it a visual experience! That and I can copy it, back it up and not have to worry about losing 17-18 years worth of data.
I’ve started doing some varied series of posts. Some of My Favorite Thingscame to an end. It was a good time of listing off all of my favorite books and authors. Of course, I then went in the other direction and started the Surviving a Bad Book series which allows me to vent about some of the really bad stuff I’ve read. I’ll continue that this year for sure. Survival Saturday took me into the dangerous world of food. It also led to a lot of followers who are willing to follow me for just one post a month. Kudos to you, kind folk!
I’ve also created the Movie Category as I’ve found that reviewing a movie here and there allows me cleanse my mind since most movies now are almost all brainless fluff. Action’y, explosion’y fluff mind you, but fluff nonetheless.
My manga reading went well and I loved my time with Eyeshield 21. That was a great sports manga. Now I’m diving into the RomCom Oh My Goddess! and that is a big series that I actually own. Time to make a large dent in it this year!
Best book of the Year:
This actually is going to get split into 2 categories, as I did a lot of re-reading this year and most of those re-reads were really good books to begin with.
Gardens of the Moondefinitely took the spot for Best Re-read. However, that wasn’t an easy choice for me to make, as I had some seriously other enjoyable books that I Re-Read.
But the world of Malaz took my reading by storm this year.
Worst Book of the Year:
I didn’t start using this tag until October, so I just perused my 1/2 star and 1 star books in Calibre. Most of my half-star books this year were because of (im)Moral Content and not necessarily because I hated the book.
The Middengets this dubious honor. It just left me in a bad mood for 24hrs after I was done. Books have to be extremely bad to do that to me.
A VERY close contender was Light. That piece of excrescence was a boil on my literary butt. Disgusting.
Night Paradeis the runner up because it was just so trashy. Poorly written book that gives the Forgotten Realms series the bad rap that it has.
Plans for 2018
Not a lot actually. I’ll keep on with the couple of series of posts that I mentioned above.
I want to do a Robin Read in January. Basically, I have 4 Graphic Novels dealing with various Robins [Batman’s sidekick] that I want to read. Lashaan spurred me on in this endeavor when he reviewed Under the Red Hood. I plan on reading A Death in the Family, A Hero Reborn, Tragedy & Triumph and finally Under the Red Hood.
I also plan on reading, and watching Murder on the Orient Express and doing some sort of Buddy Read/Watch with Read, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. A month or so after the dvd for the latest movie comes out. If any of you want to do a Buddy Read at some point, shoot me an email and we can work out details.
Also, since I’m pretty much making WP my home on the web now, I’ll be creating individual posts for all of my old reviews, since I only have them in monthly clumps. So if you follow by email, I apologize ahead of time. Just going to try to work on entries that I’m re-reading though. Not like I’m going to go through and do all 3000+.
I have to admit, my main “selfish” goal is to have that first post that breaks the 100 view mark. I’ve got a couple that are pretty close, but I’m hoping that something I post in 2018 will be the first. That is about the limit of my personal ambition 😀
Other than that, I’ll continue on with my regular reading schedule. Here’s what that looks like as of now:
Books by Patricia McKillip
Shadows of the Apt
High Priority (currently 5 books in this collection)
Books by Charles Dickens
Warhammer: Thanquol & Boneripper
Dread Empire’s Fall (not related to the above series AT ALL)
The Complete Shakespeare
Misc (currently 6 books in this collection)
Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein
Malazan Book of the Fallen
Forgotten Realms: Year of Rogue Dragons
As I finish one series, I’ll roll another one in from my Calibre Library.
Life continues. We got a new pastor in March. His focus appears to be on the churches that he’s in charge of (all 4 of them) and not on climbing up the corporate ladder of the SDA business side of things. That has meant that both me and Mrs B. have spent more time at church doing stuff as we feel that our contributions are actually wanted.
I don’t have any grand plans to expand my blog or to try to grow it any more. I feel comfortable with the number of people I follow and while I’m always glad to welcome new followers (and hopefully new commentors!) I have no desire to become the next rival to Emily May on Goodreads (may she rot for betraying Leafmarks!). I actually stopped posting on Tumblr so I’m back to crossposting just on WordPress, Blogspot and Librarything. I’m finding that is just about the right size of community for me.
I’d really like to thank all of you who follow me and who do like and comment. For all my protestations of blogging for myself and not caring what others think, that’s only somewhat true. Being an inveterate introvert, I still find myself beset by that weakness of humanity, the need for others. So thank you all for putting up with my rants, my silliness, my stomping around like a 2 year old. I know none of you has to stick around but you still are here, so thanks for that. At the same time I hope no one ever sticks around if they don’t feel comfortable with any of my content. Don’t be a guilt-ridden follower, please!
