Bookstooge Reviews 2020

THE STATS:

Annual WordPress Blog Stats

Posts – 290 (↑65)
Words Written – 197K (↑72K)
Views – 25K (↑7K)
Visitors – 10K (↑3K)
Followers – 378 (↑100+)

Book Stats

Books read – 156 (↑21)
Pages read – 56,855 (↑11K)
Words read – 16,950K (almost 17million words!)
Average Rating – 3.53 (↑0.25)

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

General Bookish Thoughts in General:

My book’ish numbers were up from last year across the board. My manga numbers are about the same so it means the books ARE actually up. This is confirmed by the Page Count being up as well. While 0.25 might not seem a lot, it is a significant boost in the Ratings. Overall, I’m happy with how my reading for 2020 went.

I stopped pruning my followers part way through the year and that is the real reason for the bump in followers. I wrote a lot more too and more posts tend to translate into more of everything else. Including the damnable Spanish Spam Bots! Thankfully, that particular issue has been dealt with, even while not being solved.

Right now, I am happy with all of my numbers. If I can stay here and not get any bigger, that would be good. I like this level of activity and it is quite reasonable to handle as a hobby. Any bigger and things would start getting stressful for me. I also know myself and if I were to get any bigger I’d start really obsessing about “stats” and all the other stuff that is beyond my control as a blogger. I don’t need or want that. I’m an airplane and I’m at cruising altitude! Slip those sunshades on, turn on the autopilot, sit back and enjoy the ride.

What a year it’s been here at WordPress.com. Can I just take a minute as we all swear, profusely and at length, about the Block Editor?
* clenches fists and swears for 5 minutes *

Ok. Now that that is out of the way, I can talk calmly and rationally about the huge gigantic fuster cluck that the Block Editor was and continues to be. While I am now inured to it and have my routine down (so it doesn’t take me forever to do something like it used to), I have seen bloggers leave because of it. When bloggers leave, you know something isn’t right. WordPress has definitely taken a direction into the “pay for websites” side of things instead of using casual bloggers to increase their reach. The block editor still doesn’t work right all the time, has less capability than the previous editor (where’s my scheduling calendar you flaming jackasses!?!?) and simply isn’t meant for writing. Which makes using it a continually frustrating experience as things seem to break on a weekly basis for no apparent reason. If I hadn’t already sunk in so much time with my Under Construction Project here at WP, I’d have left too. At this point though, I’ve invested enough sweat equity that I don’t see myself leaving WP for anything less than leaving blogging in general.

On the positive side of things. This year has been the best I’ve had at WP since I started full time in December of ’16. My numbers started growing in March and slowly but steadily grew all year. I’m sure Covid19 played a big part, but even with my rather outspoken Christian views on several controversial social issues, the views haven’t gone down. While I wish I could take credit, I didn’t really do anything different, that I’m aware of, than I have in previous years. I’ve just been me. That means the blame is squarely on you. It’s all your fault I had a great year and I hold YOU directly responsible.

Keeping track of my Word Count has been beneficial in that it’s another metric to measure my monthly stats. This is the first Year in Review where I include that data so I don’t have anything to compare it too, yet.

Of course, the Churn has continued to happen. People stop blogging (and not just because of the hated block editor) and I’m continually on the lookout for new people to follow. I change, other bloggers change. It is not a static environment and I think this year I’ve finally come to an acceptance of that. I will enjoy your company for as long as you choose to hang around but I refuse to be anxious in anticipation of you leaving.

Another year on blogger. They changed their editor at the exact same time that WordPress did, so what should have been an easy transition turned into a bloody nightmare because of all the stress caused by WordPress. I’ve got it all settled now and simply put my reviews there. No social posts, no fun post, nothing but the reviews. I consider blogger my blogging backup. I learned, from a young age, not to put all my money in one bank and, when I got older, not to put all my data only on one site. Blogger is my cash hidden under the mattress.

LibraryThing. What to say? They ALSO changed their site near the end of the year. Thankfully, since I’m not invested very heavily, the changes didn’t really affect me beyond some cosmetic look&feel type things. I am still a member of the Green Dragon, but to keep within the guidelines of not discussing Religion or Politics, I simply put links to WordPress in my thread. Not ideal and I’m wondering if it will last through ’21 or not. I only interact with a literal handful of people and after sounding them out, most of them get my WP posts emailed to them anyway. Librarything is a fourth line of backup defense.

Every time that I try to interact in a bigger group, it just falls flat on its face and I get pissed off to no end. Telling people that what they said was idiotically stupid and dumb and just plain wrong doesn’t go over very well I have found. Weird, huh?

