May ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 2890

Words – 1009.5K

Average Rating – 3.13 Stars

The Bad:

Don’t Care

The Good:

Don’t Care

Movie:

Muppet Show Season 2. This was the light fluffiness that I really needed this month.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

What a bleeping month. I completely lost my writing mojo. It was so bad that I didn’t even want to comment on anyone’s posts. I simply coasted the whole month and let my past me, who did this month’s writing, bear the burden. So you know how I’m always talking about getting ahead, well, I completely blew that buffer (again). But this is EXACTLY why I do that. I still had posts going up but didn’t get any scheduled for June.

Work sucked the joy from my soul. I was looking forward to this 3day weekend the whole month. Not a good place to be.

And because I was really looking forward to the long weekend, what happens? I get sunburnt and sick. I slept most of Saturday away, didn’t go to church on Sunday and pretty much just recovered. It made reading anything hard to enjoy and forget about eating yummy foods, I was stuck with tea and hot soups. And I was so looking forward to chili cheese dogs too!

Plans for Next Month:

Write. I have the whole month planned out in regards to my book reviews and even the majority of my non-review posts. It’s all going to depend on how I feel. If I feel like writing, then I’ll catch up in no time. If I don’t feel like writing though, June is going to be VERY light on posts.

April ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 15

Pages – 4374

Words – 1382k

Average Rating – 3.67

The Bad:

None. Not a single book was less than a 3star and I don’t want to start creating a “Mediocre” section. So no Bad Books!

The Good:

Yotsuba Vol, 14 – 5 stars of Perfection

Requiem for Medusa – 4 stars of gung-ho space opera action.

Movie:

Season One of the Muppet Show went just fine! Really looking forward to the next 2 seasons I own on dvd.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

This month was all over the place, much like the weather. Work was steady (which is always good!) but they tried pressuring us to 50hr weeks near the beginning of the month (which was bad). Every time they gave us the old “gotta work longer and harder” speech we just nodded and said “yep, sure, uh huh” and kept to our 9hr day. Except for when we didn’t. I suspect May we’re going to stick to 9hrs period. I was exhausted by the end of this month.

The weather. We had a week where I was in short sleeves the whole week. Then in the middle of the month we got a bloody snowstorm! Of course, it was only an inch and the rain immediately washed it all away, but still, come on, a snow storm? Good thing I kept my smartwool winter socks out.

Reading was good. While nothing was super duper spectacular, the fact that nothing was below a 3 meant I could just coast. It is just so nice when your books make your life easier.

Cover Love:

The Ruby Knight definitely wins this month’s cover love. And despite Ol’10‘s many protests in the comment section of the review about me lying down on the job, I’d just like to point out that to this day I have yet to see ONE dead monster as evidence of him doing any actual work. His monthly raisin allotment has been curtailed for May. Let that be a lesson to you all! There can be severe consequences to commenting on this blog.

Plans for Next Month:

Since I finished up Yotsuba, I now have to choose another manga to dive into. I think I’m going to take a break in May and look around and see what looks appetizing. So no Manga Monday’s for May.

The Muppet Show Season 2 is on tap and should deliver some nice light entertainment.

Mr Zip is getting a new stuffed companion and he’s all set to make his debut on the blog this month with at least 2 posts. Mr Zip would have been jealous but I bribed him with a bucket of chicken fingers so he’s happy as a monkey 😉

I found an old box of comics and was digging through them to see if they were appropriate for a 12 year old at church. The only series I wasn’t sure about was called Cyber Force. I’m going to be reading and reviewing those. Five issues at 32 pages a pop shouldn’t be hard to deal with.

Other than that, we’ll play it by ear. My goal is to finally get 4 weeks ahead of publishing schedule but we’ll see if I can do that or not. I really like having a 4 week buffer in case something comes up and I don’t want to write.

March ’21 Roundup & Rambling

Raw Data:

Books – 17 (!!!!)

Pages – 4413

Words – 1493K

Average Rating – 3.59

The Bad:

Break the Chains – 1 star dnf 😦

Descent into Hell – 2.5 stars of pure weirdness and not in a good way.