I have updated my About Me post and I recommend any relatively new people check it out. Always good to know who you are following.
These reviews really surprised me. I know part of it is that by the end of the year those reviews got more views because of a bigger audience, but still, Night of Knives? That went up in March and stayed on top all year. Weird…
Mr Mercedes post got top billing because of the smiley face picture I used, I think. Turns up in a lot of google searches. If it isn’t that, then I’m super confused. The Invisible Reader post rocketed up the rankings making it into the top 5 in less than a week. Either my whining was super annoying effective or it resonated with a lot of readers.
While I do bite peoples’ heads off when the occasion calls for it, I do try to be nice to first time commentors; unless you are a troll/sjw, an author peddling your book or some random blogger trying to guilt me into following you. Other than that, you’re more than welcome to comment away. And as the above people prove, you can comment on multiple posts and live to tell your grandchildren about it! Well, except that one guy. But I buried him pretty deep and am sure no one will ever find the body. See, you’re totally safe here!
– Movies –
Since I reviewed less than 10 movies this year, and the Death Note franchise took up 4 of those places, I’m going to wait until next year to list a Top 5 for these. That being said, I will list my top 2. Cause you have to have more than one to truly have “A List”, right?
Today, I am proud to announce that I have succeeded into whittling that number down into the double digits!!!! I’ve been lazy but the last couple of weeks Booklikes, where I have all my reviews as separate entries, has been giving me a lot of 502’s. I’m really hoping to get this job done by years end. It’s my unofficial book project.
I’ve included a couple more screen captures from Calibre in hopes of enticing at least one of you to start using it for your offline data keeping. Well, ok, it’s more about me showing off my numbers. I admit, I’m vain about it.
I realize that most of you won’t care or need this level of personal data entry. But since I use Calibre already to manage my ebooks, and it has all these great capabilities, why not make the most of it? It’s free, constantly being updated and has a whole forum of people who want to help others use it. It fits my needs.
Of course, once this project is done, I have to pick another. I have NO idea what I’ll do for that. Maybe undertake the gargantuan task of putting all my reviews into separate entries here at wordpress? I don’t know if I can do that, as I did that at Booklikes, then Leafmarks and now in Calibre. It would be nice to have a fully functioning, fully searchable and fully linkable site, but honestly, I’ve got a small enough audience (no offense to any of you!) and no plans to “go big”, so why bother? We’ll see though. I might do it just for something book related to do!
As an aside, I’m going to be working in a remote location monday, with no wifi. Going to be on small island quite a ways away from the office, so my coworker and I will be spending the night there. So after Sunday night, I’ll be gone until Tuesday night. See you all then.
Saw this at Dragon & Zombies a little bit ago and decided I’d save it and do it later. Later is now Now.
Picture heavy and complicated. I had a lot of fun putting this together though, as organizing things brings joy to my heart.
How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
This is a complicated procedure, at least the setup. Once it’s setup, then it rolls along like a well oiled machine.
Choose a book to put on my TBR
Put said book into Calibre with the TBR tag and sort by “date added”
Load 100’ish books onto my Kindle, sorted by Series
Remove TBR tag from those books in Calibre.
Repeat Steps 1 & 2
When I finish a series on my Kindle, I remove said series from my Kindle
Replace finished series with the next series that has the TBR tag from Calibre
Keep my Kindle filled with 100-150 book so I’m not reading the same thing within weeks
Keep my Calibre TBR library at 100-150. Ruthlessly not adding books does this just fine.
All picture should be clickable for more detail.
Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?
How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?
By whatever is next. My reading is like a grindstone. It goes slowly, but I crush that TBR into fine meal.
A book that’s been on your TBR the longest:
In Calibre, the Starfisher trilogy by Glen Cook has been on my TBR since August of 2016
A book that you recently added to your TBR:
Stinger by McCammon and Mr Mercedes by King. Both are Halloween’ish reads and the King book is in preparation for doing a buddy-read with BookCupidity.
A book that’s on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover:
Stranger of Tempest
With my avatar coming from the game Heretic/Hexxen, something like this is going to instantly appeal to me.
A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading:
I’m not one of “those” kind of people. I used to be though. But now, I only add book that I know I’ll read.
An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for:
The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael Sullivan.
The kickstarter for the hardcover should be starting up soon and I’ll be doing a post for that.
A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you:
Once again, I’m not one of “those” people. I only add a book if a reviewer I trust has reviewed it or if there are enough other reviews for me to figure out if it will push my button or not. The whole “popularity” reading thing is for a different generation than me.