I tried Devilreads again to see if the pretty pictures and stats you can get at the end of the year were worth the hassle of using yet another book site, and one that I hate at that. Verdict? Totally not worth it. Will not be trying this experiment in 2021. So long devilreads, don’t let the pitchfork spit you where the Good Lord split you. If it weren’t for the fact that I know so many people who happily use devilreads, I’d gladly wish a hacker death to the site.

Bookhype was just a disappointment. I tried it because a former wordpress blogger (who the bleeding block editor drove away by the way) was trying it out and I wanted to keep in touch. That did not happen. Because bookhype isn’t about the social side of things at all. So I’m abandoning that too.

I have talked about Calibre Here. As I continue work on the blog I tweak the reviews in Calibre so everything matches up. But basically, my Calibre database is up to snuff and it’s more about the day to day reviews now. There have been several major upgrades to Calibre this year (a pretty big jump from 3.X to 4 and then a massive upgrade to 5.X) but I’m holding steady at 4.23 until the de-drm plugin is updated. If none of that made any sense, don’t worry, it only should if you’re vested in using Calibre already.

THE BOOKS:

Best Book of the Year:

Great Expectations
This was the Year of Dickens and it was a wicked close thing between this and Little Dorrit. Great Expectations won by a whisker though.

Worst Book of the Year:

Kingdom Come
I didn’t have a single book this year that I could turn to and easily say “This was the worst book of the year.” I had no half star books and even the 1stars tended to be more “DNF on Principle” than because I hated them. I chose Kingdom Come because it was the one book (besides Rosemary and Rue) that got a real rise out of me.

PLANS FOR 2021:

I actually don’t have any. Survival Saturday didn’t last very long into ’20 and it wouldn’t surprise me if the #6Degrees series follows that trajectory. I seem to have this built-in limiter for how long a specific blog series can run before I just stop it. That does mean that I need to start thinking of something to fill up a Sunday slot or two each month. Any ideas?

Of course, once having written that I don’t have any ideas, they immediately started creeping in. Doesn’t that just figure. 🤷‍♂️ (And you all can thank SDMcKinley for any and all use of emoji’s I use from now on. He has unleashed the Beast)

My Beloved Dickens reading journey is coming to an end. As I’d like to keep the classics rolling, I’ll be adding a Complete Works of G.K Chesterton and the Complete Works of the Bronte Sisters. They’re no Dickens but they’re better than Susanna Clarke! (boo, hiss)

I am going to “try”, really hard, to do less re-reading this year. I re-read 45 books last year. That is almost 30% of my total reading. I’m not looking to make a huge change, but if I can swing that number to below 25% and closer to 20%, I’ll be happy. There are SO MANY new books and some have been sitting on my tbr for over 2 years now. So I’m going to make concerted effort to only add re-reads that are essential.

For movies, I am thinking of taking the advice of someone from Librarything and making this a Muppet Movie themed year. Whether actual movies or the 1970’s variety show, it just sounds appealing to me. To bootstrap myself, I’ve bought 3 of the movies (the original Muppets, The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island) and the first season of the tv show from the 70’s. Singing, dancing, disco-balls, 2021 is the Year that Bookstoogevolta (me, anti-carnating as John Travolta) brings back Disco!

I have added a Statcounter to my page so I’m hoping to get even more Numb3rs for next year’s Year in Review. It’s free so it only holds so much data but I figure if I add a section to my Monthly Roundup’s I can get a good cross section for the year. I used it in December and it is quite different from the WP stats, so I’m not sure it will be truly helpful until I have several years of data to compare against but considering how I like that kind of thing, I can wait until I have it 😀

PERSONAL:

This year. What can I say? It was obviously dominated by Covid19 and yet for Mrs B and I, outside of a few church related activities, it didn’t change OUR routine. It changed everyone around us and thus change was forced on us that way. The stress of it all definitely got to us though. Between people turning into Mask Nazi’s and the inability to interact normally, even I was finding myself snappish by years end.

Work slowed down right at the beginning of covid, but after that, we were gangbusters all year long. I learned that I don’t want anything to do with the office or being inside and I am sure my time is limited before I leave because of general conditions even out in the field. Not worrying about that yet though. I have to survive yet another New England winter and that is about all I’m going to mentally deal with at the moment. Mrs B started working nights around Halloween and next week should be the end of that. I’m probably looking forward to it ending more than she is.

I survived the heat of Georgia for 10 days on Our Vacation. It was sorely needed but a mere month after returning it was like it had never happened. I think we could use a year long vacation!

Our church is still open, our cars are still working, our bills are being paid off and we’re getting fat because we have so much food. And we have more books and movies than we have time to consume. I think that qualifies as a good thing.