The Good:

Noir Fatale – 4 stars of femme fatale short stories

Drood – 4 stars of pure psychotropic weirdness in a good way

Movie:

Yeah, the Muppets Take Manhattan was the weakest of the 3 movie so far and didn’t impress me at all.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

There was sunshine this month. Actual days where the sun shone the entire day. You have no idea how much that helped me.

♪There is Sunshine ♪ in my soul today!♪

I figured out that part of the issue of why blogging last month wasn’t fun was because of stress. I’m hoping the issues take care of themselves but at least I’ve identified some specifics so if it crops up again I can nip it in the bud instead of letting it drag me down. Took a baby step or two in this direction and hope that was enough to change the overall direction.

I was THIS happy to get so much reading done. I haven’t read 17 books since last September. The only downside was that I had to write 17 reviews but that did mean I didn’t have to write so much fluff. Sometimes I worry about things like that. While I’ll be the first to deny that I’m a “critic”, I still want to take myself seriously and that can be really hard to do when I write things like The First Rule of Secret Skull Club™ Is….. At the same time I do not want to become one of those bloggers who get so serious about their pet subject that they act like they have a stick of dynamite up their backside.

Cover Love:

I talked about the cover a little bit in the review for Winter’s Heart. Looking at it right now, Rand’s coat reminds me very much of Vash the Stampede’s coat from the anime Trigun.

Plans for Next Month:

Resurrection Day is next Sunday and I’m planning a slightly different style of post for that than I have done in the past 4 years. Project X, Manga Mondays, Currently Reading & Quotes, those are going to be regularly scheduled as usual. Book Reviews, well, if you’re really good little bloggers Santa Bookstooge might just have a couple of them for you, all nice and shiny! If you’re bad little bloggers, well, I’ll post disco posts where Bookstoogevolta does his thing in that neon green disco suit. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

February ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 3691

Words – 1219k

Average Rating – 3.54

The Bad:

Children of Ruin – 1.5stars of utter disappointment
Auxiliary: London 2039 – 2stars of despair and robot blowjobs

The Good:

Retribution – 4.5stars for the Star Wars that should have been
Magician’s Ward – 4.5stars of fluffy regency fantasy

Movie:

The Great Muppet Caper was a good continuation of the Muppet Movie Franchise. Definitely worth the watch and worth owning.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

Is the month really over? Don’t toy with me, tomorrow IS March, right? February’s have always been bad for me and this one felt particularly brutal. Weather was horrible with snow, cold, rain, no sun, then some more snow. Work sucked with too much to do, not enough help, office manager being a real jerk. Blogging sucked because I’d come home exhausted and not have the energy to deal with anything online.

By the end of the month I was running on caffeine and that affected me emotionally and that made EVERYTHING seem about 10x bigger than it actually was. Pay a bill? Oh my goodness, talk about the end of the world. 3 loads of laundry when I was expecting 2? Laundrypocalypse and I’ll just go kill myself, thank you very much. Run out of soda? Job obviously didn’t know the meaning of REAL suffering.

Thankfully, by the halfway mark I realized what was going on with me and started to take steps to give me a buffer. I think I started too late though so I was in survival mode longer than I wanted to be. Still am in fact.

Cover Love:

This is not the cover I used for my review of the Path of Daggers, but of the 4 covers I’ve seen, I liked this the best. Gateways, Birgette, the Seanchan, this has it all.

Plans for Next Month:

Reviews. And then some more reviews. And just to break things up, another couple of reviews! Having the Gulag off my back has made me feel like a speed reader and I’m taking full advantage of that for as long as it lasts. 📚📕📖📗📘📙

Since I don’t want to overwhelm you all with my overly long and indepth book analyses, I’ll be sure to add a puff piece here and there. Don’t let it be said that The Bookstooge never pandered to the hoi poloi!

In regards to the aforementioned “suckiness”, if things do continue that way I’ll be pulling back from being online as much. Might not be commenting as much in general and might have to save the replies to comments on here to the weekends. Blogging in February felt like a battle and I don’t want that to continue. Blogging is supposed to be fun and I’m evaluating what all contributed to it not being fun this past month.

January ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 10
Pages – 2594
Words – 741K
Average Rating – 3.75

The Bad:

Wicked Bronze Ambition – 2stars that whimpered all the way to the end. Pathetic really.