A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you:
Thankfully, almost all of you never recommend books to me. I’m thankful for that. I read your review and make up my own mind.
A book on your TBR that you’re just dying to read:
For these kind of book, I have a High Priority collection on my Kindle. I keep that Collection on the front page of my kindle and cycle through it whenever it gets to the bottom of the page. I also try to follow this same procedure for my manga reading.
The books in it right now are:
Sixth Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko [Currently Reading]
As I am currently updating my off-line book review database in Calibre, I come across some of the jewels that I’ve read over the years. Those books I try to include in my Some of my Favorite Things posts. Of course, there are times that I’ve come across some real pooper scooper books.
I realize this isn’t an actual review even while I’m linking to an older review. But it amused me when I came across this and figured I could write something. Now if you go to various social booksites and look at reviews, you’ll see how some people are praising this book. I think those people should be committed.
It was all about Sex is a Metaphor for Everything and Everything is Actually Sex. Goodness, I hate a lot of writings from the 70’s. Bloody Freud. And there was a movie but I’m not providing any links, as the few I saw convinced me it was softcore porn.
It didn’t help that I read the edition with the above cover. I felt very misled. Now, if I’d seen the covers below, I’d have had a better idea of just what I was getting into and maybe avoided it altogether.
I might have to go through my library and see what other 1 star or less atrocities I’ve read. Sometimes it is good to be reminded of just what you’ve survived.
When Leafmarks folded last year [Leafmarks was a Goodreads type site but without the censorship] I was able to export all of my book data to that date. It was becoming apparent to me that Booklikes wasn’t cutting it [and with no Export function, what’s the point?] and I couldn’t really go back to GR [as an aside, I did briefly join up, for the 3rd time with GR only to quit when they started sending me those “You’ve just read a book. Congrats!” emails which I had not signed up for. So instead of opting out of the emails, I opted out of GR. And it just reinforced my bitter dislike of the incompetence of those running the place]. I spent a month checking out all sorts of various places.
Librarything [ended up crossposting there and getting a free lifetime membership]
aAnobi [which was an italian site and just as dead as Booklikes]
The ReadingRoom [was just a huge advertisement]
Some other sites that were so small I don’t even remember them.
Nothing was what I was looking for. Eventually, I chose WP as my social site. But what to do for my reviews? I wanted to be able to search them by as wide a variety as possible but putting them just into a Word document wasn’t enough. So I started using Calibre, which is an ebook manager. It can also manage empty books, so this was perfect for me. I had something like 2400 entries in a CSV file from Leafmarks that I imported. Then it just became a job of polishing everything up, ie, adding ratings, covers, splitting re-reads into their separate entries, etc. Today, I will get my Working Library under the 1000 mark. Going from 4digits down to 3digits is a significant morale booster for me.
I started using Calibre earlier this year when I was looking for a good cataloguing program for my reviews. I’ve been using it since ’06 or so to manage my ebook collection, but never for cataloguing purposes.
But it has been growing in utility and I just found out that in the newest release [2.67] that the creator, Kovid Goyle, has added the functionality of half stars for rating. It has always had a 5 star rating column, but now that it has the half stars I’ll be going through and using that for all my books instead of just leaving it blank and looking at my review.
I love it when a program fits your needs perfectly.
When Booklikes gave us the scare last month about being sold and Leafmarks announced it’s shutdown, I was doing some serious hunting for offline programs that I could save my reviews to.
I had considered Collectorz, but the monthly/yearly subscription fee was way more than I was willing to invest.
I settled on Calibre, since I was already familiar with it in regards to managing my ebook collection. It took me about a day to figure out how to create a separate section [library] just for my reviewed books. I simply had to add the books as empty books and then add all my data.
With over 2800 books under my belt though, the task of manually adding and editing them was a bit daunting. I started and figured I’d just make it a long term project that I did a little bit on each week and maybe in a year or 3 it would be done.
This evening I was poking around in the Plugins part of the forum for Calibre and came across one that was called “Import List”. It allows people to add a list of books to Calibre from various sources. One of those sources is a CSV file. So I installed it, figured out how to actually use the bloody thing and am now currently adding all my books to yet another new and empty library. I’ve got author, title, series, date read, tags and comments[review]. Automatically.
Even with going through and editing the series number, this just saved me about a years worth of work. Even if there are other issues I have to edit, just having them all there makes a huge difference.
Now, I have only started this project. Still in the testing phase. The actual import is still working away in Calibre, as I’ve added 6 different things and the plugin how to create a whole structure for those 2800 books. I’m just going to let it run over night. But even if this doesn’t work out “quite” how I want it, I can mess around and try again.