TOP 5:

Here are the top 5 viewed posts in each of the various categories. It isn’t quite equal, as posts from November and December just don’t have the time to accumulate the views.

Book Review Posts:

What an eclectic mix. On a “just because” note, I started writing this post at the beginning of December and included the top 5 from then. In the four weeks since, this list has changed twice. The Great Divorce and The Most Dangerous Game were narrowly bumped off, which is why I’m giving them an honorary mention here.

Non-Review Posts:

Anytime I wrote about the block editor I got a flood of views, so I chose the top one to allow some of the other posts to shine. Obviously though, the wordpress community did not, and does not, like the block editor. Personally, I hope wordpress chokes to death on it. Outside of the Vacation post, most were of the more introspective and navel gazing variety of post. I’m perfectly fine with that, as long as you’re gazing at your own navel and not trying to peek at mine.

Honorary mentions go to A History of ….. Magic the Gathering and Need More Space? History was bittersweet for me while Space gave me options for the future if I ever run into storage limits here at WP.

Commentors + Runner Up:

I think this section is pretty self-explanatory. I am wondering if WP is somehow messing with me in what I think are my top commentors. Without digging around though, with very blunt and almost useless tools provided to this lowly peon by my Lizard Overlords at WP, I am going to have to go with what they supply me.

Movies:

Movies weren’t high on my list this year and I ended up watching more seasons of anime than anything. I did want to include the recent Muppets Christmas Carol, but with only a week under its belt, it just doesn’t have the numbers to go against the Big Boys that have been around all year. Better luck next year, Michael Caine!

Turns out the Muppets struck a viewing chord. It rocketed past such “gems” as Karas: The Prophecy, the Revelation. You go Michael Caine! You da man…

Happy New Years!

Bookstooge Reviews 2019

2019Review

 

THE STATS

 

Annual Blog Stats:

Total Posts: 225

Total Words Written: 125.2K

Total Views: 17.9K

Total Visitors: 7.2K

Followers: 275’ish

 

Book Stats:

Books Read:  135

Pages Read: 45,814

Average Rating:  3.28

 

 

General Thoughts:

 

wp_logo

I’ve changed my presence here on WP due to the new job change back in October.  Not following nearly so many people and not reading or reviewing as much.  Considering that some of the main people I used to follow have also dropped off the radar or severely curtailed their own online presence, it seems that I am caught up in one of the waves. It has also made me really appreciate those bloggers who have kept on blogging on a regular schedule. While I am affected by those coming and going, I don’t want to take for granted those who just keep on going. More power to you!

 

 

blogger

Blogger is simply a backup in case of some catastrophic event. I don’t really even take it into account any more.

 

 

logo4_medium

Librarything just rattled along this year. I interact with 2-3 people on a regular basis there and that is about it. LT has been touting some changes coming in 2020 but I don’t use the site enough for it to matter to me.

 

THE BOOKS

 

Best Book(s) of the Year:

There was some severely stiff competition for this title this year, so I gave up and I’ll list the top 3.

  1. The Black Pearl by Scott O’Dell
  2. Death Wish by Brian Garfield
  3. The Burning White by Brent Weeks

 

Worst Book(s) of the Year:

Once again, I read some stinkers, so I’ll post the top 3.

  1. Torchship Captain by Karl Gallagher
  2. Valor by John Gwynne
  3. The Crippled God by Steven Erikson

 

 

Plans for 2020:

The only “change” is that I am going to start including a word count for the books I read. I’ve been using Page Numbers as an additional metric besides just straight up number of books, but I am finding huge variations even with using the same format (ebook to ebook for example) depending on WHO I get my info from.  I am going to start using Kobo.com (a book seller) which has both page and word count for books. Accurate data just makes my metrics that much more relevant the longer I read.

I do plan on keep doing the Give-Aways, #6 Degree series and Survival Saturday’s when I can and a movie a month. Beyond doing a re-read of the Wheel of Time, I have almost no plans for 2020. I’ll be satisfied if I can do a post every other day on a consistent basis.

 

Personal:

The job change has really buggered my non-work life up. My reading has dropped over 50% and my overall life satisfaction is much lower. This is not what I was expecting. The problem is if I had stayed where I was, I might be happier but I’d be so much poorer that it would bring about its own set of worries and stress. So since I have to stress, I’ll take this.  But I don’t have to like it! And in all fairness, I am getting exactly what I asked for (office experience and full time help in the field). I also talked to a relative who works in HR for another company and she said that 6 months is how long it takes to fully integrate into a new job. So while it annoys me that I’ve still got 3 months to go, it also encourages me that maybe I don’t hate the new job so much as I think, I just hate the change 😀

Thankfully, almost every other part of life IS going well.  I am thankful for that.