The Good:

Transfer of Power – 4stars of studly responsible machoman’ness

Movie:

The Muppet Movie was laughing, grinning, dancing, singing fun! I have a feeling this Year of the Muppets is going to be good for me.

Miscellaneous Posts:

So this month I turned into one of those book reviewers that I’ve come to not particularly care for over the years. The ones that have more non-reviews than reviews on their blog and as you scroll by vapid posts of nothing, desperately looking for a review, your hope dwindles. My minimum preference has always been 50/50. That simply didn’t happen with my read of Gulag II going on. I feel shame. My family feels shame. My cow feels shame!

Ok, with that out of the way, here’s the list, sigh.

Personal:

What a month this turned out to be. From a national & political level to a personal level, I was glad to see the backside of January. Being bombarded by pure propaganda by the news outlets didn’t help, especially as I was seeing direct parallels to what I was reading in Gulag Vol II. After the second day I just turned the radio off to keep my sanity.

My laptop also just up and died part way through the month. While a smaller thing, it definitely added to the stress of “everything”. Throw in that we found out our car is going to need about $1K of work to pass inspection in a couple of months and well, it all kept adding up. It still amazes me how unsmooth life is. You’d think I’d be used to the bumpy (at best) ride by now. Speaking of rides, better start saving ’cause gas is going up to $5 a gallon way too soon.

And then of course, right at the very end of the month I went dotcom. Definitely a spur of the moment thing but I had been thinking about it for some time. The damnable NSP’s were the last straw.

Cover Love:

Ahhh, one final McKillip cover. While it’s not a Kinuko Craft cover, it definitely is aiming for that same touch. Love it!

Plans for Next Month:

My mind was all over the place this month so I kept making, and breaking, plans for February. I finally decided to stop trying to plan and just let stuff happen. So besides the usual suspects of Movie and Manga Monday, my only planned thing is a book giveaway and starting my Project X in earnest. I’ll make up the rest of February as it happens.

Gulag II slowed me down so much that if not only affected January but has pre-emptively affected February already. I’m usually about 3 weeks ahead in my reviews. Now? I’m a week and struggling. As such, prepare for another onslaught of non-review posts like in January. I’m already sharpening my sepuku knife and sword in preparation.

You Call Yourself a Book Reviewer?!? Hellen Keller was more of a book reviewer than you!” quote attributed to Sergeant Bookstooge during Book War III.

ps,
is this format of Monthly Roundups getting stale for you? I realized I’ve been doing this since my Booklikes days, so we’re talking over 5 years now. Just wondering if I need to change things up any.

December ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 15

Pages – 4380

Words – 1473.5K

Average Rating – 3.77

The Bad:

Light – 2.5 Stars

Darkwalker on Moonshae – 1star DNF

The Good:

A Tale of Two Cities – 5 stars for the penultimate book in my Dicken’s journey

Message for the Dead – 4.5 stars for the Star Wars that should have been

Movie:

The Muppets Christmas Carol was great! I am really glad I ended up buying it.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

Work for me and Mrs B went as well as could be expected. I’m really ready for her to stop working the night shift though. Thankfully, that’ll happen next week. I can handle one more week. My work show NO inclination to slow down even though we now have a foot of snow on the ground. It’s going to be a slog of a winter, sigh.

The words absolutely spewed out of my fingers this month as I had a post almost every day. I keep saying I don’t know how I’ll keep up that kind of output and then I keep on keeping up. It definitely helped my stats for the month! I plan on talking about the blog stats a bit more in my Year in Review post tomorrow, but this December is the Best Month I’ve ever had here at WordPress. I guess I have you all to thank for that 😉

Just want to put in a plug for AAA if you’re in the United States. Had to have the subaru towed once and then I locked my keys in it and they had to come unlock it. Between those 2 things, my annual membership was more than paid for. Totally worth it if you regularly buy used cars like we do.

Cover Love:

Blood Relation by Dan Willis. If my chin looked like that, I’d be breaking concrete blocks with it just because I could. I do see a lack of suspenders though. Vests might look good, but when they cover up your awesome suspenders, well, your priorities are obviously all wrong.