 

top5

Here are the top 5 viewed posts in each of the various categories. It isn’t quite equal, as posts from November and December just don’t have the time to accumulate the views.

 

Book Review Posts

The Hobbit

The Scarlet Letter

The Hatching

Fellowship of the Ring

The Silmarillion

 

 

Non-Review Posts

Book Blogger Insider Tag

PSA: The Etiquette of Commenting on Comments

Ratings as Sandwiches

Rage Against the Whiny Pants Momma’s Babies!

Seven Deadly Sins Tag

 

Commentors + Runner Up

Nicole Bookwyrm

Lashaan

Ola G

Savage Dave

Orangutan Librarian

+Maddalena

 

Movies

Despicable Me

Elektra

John Hobo

RED

Penelope

 

happy-new-year-2020-background_29865-882

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Bookstooge Reviews 2018

2018Review
Collage created at Ipiccy.com.  I used the Gunmetal Font and the text color hex code is E4B678. 

2018 was a very different year from 2017. Here’s my 2017 in Review post.

 

THE STATS

 

Annual Blog Stats:

Total Posts – 248’ish

Total Views –  20K

Followers – 360+/- [fluctuation due to spam accounts getting deleted by WP]

 

Book Stats:

Books Read – 172

Pages Read – 59,371

Average Rating – 3.31

 

Graph Stats:

graph
Graph created at: https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/ 

As you can see, the majority of what I read is in the 3-4 star rating range. I explain my rating system Here.

 

graph (1)

Almost 27% of my books were re-reads and STILL my average is under 3.5. To put things in perspective though, anything over 3.1 is a good year for me. I just feel like grumping about something!

 

General Thoughts

2018 was a year of digging into blogging at wordpress and realizing that the ebb and flow of people I follow and the people who follow me, is normal. I’ve fully instituted my “I don’t follow someone who doesn’t post at least once a month” rule for new potentials and unless someone I follow lets their followers know they’re going to be gone, the same applies to people I already follow. I’ve probably stopped following quite a few sporadic bloggers this year, which has made my feed and interactions with others a bit more stable. It is also nice when people I do follow DO let their followers know that Life is getting in the way and they won’t be around for a bit. What has saddened me though is watching people disappear. While it is completely understandable, it has been a bit tough to see Life, Health or Interest make people just go “poof”. But I’m realizing this is normal and I’m hoping that in 2019 I’ll be a little more inured to such things. I hope so anyway because it is a really sucky feeling to see someone “take a health break” and then never come back.

Ok, enough of THAT!

 

wp_logo

WordPress is now completely my blogging home. Anything I feel like writing, it roosts here. From the good to the bad, from the happy to the sorrowful, it gets written and posted here.

My post count was almost 100 posts lower than in ’17 but since I wrote a post almost every day that year, I’m not surprised. I can’t keep that level of creativity going. It also came down to me starting to schedule my reviews 2-3 weeks in advance. It has made my review writing much more disciplined but that very same discipline has impacted my writing on the spur of the moment, which is when a lot of non-review posts get written.

On a daily basis that lack of creativity did affect my numbers (ie, views, visits, likes, comments) but on the annual side of things, my numbers are stronger than in ’17. So with less posts I’ve gotten more. I think part of it is that not writing everyday gives people a chance to actually read what I post. If you’re only a weekly blogger and then visit me, 4 posts is a lot more handle-able (my goodness, that’s not even a real word!) than 7 or 8. Whatever the reason, 2018 was a good year for all my numbers and I’m very satisfied with them.

Speaking of satisfaction… (Sing it!)

I feel like I have settled into a good routine. I’m following people who are constant posters. My reading and reviewing schedule has fallen right into line with my whole reading rotation. My followers go up and down, but that is an aspect of what I alluded to in the opening paragraph. It does mean that I am always on the lookout for a new blogger to follow every 4-5 months, which is good for me so I don’t completely get set in my ways.

Overall, 2018 was everything I wanted from a free book blog. I reviewed, I ranted, I had fun. I also updated my little avatar,

From This:

bookstooge

 

To This:

bookstooge (Custom)

 

I’m obviously moving up in the world!

 

 

blogger

Blogger is now my backup blog for just my reviews. I started out ’18 trying to mirror some non-review posts but gave it up pretty quickly. It’s a good blog if you like my reviews but don’t like anything else I write. It’s just as disorganized as my wordpress blog but I’m not trying to retro-actively clean it up. I also don’t like how the comment notification works so I’m not really incentivized to make it work.

 

 

logo4_medium

Had a bit of a dustup in a group because I talked about killing communists & hippies in one of my reviews, so Librarything has pretty much reverted to being the place where I keep track of what I’m currently reading and where I get info and cover data from. I put my reviews there as well, but since there isn’t much of a social thing outside of groups, I’m not very active there. Me and groups, we just don’t get along, sigh.

 

 

THE BOOKS

 

Best Book of the Year:

Ok, I have to admit, I am beyond stingy when it comes to this particular tag. I am also super miserly with 5star ratings. I only had two instances of this tag and only 9 5star reads. Only 3 of ANY of those was a new to me book. Books these days, they’re just not what they used to be…*sigh*

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1, takes this category.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a strong runner up.

 

Worst Book of the Year:

This category is a little easier for me to write about, as I did read some atrocious books this year. The book that takes this category however, gets this “honor” because while it probably wasn’t actually the most un-enjoyable book I read, the interactions with its author went downhill very quickly; let me tell you, some severe comment deletion went on. That reaffirmed my faith in not thinking of Writers as People. Most people are jackasses. Most writers, surprisingly, are people. Which means that most writers are jackasses. Goodness, don’t you just love Logic?

Ok, now that I’m done being all clever, here’s the loser.

Gods of the Mountain

Sandworms of Dune almost beat it, but at least the authors didn’t whine at me and expect me to be their personal editor.

 

 

Plans for 2019

Not much. Last year, I was brimming with ideas. Then Life happened and stuff. This year, all I really want is to get my blog fully organized. I’m closing in on getting all my recent reviews fully tagged and categorized (recent being 2013 to Present). Once that gets done, then the BIG job of going backwards in time can begin. 2012 back to 2000. But I’m being super casual and laid back about it, so it’ll happen when it happens.

I did have a goal of breaking the 100 view mark for a post for 2018 and not only did that happen, it happened 10 times. Now, quite a few more posts have also passed the 100 view mark, but they are older posts that either I reference or get picked up in a google search. I’d be happy with the same results for 2019.

Actually, I JUST thought of a goal while writing this post. I’ve mentioned before that I think that the world NEEDS a World Book Czar and that I think I’m pretty qualified. So 2019 is the year I get serious about running for office. And by running for office I mean getting rid of all of the competition so you all have a choice of One. Me. I look forward to discussing the issues with my fellow candidates!

czarmeeting
“Discussions”, yes….

 

 

Personal

Where to even start? I guess church stuff. January and February were pretty bad and led to us leaving the church that we’d been attending for a decade and begin looking for another. While we have found another, you don’t make changes like that without upheaval and inner consequences. We’ll see how we do in ’19.

Health has been all over the place for both of us. Between a hospital stay for Mrs B and several crohn’s related incidents and my diabetes and then gastroenteritis and flu at the end of the year, we became pretty well acquainted with our hospital bills.

I’ve been working by myself at work since July and it is wearing me out. Things need to change by Spring or I’ll have to make some changes myself. I’m just not thinking about that to be honest.

I did finish up my Bookstooge in 100 Books and pinned it to the side of my blog. That was a lot of fun to write and think about. I should probably also go over my About page and see if anything needs updating. Thankfully, both of those posts tend to be rather static and a once a year check is good enough.

This year I did get into Magic the Gathering a bit more. Probably played a little less, but have started on constructing my own Commander decks, which takes a lot of time, thought, creativity and if one is so inclined, money. I am also dabbling with the idea of getting into the digital version of MTG, called Arena. We’ll see, as me and computer games just don’t really click that well.

I would categorize 2018 as a tough year but Mrs B and me are still doing ok, praise God.

 

 

top5

Here are the top 5 viewed posts in each of the various categories.

 

Book Review Posts

Algorithm of Power (negative review with a good writer interaction)

Gods of the Mountain (negative review with a negative writer interaction)

Lord of Light

Toll the Hounds

We are Legion(We are Bob)

 

Hmmmm, I’m sensing a trend with the ratings and viewership there….

 

Non-review Posts

Honesty and Book Reviewing

DNF – The Divisive Issue of Our Day

Why I Re-Read

Too Big to Comment

Saint Bookstooge Gives Answer

 

Ranting does seem to get some good views!

 

Commentors + Runner Up

Lashaan

Orangutan Librarian

SavageDDT (Dave)

Ola G (NOT Olag, like I originally thought)

Nicole

+ Maddalena

I live for comments, so I am glad that WordPress gives me this kind of info. I’d also like to thank everyone (well, except for that writer who got butt hurt that I did exactly what he asked me to, ie, write an honest review of his book) who commented this year. Written interactions on my blog make it so much more fun.