Plans for Next Month:

I think I need to get through the Year in Review before I even think of plans for January. ♪Tomorrow is ♪only a sleep away♪

November ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 16

Pages – 5964

Words – 2117.5K (2.1million)

Average Rating – 3.37

The Bad:

Rosemary & Rue – 1Star

Blackwing – 1Star

The Good:

The Private Life of Elder Things – 4Stars

King John – 4Stars

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

This month was all over the place. Blogwise, stats were fantastic. This was the best month I’ve ever had in terms of views, likes, comments, etc.

Of course, WordPress ruins it by forcing me to double dip in terms of liking people’s comments. Then today I just started having issues with controlling my spam comments. I had one phrase that would throw any comment straight into the trash. Well, WP deleted that and now whenever I try to add it back, my settings won’t save. I’ve cleared my cache and tried Chrome, Edge AND firefox. Since I’m still banned on the forums, I can’t ask for help. I swear, I’m this close to calling it quits, good numbers or not!

Then you had the real life side of things. From bad work weeks to all the political crap flooding everything to escalation of the covid scare, it felt like this month was all about “killing, stealing and destroying”. That was overwhelming.

Cover Love:

I have to admit, when I saw the cover for the Copper Assassin, I was sure that was going to be the Cover Love choice of the month. And I was NOT wrong! Yum, yum, yum!

Plans for Next Month:

Having skipped the movie review for this month, I want to make sure to get one in for December. I’m about 99% sure it will be The Muppets Christmas Carol. That seems about the level of “Movieocracy” that I can take right now.

Other than that, it should be business as usual. I suspect a lot of my time in December will be spent planning and writing up stuff for the Year in Review post and seeing what I want to do for 2021.

October ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 3662

Words – 1125K

Average Rating – 3.75

The Bad:

Cold Fire – 1 Star

The Master and Margarita – 1.5 stars

The Good:

Dombey and Son – 5 Stars

Yotsuba Vol’s 1 & 2 – 5 stars

Movie:

Howl’s Moving Castle was a good movie without any scariness to bother me. I don’t care if it’s Halloween this month, no scariness for me!

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

This was a pretty good month overall. Reading wise, another out of the ballpark average! Unbelievable!!! Helps that Yotsuba is just about guaranteed to be 5 stars each read. Plus I had several other 5 star reads. The end of year has been pretty generous to me with all the 5stars I’ve been reading recently. Thankfully, the lower rated books have pretty much slid off my back like water and it’s not bothered me one bit. Used to be, a 1 star book would get me into the doldrums or downright depressed. With these, eh, whatever. I rather like that to be honest.

Of course, that week in the middle of the month with sickness, car problems and everything sucked the joy out of the month but both Mrs B and me are at the stage of life where we just put our heads down and keep on trucking, knowing things will get better. Or we’ll die, which is the best case scenario we could ask for!

The best performing post this month was the “When Do You Stop Following” post. That got a LOT of comments and warmed the cockles of my heart. The one I had the most fun writing was “Psychic Grandma & the T200”. I just let all the silly loose and it felt like the old days of blogging, back in my 20’s. You know, when I had a full head of hair, boundless energy and dreams of becoming the Emperor of Mars? Of course you don’t know that, none you read my blogs back then. And you can’t now either, because I’ve deleted them over the years, hahahahaa! I wouldn’t be the Mysterious Doctor Lord Bookstooge now would I?

Plans for Next Month:

Besides the usual #6degrees and movie, I’m hoping to do another crossover post with Masters of Ironing, to truly promote the art of Ironing. A true Master of Ironing doesn’t need an iron OR even know how to iron. Remember, There Is No Iron, Neo.

Also going to try to do some Currently Reading & Quote posts to talk about the books I’m reading in a non-review way. Sometimes it’s fun to just talk about a book WHILE you’re reading it.

Oh, I will probably start thinking about End of Year stuff. That stuff always takes me forever to get together and the sooner I start, the less I’ll have to deal with as New Years approaches.

Other than that, I’ll try to keep things unstructured so if I feel like writing something out of the blue, I can. Us creative types needs our space. So BACK OFF buster, and let me be creative! Or I’ll cry, I swear, I will. I’m warning you right now….

September ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 17

Pages – 5087

Words – 1708K

Average Rating – 3.82!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Bad:

Awakenings – 1 Star DNF

Breakout – 2.5 Stars of Utter Mediocrity

The Good:

Howl’s Moving Castle – 5 Stars of Awesomesauce

Little Dorrit – 5 Stars of Dickens’ Awesomesauce

Movie:

Voices of a Distant Star was a great anime, for a teenager and angsty 20something. Not for me anymore :-/

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

Wow! What a great month of reading! I had FIVE 5star reads and FIVE 4star reads. I think this is my highest average monthly rating, ever? I would kill for more months of reading like this.

It was also a high point for all my blog stats. Best views ever since I started in ’13. I guess posting every day pays dividends.

Of course, the stress of using the new editor while blogger was also introducing a new editor got to me and just created some constant, low level stress for the whole month. Playing around with various photo storage/hosting options didn’t help either. I did decide to go back to using wordpress to host my pix until I get close to that 3bg limit. I have options with Dropbox, so I feel ok.

Also had stress due to seeing a couple of people leave either wordpress or blogger due to editor issues. Throw in some sleep and caffeine issues and spam comments and low level stress was the name of the game for the whole month. It really began to affect me mid-month and honestly, I’m not convinced I’m out of the bushes yet. And that infernal Akismet telling me my comments going into the spam folder is my fault, not theirs, didn’t help my blood pressure any either. Thankfully, it was resolved, but still, stress.

So, hobby stress. It’s a thing, as odd as it sounds. Other than that though, the month was good.

Plans for Next Month:

Manga Monday’s are coming back, so be warned. I’m also warning myself, as the numbers show.

Going to do my usual Movie and a #6degree post, which leaves me with 2 Sundays open. At the moment, I have no idea what I’ll fill them with.

I won’t be reading as much so I don’t think I’ll be posting as much. This month was just chockful and I can’t keep that kind of posting pace up. Of course, I’ve said that in years/months past and then wrote so much that I was appalled at myself. So while plans are nice, they’re more like “guidelines” 😉

Going to do my best to kick the stress to the curb though and not let it affect me in October. New month, new Bookstooge, new Ideas and whole new levels of silliness. I’ve already had 2 ideas while typing this post up. That’s usually a bad sign 😀

August ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 16

Pages – 3968

Words – 895.5K

Average Rating – 3.0 Stars

The Bad:

The Big O Manga: The Whole Series

The Good:

The Fires of Heaven – 5 Stars

The Screwtape Letters – 4.5 stars

Movie:

Spriggan was a more successful foray into my anime collection. Next month will either be Place Promised in Our Early Days or Voices of a Distant Star. More anime, but of such a different tone from Spriggan that you might as well call John Wick the same as Casablanca because they’re both “movies”.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Didn’t write nearly as much as I thought I would.

Personal:

While the title of my Vacation post might have led some to believe that there would be other King & Queen posts to follow, I was just too lazy. The vacation went as perfectly as I could have asked for. I didn’t blog or work on my blog or do anything, as much as I thought I would. I spent a lot of time simply sitting and doing nothing, barely thinking. I didn’t even realize I needed that until I found myself at my sister’s pool one day looking at the sky for about an hour without having thought a thing. Of course, I had to get back to reality once we got home, but that is the darkside of Vacations that we all know about but don’t discuss. Both of us survived the weather just fine, so a possible move in the future isn’t out of the question any more. Pretty much spent the rest of the month wishing we were back on vacation. Sad but true.

Took a short break from interacting online near the end of the month. Sensory overload was just too much. Thankfully, pizza and books helped me cope and Mrs B and I had some more good “connection” times. During that week I did a lot of work on the blog and got a lot of old reviews posted.

Plans for Next Month:

Tomorrow I plan to blog about how this month of using the block editor went. #Blockeditorsucks ! (hint, it isn’t good)

Read BETTER books! I can’t believe my average for this month was a paltry 3 stars. The blame is squarely all on Big O but that DNF for The Well at World’s End didn’t help either, sigh.

I feel kind of overdosed on manga, as Big O was just such a disappointment. As such, I’m going to start the Yotsuba&! series. I’m going to take a break from manga in September though and start it back up in October.

I’m going to try to bulk up my numbers in terms of books read, so be prepared for a few extra book reviews and a few less non-review posts. End of the year is fast approaching.

See you tomorrow.