I’ve had more visitors and more comments than last year, so I’m hoping to keep that trend going. I’ve had some wonderful new followers this year who seem to like commenting as much as I do and I’m thankful for that. With almost 5,800 comments this year (to be honest half of them are me), that feeds my soul like you wouldn’t believe.

Who knows, maybe next’s years list of commentors will be completely different people. Come on, you know you want to edge Lashaan out of the top spot!

 

Movies

Once again, my movie list is less than 10, so a top 5 would pretty much include them all. Here’s the Top 2, just like last year.

Thor: Ragnarok (man, what a FUN movie)

Boondock Saints vs John Wick (a comparison post)

It’s not so much that I don’t watch ANY movies, but I just don’t review them. It doesn’t come nearly as easy as the book reviews. As much as I’d like to say there will be more movie reviews in 2019, we all know I’d be lying. So folks, there will be MORE movie reviews in 2019 😀

 

 

happy2bnew2byear2bmeme2b20192b252812529

 

Ok, while this post is shorter than last years Review, it’s still monstrously long by my standards (anything over 1K is monstrous in my opinion). I look forward to reading all of your various yearly posts, if you’re so inclined that way, and I hope to see you around in 2019. Unless you’re a communist, because then I will shoot you.

50730-default-l
My Personal ACD (anti-communist device)

 

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Bookstooge Reviews 2017

 

2017Review
b78d7c Color hex code and Gunmetal Font. Next time I'll try #e4b678 Color hex code.

 

 

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.

 

Blog  Stats:

Total Posts: 321

Total Views: 15.8K  +/-

Followers: 166 (subject to culling)

 

Book Stats:

Books Read:  194

Pages Read: 67,400 +/-

 

Star Stats: 

 

starchart
Clickable to see the Details

 

Average Rating –  3.47

 

 

 

General Thoughts’ish:

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.

 

booklikeslogo

Stopped being active on Booklikes in April. Wrote my Final Booklikes Post then and haven’t looked back since.

 

wp_logo

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 😉

 

logo4_medium

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.

 

calibre

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 Things came 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!

 

THE BOOKS

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.

Deadhouse Landing Dancer’s Lament tied for Best New Book. Nothing deep, nothing of real substance but so much fun and worth buying in hardcover.

Gardens of the Moon definitely 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 Midden gets 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 Parade is 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 😀

 

readinglist

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

Sacketts

High Priority (currently 5 books in this collection)

Books by Charles Dickens

Warhammer: Thanquol & Boneripper

Polity

Omega Force

Wayward Pines

Brother Cadfael

Dread Empire

Dread Empire’s Fall (not related to the above series AT ALL)

The Complete Shakespeare

Malaz Empire

Monstrumologist

Bookburners

Misc (currently 6 books in this collection)

Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein

Thraxas

Maradaine

Malazan Book of the Fallen

Forgotten Realms: Year of Rogue Dragons

Dune Chronicles

Culture Novels

As I finish one series, I’ll roll another one in from my Calibre Library.

 

Personal: 

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.

 

 

top5

TOP 5’s:

 

– Book Review Posts –

Night of Knives

Moon Over Soho

Way of Shadows

Dune

The Kantovan Vault

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…

 

– Non-Review Posts – 

Mr Mercedes – I’ve Read 3%

A Milestone

Survival Saturday – The Intro Post

I Will Make Them Cry

Bookstooge & the Invisible Reader

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.

 

– Commentors – + Bonus Commentors

OrangutanLibrarian

Lashaan

Manuel

Space and Sorcery

Mogsy @ The Bibliosanctum

Mr and Mrs NW

DragonsandZombies

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?

Doctor Strange

John Wick 2

 

 

I think that wraps up the year. Whether it actually does or not, I’m plumb out of words, so there’s the end.

Hope you all as good a 2017 as I’ve had and I hope that 2018 will be even better!

 

bookstooge

Bookstooge Reviews 2016

2016 was on the whole a very good year for me. There will be lots of pictures and links in this post and the wordcount is the highest so far this year, so lets get cracking!

The Year in Visual Review. I continue to use Ipiccy.com for my collages, as their 25picture box works very well with the number of books I read each month and their iphone4 setting keeps all the squares pretty close to the cover sizes so the covers don’t get chopped off. I am sure there is a lot more I could be doing, but a monthly roundup is about the limit of my artsy-fartsy’ness.

2016review

 

 

I read 228 books this year. This was up from last years 183. Much of that is due to starting up Manga Monday again.

goal

 

My pages read went up as well. From just under 63000 to just over 77000. Even though, in all fairness that includes the full number of pages for books that I DNF’d and abandoned. So take that number with a pinch or two of salt.

pagesread

 

 

Each month stayed pretty steady in terms of overall books read with only 3 months dipping below the 18book mark. Even in August when I had to take some emergency time off to go move my parents when they unexpectedly sold their house in 2 weeks instead of the 3 months everyone was planning on. Which just means that I’ve made reading my main hobby this year and put most of my time and attention into it.

graph

 

 

The Stars shall speak

13   star50-custom-custom

  star45full-custom

58  star40full-custom

53  star35full-custom

49  star30full-custom

13  star25full-custom

12  star20full-custom

1    star15full-custom

14  star10full-custom

4    star05full-custom

3    star00full-custom

That makes my average for the year right around 3.25. Considering that a 3 is a good and completely average read, 3.25 means I pulled ahead of just plain good. I am more than satisfied with that.

 

On to the Books themselves!

Venetia was probably the best 1Star of the Year. It was fun to do a buddy read outside of my genre. It did reinforce my thoughts on the Romance genre however.

Worst 1Star was a tossup between Obsidian Worlds and The Store. Both got my stomach churning with disgust and outrage.

Best Non-Fiction wasn’t that hard because it was the only real N0n-fiction I read AND it was a 5Star’r. The Many Faces of Evil. It was just what I needed this year with my friend Amy losing her preemie twins and dealing with stage 4 cancer, all at the same time.

Best 5Star was once again a tossup. This time it was between 2 Re-reads, Dune & Way-farer. If I had to pick a new book, I’d go with Heirs of Empire, as it just hit me right at the right time.

Weirdest book of the year was definitely Gregor Xane‘s TaboogasmIt just doesn’t get any weirder than that. If it does, I don’t want to know about it 😀

 

Project ReRead

This was a complete success. 11 books that I had read before being read again with the aim of comparing how my tastes had changed and how that was reflected in my enjoyment and rating of said books. I still enjoyed every single book. However, I was able to determine that this was the last time I would read some of them.

I cherry picked specific books just so I wouldn’t bog down. That did lead to me realizing that some of these books are going to be favorites of mine for quite some time.  It also lead to the realization that while I’ve matured as a reader and can articulate the why’s and wherefores better, at heart, I’m still just a big geek/nerd.

Because it was such a success, I decided to expand upon the whole idea in a big way for ’17 and quite possibly into ’18. I’ve got a whole bunch of SERIES that I’m going to be rereading. They are:

I) Malazan books of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

II) Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert

III) Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede

IV) Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

V) Patricia McKillip’s books

VI) Space trilogy by C.S. Lewis

VII) Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

VIII) The Malaz Empire novels by Iain Esslemont

IX) Swan’s War trilogy by Sean Russell

X) Polity books by Neal Asher

So be prepared for a lot of whining and angst from me as I rip into these. I did choose books that I think will stand up to my high standards, hahhaaha.

For my other plans for 2017, please feel free to read them HERE.

 

booklikeslogo

2016 is the year that Booklikes crashed. Crashed and Burned. Staff literally disappeared, the site kept breaking in new and varied ways, people left, people couldn’t join up. Some of the more patient and determined members made a supreme effort to stick around, figure out ways to work around the broken bits and keep members from totally hemorrhaging away. One staff member has returned at the end of the year but the site still crawls or doesn’t load right for long stretches at a time.

I am staying at Booklikes but it is no longer my primary social booksite. When it takes me 3 tries and 5minutes to just comment, that pretty much kills my desire to be there. You can find me there at: Bookstooge.booklikes.com

To anyone who I have followed at wordpress who also is on booklikes, just let me know which site you prefer interaction at. I unfollowed a lot of people at Booklikes who started up blogs at WP but I know not everyone will make the move to WP and I don’t want to lose interaction if I can help it 😀

 

logo4_medium

I joined Librarything with a free lifetime membership, thanks to some other Bookliker’s. I am using it as a backup catalogue site since I can’t export from Booklikes and I don’t know how long BL will last.

It is VERY different from what I am used to and you’re going to hear me complain about those differences, a lot! That doesn’t mean I will stop using it or that I hate the site. It just means that I am set in my ways and learning a new way brings out my inner cranky. You can find me there at: librarything.com/profile/BookstoogeLT

 

wp_logo

I’ve been on WP.com since ’13, but more as a backup than as anything serious. As BL kept pushing me away, I started looking around at other booksites to find an alternative. I tried a lot of places but one thing or another just made them unpalatable. So finally I started making a serious effort to find new people here on WordPress and connect with fellow Booklikers who also had backup blogs here.

I’d like to thank you all who I follow for writing such fun things and I’d like to thank all of you who have chosen to follow me. It is nice to know that I am not screaming into the void. I plan on find another handful of bloggers to follow and to refine those I already do, as I see who posts regularly and who does it sporadically.

 

 

AND I think that about wraps it up. I’m plum out of words anyway, so that forces the issue. So onward to 2017 and a lot of Good Books!

Sleep-is-good-he-said-and-books-are-better..jpg

2015 in Book Review

I read 183 books. Below is a picture encapsulating the year in little tiny pictures.

 

230a4e679836315cc3c8929f541fb63c

 

 

And then, because I like stats, a picture graph representing each month.

 

 

 

 

62672 pages read. That makes my average book 342 pages long. When I first saw that average I was kind of wondering if I had been slacking, as I knocked off some rather large books this year. Then I realized that I also read a ton of Mack Bolan: The Executioner books and those average around 150 or less, so that explained it.

The page number is suspect because of the database here at Booklikes not exactly being in top form. I was able to edit most of my books since I was a librarian for a good bit of the year and then once I wasn’t, other librarians have done an excellent job of turning about those edit requests, so I’m pretty sure of that number but wouldn’t hold it hard.

 

 

 

And now on to more Booklikes specific things, since that is where I am at these days.

Been here just over 2 years. Complaints are pretty much the same as ever [ie, the horrible way the Re-blog function works here] and the Praises are pretty much the same [no censorship!!!].

 

One thing this year has shown me is that I am not a “group” person. My interactions tend to be one on one for specific posts. I have found that I react 1 of 2 ways in a group. I either get overwhelmed and leave, or I feel like I am the only one there, hence unappreciated, and leave. So to avoid frustration, and then lashing out at some poor schlub who has no idea what is going on, I stay away from the groups. Even the ones I like, like the Classic Clubs and Follow a Bookliker one.

 

 

One bug, the Likes&Attributions bug, has not been fixed. Since I reported it twice, it has occurred in my notifications on 4 separate occasions in December alone. That led me to not put up my reviews here at Booklikes since the end of November and simply put a couple of sentences in a 100% update as a mini review. I’ve got almost 30 drafts of reviews saved. Not a big fan of that, so I need to do something else for 2016 because that is a bug that does affect me and I need to respond somehow. I will be posting those reviews today and I apologize ahead of time if they’re all timed for “now” and flood your feed.

I was talking with Musings about this because he does a partial review and then a link to his blog, because of the Reblog issue. My reviews aren’t long enough to do that [my average is under 300 words, and that includes the little GPL schpeil and info about the book] but I liked the idea. I do have a facebook group where I post my reviews and I just put up a 1 sentence teaser for my review and then the link so if someone likes my sentence or wants to see more about the book, all they have to do is click.

I think I will be doing that here at Booklikes until the aforementioned bug is gone. I just don’t know what else to do. I can’t ignore it, like I can the reblog issue, because the bug does affect me on a week to week basis.

 

 

 

Thankfully, that sentence doesn’t apply this year. I had a tremendously good year overall, even with one month being a total stinker where I hated almost everything I read [I believe it was August, btw].

 

Three books stood out this year as Potential Number One Book of 2015

 

1) His Sombre Rivals by Edward Payson Roe

 

2) The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

 

3) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

 

Honestly, looking at things, I think that His Sombre Rivals and Flowers for Algernon are tied for Number One. They both just stood out above everything else.

And that is why 2015 was an unqualified success for me. How can it not be a good year when you can’t even choose between TWO books for Best Book of the Year?

 

 

 

In the beginning of December, I wrote about Goals for 2016. Upon reflection, this year I am going to set some very easy goals for me that I’m sure I can accomplish.

 

1) Read 150 Books in 2016

 

2) Read 2 Non-fiction books.

 

3) Re-read 1 book each month that I want to.

 

1 shouldn’t be a problem unless life throws me a drastic curve, in which case reading a certain number of books will be last on my list of “Things I Care About”.

2 is because Nothing Better inspired me with her goals for non-fiction. Of course, she went off the rails and was talking crazy huge numbers, like 1 non-fiction a MONTH but since my goal for the last couple of years has been 1 a year, I figure I can double that without to much of a hassle.

3 is because I was contemplating a Re-Read Year but that just wasn’t feasible. Too many new books coming out that I want to read and the real possibility of hating a book that I used to love. I’ve got some books though that I KNOW I’ll love so I’ll just stick to them, even if it is my 4th or 5th time with them 🙂

 

 

 

 

Ha. My continuing People escapades continue just like they did in 2014 and I suspect they will be the same in 2016. So don’t take it personally if I stop following you because 3 gets you 5 that I’ll re-follow you in a couple of months.

In Ending. Read all the Books in 2016 . Even the ones I’ll trash you for for reading. Because Reading isn’t about what I think of the book you read but about what you think of the book you read.